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Where can management accounting take your career in financial services?

Taking a management accounting career path in financial services sets you up for a wide range of career opportunities, including financial planning and analysis, business analysis and COO roles.

So what exactly does this role encompass, and what career opportunities can you expect if you make the move out of practice and into management accounting? Here’s what you should know about a future career in management accounting…


What is management accounting?

Management accountants provide business data and analysis to managers within organizations to assist in business decision-making and control. As a management accountant, you will analyze the company’s financial position and provide insight into business performance. Monthly management accounts, budgets and forecasts will be some of your key responsibilities.

You will also be involved in cost analysis and cost-reduction projects, competitor analysis, variance analysis, tender preparation and review, strategic planning, long and medium-term planning and investor appraisal.

Why choose management accounting?

This is a highly commercial role interacting with different areas of the business. You will not only analyze historical data but will provide information on what the business needs to do to meet future expectations. You are very much considered to be a finance business partner and will be expected to offer an opinion on your analysis.

Career progression

There are two main paths for a management accountant to follow:

  • Ultimately become a Head of Financial Planning and Analysis (which allows you to access a more sophisticated reporting and analysis environment)
  • Progress to a Financial Controller role and then become Finance Director (financial accountants also progress into these areas)

As a management accountant, you can also transfer to financial services up to manager level.

Who should become a management accountant?

Historically, companies tended to recruit newly-qualifieds with CMA qualifications but the focus has shifted in recent years – nowadays, employers are more likely to look for transferable skill sets.

If you are a commercially-minded accountant with strong modelling and analysis skills, you will be suited to this role. You will develop excellent communication skills due to your frequent interaction with finance and non-finance professionals when preparing, interpreting and communicating a variety of reports for your portfolio of internal clients.

Why choose a career in financial services?

Banks and financial services institutions are crucial to the growth of Canada’s and the world’s economy. Toronto is the hub of the Canadian financial industry and is home to the head offices of Canada’s five largest banks, three of which rank among the world’s largest 30 banks by market capitalization You will also find:

  • 2 of the world’s largest life insurers
  • 7 of the 10 largest global hedge fund administrators
  • 3 of the top 60 global pension funds
  • Headquarters for 9 of Canada’s top 10 mutual fund companies (based on assets under management)

The financial services sector is a sector of innovation – every day new financial products, new ways of protecting business against risk, and new technology is created to make business more cost effective and able to react to a fast-changing world.

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