Large companies and corporations in different countries can be extremely dissimilar in terms of preferred practices and accepted values. Nevertheless, when it comes to the key similarities between them, it needs to be said that the work of every corporate management team is aimed at leading a company to success.
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The latter, in its turn, can be measured in numerous ways because it is possible to make a conclusion concerning a company’s business performance based on its financial statements, profitability, the level of client satisfaction, asset growth rate, or customer growth.
Achieving these goals requires the concerted efforts of numerous specialists, and corporate management teams in the United States and all over the world try to establish such management systems in which information is easily distributed among employees on different levels of the organizational hierarchy. At the same time, due to a high level of responsibility, members of corporate teams should be able to retrieve any information at any level in order to take well-timed actions and improve a company’s corporate strategy. Helping their companies to retain and improve competitive advantage, management accountants remain important strategic partners in management teams of the American-based corporations.
Management Accountants: Responsibilities and Impact
Reporting and Revenue Forecasting
The position of a management accountant is focused on providing the most relevant information concerning sales, operations, costs, performance, or the feasibility of new projects to the senior management for strategic and decision-making purposes. Discussing the role of management accountants in large organizations in the United States, many researchers consider them to be the key specialists who facilitate the work of upper management, and this is why they are required to have high moral and ethical standards (Ghose 85). Creating detailed reports based on the specific needs of management teams, management accountants provide them with commercial advice that can contribute to the development of alternative strategies.
The job responsibilities of management accountants are strictly interconnected with commercial and financial decision-making, and many specialists believe that management accountants cannot be defined only as facilitators. In fact, it is believed that the importance of these specialists’ work has increased due to the trend of economic globalization.
Taking into account the changing business environment and the growing costs of mistakes, the degree of responsibility associated with the position under consideration has increased, and, to some extent, modern management accountants are regarded as individual decision-makers. The key tasks that management accountants in the United States are supposed to fulfil include updating budget assumptions, reviewing the roadblocks to financial success, developing budget recommendations for various accounting periods, and making income projections to support or improve the plans of the senior management.
Apart from working on different reports that indicate possible outcomes of current financial decisions, financial feasibility of new projects, or analyze costs associated with alternative strategies proposed by the members of management teams, management accountants are required to conduct internal audits. In order to fulfill the task under consideration, management accountants use various strategies that always include key components such as creating an audit schedule, organizing meetings, conducting fieldwork, drafting a report, putting it together, and presenting the findings.
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After the final meeting with the members of an audit committee, management accountants are to present the findings to other members of management teams who can use them to strengthen the internal control of business activities. The internal audit procedures conducted or supported by management accountants make the latter important strategic partners in corporate management teams. In fact, an internal audit involves a more in-depth analysis of business operations and the reliability of open access reports provided to prospective customers, investors, and business partners (Ramaswamy et al. 103).
More than that, such procedures can be used by management teams in order to define the degree to which specialists responsible for documentation follow internal regulations accepted in a company. To provide credible information on these aspects of organizational practice, one should have a comprehensive knowledge related to certain business areas and be aware of the internal challenges faced by a company.
The necessity to focus on potential and actual problems related to the financial performance of their companies is among the key reasons why management accountants are ranked among the most well-informed specialists in terms of trade secrets and proprietary information. The high degree of responsibility, together with numerous ways to use management accounting reports for decision-making purposes, makes specialists fulfilling the above-discussed tasks indispensable and increases the impact that their decisions and analysis have on the strategy of an entire corporation.
Collaboration and Strengthening Organizational Hierarchy
The role of management accountants as important strategic partners of executive teams in American corporations can also be proved due to their ability to control financial specialists at lower levels of organizational hierarchy and improve their work. Supervising the work of these specialists and reporting the results of the analysis to the chief financial officers of their organizations, management accountants act as coupling agents between lower and higher levels of hierarchy, therefore strengthening it.
Thus, the responsibilities of management accountants in American-based corporations are numerous, and these specialists have to demonstrate a wide range of skills to make a positive contribution to the development of their companies. Among other things, management accountants are expected to possess well-developed leadership skills as their key responsibilities include leading the teams of accountants at low-level positions (Appelbaum et al. 30).
Modern researchers suppose that the work of managerial accountants will change a lot due to the impact of Big Data (Warren et al. 397). Broadly speaking, these specialists are charged with the collection and the organization of data on purchases and sales, the current costs of business operations, etc. The responsibilities of these specialists include data collection and preparing statements and reports that are to be presented to government supervisors, revenue authorities, prospective investors, and target customers who are interested in collaboration.
As contrasted with them, management accountants fulfill their tasks based on the internal interests of their companies, and the emphasis is put on presenting financial data in perspective. With respect to specialists who use financial data to develop information products to be used outside their companies, their activity is predominantly guided by the necessity to improve companies’ social image.
Management accountants in the United States and other countries strengthen their companies’ market positions, using a wide range of tools for analysis, planning, and forecasting. Among the most popular tools there are variance analysis, balanced scorecard, and various statistical methods that facilitate forecasting and help them to provide more reliable results. In their work, management accountants are sometimes required to collaborate with specialists from different departments, and the choice of partners depends upon the area of business.
For instance, when it comes to companies whose further development requires the use of specific technology, their intensive collaboration with specialists from ITC departments may be crucial to success. In its turn, such collaboration also facilitates the work of senior management.
Management Accounting and Business Values in the United States
The development of modern management accounting practices that are used in large organizations is believed to have started during the outbreak of the First World War (Quinn and Jackson 191). When it comes to the United States, at the very beginning of the twentieth century, there were significant changes related to the approach to financial resources management and cost estimating practices.
