Management Accountant

Management accountants are mainly concerned with the collection, comparison and interpretation of a large variety of information and advice with regard to costs and cost trends, levels of performance and budgets.  They aid managerial planning and commercial decision-making tasks by providing appropriate financial information and undertaking related accounts administration.

The provision of financial data is an important aspect of management success, and chartered management accountants turn ideas into money while providing management with advice on the profitability of various possibilities. Nearly every organisation needs the analytical, advisory and decision-making skills of a trained management accountant.

By applying their skills to the decision-making process, management accountants are vital members of any management team. They contribute to the management of organisations by identifying, presenting and interpreting financial and other information for strategy, decision-making and control.

Management accountants determine the organisation’s development and efficiency in a competitive market. They also assess the impact of change in organisations. Facts provided by management accountants serve as a basis for the determination of the feasibility of any enterprise. They calculate expenses and costs to determine pricing structures for goods and services. They may also give advice on matters such as labour compensation and remuneration.

Management accountants use computers to provide more in-depth information required by management for better planning, development and control. Organisations in every field make use of the knowledge of the management accountant in matters such as budget control, labour compensation, expense calculation, price determination, management guidance and many other fields where analysis and control of expenditure are necessary.

In general, the responsibilities of the job include preparing reports, budgets, commentaries and financial statements, undertaking financial administration and internal audits, liaising with managerial staff and other colleagues, developing and managing financial systems / policies, negotiating and obtaining finance for major projects, controlling income and expenditure and creating business strategies to generate shareholder value.  Opportunities to work overseas may be offered by some employers.

Key skills are good oral and written communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team and excellent analytical and numerical abilities.

Personal Requirements

  • ability to work methodically
  • think logically and high intelligence level
  • interest and aptitude for Mathematics
  • prepared to take responsibility for decisions made on recommendations
  • able to work under pressure
  • able to work accurately and convey recommendations clearly
  • comply with high ethical and professional standards required
  • dependability and integrity
  • determination and perseverance
  • analytical and interpretive skills 
  • sound judgement and good business sense

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the only internationally recognised professional and examining body specialising in the goal of managing the resources of industry and commerce with maximum effectiveness.

Students can study towards the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) examinations through universities, universities of technology, private colleges and distance learning.

To qualify as a member of CIMA, candidates have to pass all of the Institute’s examinations, i.e. 4 stages of exams with 16 papers. They also need to have gained at least 3 years of practical experience in: Basic Accounting; Management Accounting; and/or Financial Management.

Those who have a relevant university degree, chartered accountant or chartered secretary qualifications or N.Dip: Cost Accounting or Accounting, may gain exemption from some of the CIMA examinations.


  • manufacturing industries
  • various organisations, such as Transnet, Sasol, Mittal Steel, CSIR, SANDF
  • mines
  • educational institutions
  • self-employment, skilled and entrepreneurial chartered management accountants can open their own private practice, for example as a consultant to larger firms not having their own management accountant

Further Information

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
54 Melrose Boulevard
4th Floor, Melrose Arch
Melrose North
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: (011) 788-8724

Getting Started

  • develop your mathematical and accounting skills
  • look for part-time or vacation work as a clerk for an accounting firm
  • try to obtain experience in keeping financial records by volunteering to serve as a treasurer for organisations at school or church, or in your community

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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