How to apply management accounting knowledge in the real world

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A professional accounting qualification does more than just expand your career options. It provides real world skills that you can apply to your everyday life.

Here are four ways you can apply management accounting knowledge to improve your work and personal life.

Risk management

Risk management is one of the core functions of a management accountant and it includes the ability to identify and manage risks in order to protect the organisations strategic and financial objectives.

One common category of risk that exists within a business is environmental risk – that is, risks that occur due to political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, or legal changes.

Think about how this can be applied outside the office.  If you have ever considered moving towns or buying a new home, you would have automatically weighed up the pros and cons. You would have assessed your new town in terms of community makeup, any upcoming council plans for the area, who your new neighbours might be, and whether you could afford the cost. In other words, you managed risk.

By studying management accounting, your ability to assess and manage risk will improve, and this will automatically flow through to your personal life, making those big decisions feel more intuitive.

Negotiation and influencing  

Negotiation and influencing skills aren’t just for sales people. In the real world, these skills can be employed by anyone looking to affect change, including management accountants.

A core part of the CIMA Professional Qualification framework focuses on people skills which include the ability to negotiate effectively. This skill will let you gain consensus on core business projects, making it easier to get your work done efficiently. It will also help you to build strong and trusted relationships with your colleagues.

It’s easy to see how you might apply these skills to the real world. From haggling on price for your next smartphone purchase to finding a compromise during a disagreement with your spouse. The negotiation skills you learn during your management accountancy studies will be used regularly on a personal level and in the workplace.

Project and relationship management

The ability to manage projects in the finance department is becoming increasingly commonplace for management accountants. These projects often span all business functions that make up an organisation, making the ability to manage both projects and people an important skill for all accounting professionals.

CIMA recognises the importance of these skills by including an entire section on managing projects and people as part of their Professional Qualification. So whether its planning your next big family holiday, a big life-event like a wedding, or structuring a plan to build a new home, you can utilise the skills and knowledge you’ve earned through your studies to make your personal projects run smoothly too.

Digital skills

Technology is rapidly changing in finance and business. AI, blockchain and advanced data analytics are challenging the relevance of traditional accounting skills while also creating new opportunities for organisations and individuals.

In February 2019, CIMA announced an update to its Professional Qualification to integrate new digital skills into the framework, after consulting with more than 2000 organisations worldwide. These new digital skills will equip CIMA students and members with the knowledge to stay ahead in their roles.

Both our work and personal lives are increasingly digital. By nurturing a digital mindset during your management accounting studies, you will be prepared for anything that comes your way – whether that is the possibility of a robot taking your job, or simply the need to understand cloud computing, 3-D printing, or how to protect your finances online.

Level up – study management accounting with CIMA

By studying with CIMA you will acquire skills that you can apply to all areas of your life. You will benefit from CIMA’s future-proofed, revised qualification, giving you the digital know-how to get ahead in your career.

Take the great foundation in accounting that you have acquired through your AAT studies one step further and study management accounting with CIMA.

Find out more.

CIMA is the world's largest professional body of management accountants.

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