Management accounting in the United States and practices that management accountants use on a daily basis are expected to support the key values that guide the development and growth of American corporations. Among the most important values that impact the working practices in large organizations in the United States, there are flexibility, profit, and competition. Modern management accounting practices used in the United States help the members of corporate management teams to perform their tasks in an effective manner and make evidence-based decisions concerning further corporate development and strategies to increase profits.
In other words, the work of management accountants remains an important element that increases the effectiveness of the decision-making process on the highest organizational level of a company. The value system of American business is inextricably connected with the expectations of corporate management teams. When it comes to the importance of accounting managers, it needs to be noted that their work supports the key values in American business, providing their superiors with information and recommendations that help to increase profitability.
In terms of profitability that is emphasized in the majority of American corporations, management accounting allows defining business operations that are to be improved in terms of costs and profits. Another important value, flexibility, is also supported by management accountants and their working practices. Taking into account that large businesses in the United States and other countries should have clear development strategies, it is important for upper executive management to have a choice in terms of the directions of development.
The global trends and problems in the world of business are constantly changing, and it is crucial for large business players to be flexible and plan further development based on these changes and forecasts. Unlike financial information that is collected, organized, and reported just to present the results of operations, the work with management accounting information requires specialists to have future-directed thinking (Weygandt et al. 712). Management accounting information is not presented only by facts and details. It can include recommendations for further optimization of individual activities, budgeting recommendations, and rough plans for further business development (Appelbaum et al. 30).
Due to the thorough analysis of management accounting information conducted by management accountants, large business players in the United States are able to make important strategic decisions in a more rapid manner. Therefore, they become more flexible in the changing business environment.
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In reference to another key value in the American business community that is presented by competition, it is pivotal to note that management accounting information that corporate management teams are provided with ensures companies’ competitive advantage due to its unique properties. As it has been mentioned, open access financial statements and reports are past-oriented as they provide the information on costs and revenues and compare financial results for various accounting periods (Ramaswamy et al. 103).
Such information usually aims to ensure business transparency and demonstrate the impact that a company has on society. Financial reports can be accessed by third parties, and the openness of information on operations and revenues remains one of the key factors that help them to define whether a business is promising. Therefore, financial statements are among the tools that help to attract new business partners, investors, and even clients. Unlike financial information, management accounting information should remain confidential, and proper information security measures should be implemented to protect it.
Management accounting information can be focused on specific tasks, products, and services, their strengths and weaknesses, or the feasibility of a business. Due to the character of such information, it is to be used only by the members of corporate management teams as it facilitates the decision-making process. Importantly, detailed budgeting analysis reports, feasibility studies, reports on mergers and their impact, and other types of documents based on management accounting information act as sources that help to increase companies’ competitive advantage as they refer to weak and strong business decisions. Therefore, the degree to which management accounting information is protected has a significant impact on companies’ competitive advantage and the opportunities for further development.
To sum up, the purpose of management accounting activities is strictly interconnected with the key values of the American business community, such as flexibility, competition, and profitability. Being future-directed, the reports created by management accountants (if requested by the senior management) provide valuable information that is used to facilitate the decision-making process, survive recent changes in the business environment, and increase the effectiveness and the profitability of operations.
Apart from that, various forecasting reports help management teams in the American-based corporations to consider current strengths and weaknesses that impact their businesses’ competitive advantages. Based on the role of such information in strategic planning, management accountants can be called important strategic partners in corporate America’s management teams.
In the end, management accountants can be defined as important strategic partners of corporate management teams in American-based corporations due to numerous reasons. The functions of specialists from corporate management teams are strictly interconnected with reviewing the specific findings of other employees to implement them into current strategies and gain a competitive advantage over other companies in the field. The structure of any large company in countries that demonstrate rapid economic growth helps the members of corporate management teams to make decisions based on materials, reports, and recommendations that are provided by other specialists.
The role of management accountants in this strategic partnership cannot be overstated as these professionals are responsible for numerous tasks. The responsibilities of these specialists include completing various reports that are used for decision-making purposes, checking the credibility of open access financial information, supervising the work of other accountants, reviewing costs, and reporting to the upper management. Due to all these tasks, management accountants present coupling agents between specialists at different authority levels, and this is why their work is extremely important for corporate decision-making processes.
In addition, practices utilized by management accountants on a daily basis support the key values that are often used to characterize the American business community: flexibility, competition, and profitability. Unlike open access financial data that can be used by third parties, management accounting information collected and analyzed by these specialists is future-oriented. Therefore, it allows defining potential sources of competitive advantage, adapting to ever-changing environments, and heeding past mistakes to achieve financial success.
Appelbaum, Deniz, et al. “Impact of Business Analytics and Enterprise Systems on Managerial Accounting.” International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, vol. 25, 2017, pp. 29-44.
Ghose, Keeron Sreyoshi. “Ethics in Managerial Accounting: Today’s Challenges in USA.” Journal of Law and Social Sciences, vol. 4, no. 2, 2015, p. 85.
Quinn, Martin, and William J. Jackson. “Accounting for War Risk Costs: Management Accounting Change at Guinness During the First World War.” Accounting History Review, vol. 24, no. 2-3, 2014, pp. 191-209.
Ramaswamy, Mysore, et al. “Is There Proper Presentation of Financial Data in Supply Chain Analysis to Support Effective Management Decision Making?” Issues in Information Systems, vol. 16, no. 1, 2015, pp. 102-111.
Warren, Donald, et al. “How Big Data will Change Accounting.” Accounting Horizons, vol. 29, no. 2, 2015, pp. 397-407.
Weygandt, Jerry J., et al. Financial & Managerial Accounting. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.