CareerChoice:Cost & Management Accountant
A business organisation can grow well if it has a strong accounts department. Moreover, it is the accounts department which can draw up a good resource utilisation programme and cost saving mechanism so that the profit margin of the company can be increased. Cost and management accountancy in particular is one subject which deals with this problem and helps in evaluating and managing costs. It finds its origin way back in the II world war period when the need to evaluate defence cost was felt. These days, in fact, it has attained greater significance, especially in the corporate sector
Nature of Work
The role and importance of cost and management accountants has increased manifold on account of growing competition in the corporate sector. Broadly speaking, their job comprises of closely analysing costs and devising ways to reduce it as far as possibe.
Cost and management accounting helps in planning, monitoring and controlling the cost and price of a product or a service. Nowadays with multi-product ventures taking place, it has become important to know and understand the exact cost of production of products and services at different stages, to minimize the expenditure incurred on them and to ensure better utilization of money. This is where the role of cost and management accountant comes.
Cost and management accountants evaluate the operating efficiency and effectiveness of production and service management by collecting, compiling, organising, verifying, comparing and analysing information from different departments of the organisation. In large organisations, these information may be made available on computer based systems specially designed to systemize the work. The process involves critical monitoring of relevant costs and overheads like material, labour, capital costs etc., involved in making a product or providing a service. They analyse the sales trend to strike a balance between the demand and supply, to prevent over production. They also monitor the performance, to spot and report on problems and prevent them from occurring in future. This analysis helps in comparing the financial performances, making assessments and projections, providing figures for future costing and pricing policies and other managerial decisions.
As cost and management accounting deals with the cost and benefit analysis of a product or service, it demands analytical and attentive mindset with an objective outlook. Fair amount of awareness about global economic contitions is important. The CMAs often deal with making future projections and forecasts regarding the prices, costs etc. which makes it important to have good judgemental qualities. The job also involves interacting and working with a number of people and to coordinate with them requires, good communication skills and team spirit.
Cost and management accountancy can be pursued after 10+2. The course comprises of three stages:- Foundation, Intermediate and Final. These stages are further discussed seperately in the following segment.
Candidates who have passed senior secondary under 10+2 scheme in any discipline shall pass a Foundation Course Examination to become eligible as a student for Intermediate Examination. The Foundation Course has the following subjects.
- Business Fundementals and Economics
- Management and Organisation
- Basic Mathematics and Statistics
- Commercial Laws
Candidates who are 17 years of age and have completed graduation in any discipline or those who have cleared the Foundation Examination are eligible for registration for the Intermediate Examination. It is obligatory for registered students to undergo either postal or oral tuition imparted by the Institute before appearing for the Intermediate and Final Examinations. The following are the subjects in the Intermediate Examination.
- Financial Acounting
- Cost Accounting
- Corporate Laws and Secretarial Practice
- Direct Taxation
- Cost and Management Accounting
- Indirect Taxation
- Quantitative Methods
After clearing the Intermediate Examination, students are eligible to appear for the Final Examination. The subjects in the Final Examination are
- Advanced Financial Accounting
- Information Technology and Computer Applications
- Operations Management and Control
- Project Management and control
- Advanced Management Accounting - Techniques and Applications
- Advanced Financial Management
- Advanced Management Accounting - Strategic management
- Cost Audit
The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India was given statutory recognition by the central government in the year 1959. The Institute has 4 Regional Councils at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi. It has over a period of time established a chain of chapters throughout the country and abroad, in all major cities and towns to provide assistance to the students and to perform other functions.
After successfully clearing all the papers of both Intermediate and Final Examinations, students can apply for the Associateship of the Institute. Students having practical experience of 3 years in fields of financial/cost accounting and commercial aspect of an industry can apply for the Associateship.
A qualified Cost Accountant leaves for himself, plenty of career options. The recognition granted by central and state governments has added to their career prospects. The importance of the profession in economic development of the country has led to their involvement in advising the government in cost and pricing policies and also in framing of tax and fiscal policies. They are treated at par with other class - I services. In organisations like Railways, Indian Army, Nationalised Banks services of Cost Accountants are often required for costing, budgeting, auditing purposes. They can also pursue teaching in various universities as Professors, Readers, Lecturers.
Apart from the opportunities available in the government sector, Cost Accountants can also look forward to the corporate world. They can work as executers, administrators, appraisers, valuers, secretarial and tax consultants, advisors etc. With advancement in career and experience, they can even rise to top positions like Financial Auditor, Financial Advisor, Finance Director etc.
It is not a bad idea for Cost Accountants to build up their own practice. Cost Accountants can set up their own practice either individually or in partnership, after obtaining license from the Institute. The clients in a private practice may vary depending upon the size of practice. It may range from large public and private companies to small partnership and proprietory concerns.