You’re running a business, so you know the legal requirements around producing accounts and submitting tax returns. But do you understand the value that a good accountant and business adviser can add to your company? That’s where management accounting comes in!
As a business owner, managing director or CEO, there are three fundamental areas of accounting that you’re probably most interested in:
- Compliance work – the bookkeeping, financial accounting and tax work that’s legally required for you to be compliant with the law. Overall, this compliance work looks backwards at your numbers from the past (your ‘actuals’), showing you where you have been, rather than where you are going.
- Financial performance work – the work that aims to improve the financial health of your business. It includes the cashflow, cost management and funding work that helps you to strengthen your balance sheet, manage your working capital and become a more stable financial proposition. The work is based on your historic actuals but also has an element of forward-looking forecasting and projections.
- High-value advisory work – the forward-focused, high-level strategic advice that helps you look to the future and plan out your business. This can include helping you to define your personal and business goals, create a 5-year business plan, manage your company strategy, and focus on growth, value, and an eventual exit strategy etc.
How Does A Management Accountant Differ From A Financial Accountant?
To make a success of your business, and to get the best value from your accountant, you need an adviser who can deliver in all these three areas. But not all accountants are the same. As we’ll see, it’s important to understand the difference between a financial accountant and a management accountant.
At the most basic level, these are the key differences:
- Financial accountant – in general, a financial accountant focuses on the basic compliance work, with a small amount of financial performance work thrown into the mix. They make sure your bookkeeping is done and dusted, will file your tax returns, and use your historic numbers to produce statutory accounts. They’re ‘bean counters,’ making sure you have a clear record of all the beans you’ve produced.
- Management accountant – a management accountant, however, looks forwards rather than backwards and has a greater focus on the future. They will usually provide the compliance work too but will delve deeper into the financial performance and high-level advisory work. Rather than just ‘counting the beans’ they help you choose the right beans, decide how to plant them, and make sure you nurture and grow these beans to bring in a better (and more profitable) harvest.
How Does A Management Accountant Deliver More Value?
Looking to the future is a far more productive way of managing your finances than just counting what’s in the bank. Management accounting will empower you to understand your business and give you the tools and the knowledge to make informed, well-considered decisions.
This additional help can be invaluable. With an experienced management accountant working alongside you, your financial thinking can be completely revolutionised.
For example, you will:
- Stop looking backwards – your focus will be all about looking forwards to what you can change, not just recording your past transactions (the things you can’t now change, even if you wanted to).
- Know your numbers inside out – you’ll have a far better understanding of your regular finances, thanks to the detail included in your regular monthly management accounts.
- Get in control of your cashflow – you’ll be able to drill down into your cash inflows and outflows and, by doing so, improve the liquid capital and cashflow in the business.
- Streamline your financial processes – you’ll refine and improve your internal accounting procedures, so you’re more efficient and productive.
- Refine your pricing strategy – by reviewing your pricing model, you’ll be able to enhance your margins, boost revenue and make the whole company more profitable.
- Stop unnecessary expenditure – you’ll analyse your overheads, expenses, and cost base to reduce the money that’s leaking out of the business.
- Bring more money and investment into the business – with more robust accounts and projections, you’ll have better access to funding and private investment.
- Get a firm grip on your business data – with meaningful metrics being tracked and monitored through your cloud accounting platform, you’ll greatly enhance your business intelligence and the evidence behind your decision-making.
- Improve the quality of your advice – you’ll always have an adviser on hand, giving you access to your management accountant’s knowledge, experience, and advice.
If you’re keen to understand and grow your business, switching to the benefits of management accounting could have a massive impact on your future success.
Interested in looking forward and taking control of your financial future? Get in touch with us to find out how our SAVY (Services that Add Value to You) team can help with management accounting for your business. We provide free, no-obligation discovery sessions to identify your goals, visions, concerns, and barriers that limit you from growing your business. We create customised solutions to help your business on its journey to financial success.
This publication has been provided as general information associated with the topics covered. It is not intended to be specific advice. We strongly recommend readers seek independent advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser prior to acting in relation to any of the matters discussed in this publication. No person or entity involved in this publication accepts any liability for any loss or damage whatsoever which may directly or indirectly result from any advice, opinion, information, representation, or omission, whether negligent or otherwise, contained in this publication.