Management Accountant: Career profile

What is a Management Accountant?

Management accountants count among the futurists of the finance sector. They help drive value, looking for ways to increase profitability and improve growth while providing regular financial snapshots to department heads so they can make informed decisions. They are essential to smart business-running and in high demand.

Kate, Management Accountant

Kate, Management Accountant

Kate Darroch, 29, is a Senior Management Accountant with SEEK. She barracks for Richmond, chills out with yoga and loves shopping for shoes, but always ... well, almost, except perhaps for those $269 Alan Pinkus ones ... stays within budget.

Describe your job in a sentence?

Analyse and report actual results, budgets and forecasts to the business - good, bad or otherwise!

What education and training do you have?

  • Bachelor of Commerce - Ballarat University
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) program
  • Business Activity Statements - Fundamentals
  • CPA Financial Accounting workshops
  • Persuasive Presenting to Groups - CA forum

How has this training helped your Management Accounting career?

After I graduated I started working in the SEEK billing team. As a graduate accountant it was part of the deal that I get my CPA. I procrastinated for two years until my bosses basically said you need to study or this isn't the job for you. That worked! As soon as I was qualified I went to a senior management accountant role. Without my CPA I would not have this job or the pay rise that went with it. Once you have your CPA you have to complete 120 hours of professional development training per triennium which makes sure you keep up to date.

What skills do you most need as a Management Accountant?

You need to be analytical and methodical, but you still need to be a people person. Sometimes you are telling people things they really do not want to hear. So the way you deliver it and the relationships you have with those people come into play.

You have to be able to explain what you are doing and why.

You have to be confident you are correct.

What is best about being a Management Accountant?

There is a lot of variety and there is something to do, from budgeting and forecasting, to end-of-year reporting. More recently I have moved into the commercial analysis stuff which is more exciting because it is about why things happened and what could potentially happen, rather than just here are the numbers.

What is the most challenging part of the job?

It can be a bit repetitive when you first start out, but then you get to move on to bigger and better things, which follows on a lot from your studies. You also have to be able to separate yourself from the figures. We can't change the way things add up. We have a saying: It is what it is.

What advice would you give to an aspiring Management Accountant?

It is a great area to get into and there is a lot of opportunity in the sector. But at the same time you really do have to be prepared to put in the hard yards training. I'm not a massive studier. You have to be able to see the big picture with the CPA when you are studying and everyone else is out partying. That one night out does not compare with the qualification you are going to have for the rest of your life.