Management accountancy key to many organisations' strategic decision-making, but more can be done

Management accountants are often involved in the formulation of business strategy, but not all businesses yet use the discipline to its full potential, according to a new report by Nottingham Trent University.

Organisations that used management accountants as 'business partners' tended to have a clearer idea of their own business strategy.

Dr Graham Pitcher, Nottingham Business School

Management accountants are often involved in the formulation of business strategy, but not all businesses yet use the discipline to its full potential, according to a new report from Nottingham Trent University and sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The report, written by Dr Graham Pitcher, senior lecturer at Nottingham Business School, was based on in-depth interviews with fourteen accountants working in industry. All participants described situations where information they had provided had been used to support strategic decisions, and half described instances of "business partnering" – where they worked hand-in-hand with colleagues from across the organisation as part of an integrated approach to decision-making. However, two participants felt that they were simply used as "bean-counters" who primarily undertook monitoring and evaluation.

Dr Pitcher said: "Management accountants have the training and tools to help inform top-level decision-making, and help organisations achieve sustainable success. But while plenty of businesses and public sector bodies recognise this, the effect is not universal. This is arguably a missed opportunity, because one thing that was clear from our report was that organisations that used management accountants as 'business partners' tended to have a clearer idea of their own business strategy."

The report also found that successful management accountants had skills to offer beyond the understanding and provision of financial information.

Dr Pitcher said: "It is not just accounting skills that are required but the wider skill set, including business acumen, interpersonal skills and the ability to build a relationship with senior management that enables the accountant to add value to the process."

Downloaded the full report from the CIMA website.

  • Notes for editors

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    The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), founded in 1919, is the world's leading and largest professional body of management accountants, with over 218,000 members and students operating in 177 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers' choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.

    Professionalism and ethics are at the core of CIMA's activities with every member and student bound by robust standards so that integrity, expertise and vision are brought together.

    CIMA has formed a joint venture with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. CGMA is the global quality standard that further elevates the profession of management accounting. The designation recognises the most talented and committed management accountants with the discipline and skill to drive strong business performance.

    CIMA is proud to be the first professional accounting body to offer a truly global product in the fast-moving area of Islamic Finance.

    For more information about CIMA, please visit the CIMA website.

Management accountancy key to many organisations' strategic decision-making, but more can be done

Published on 20 March 2015
  • Category: Business; Press office; Nottingham Business School

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