What Is Finance and Management Accounting and How Do They Differ?

Accountant professionals are the ones who perform accounting tasks for a company or an individual. Accountants have a host of duties to perform like some of the accounts may deal in company’s financial statements, while others may work closely with organization’s management matters related to budgets, analysing the cost of the products, services and operations. Some may work in auditing while others work as independent accountants like Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s), who carry out auditing for more than one company. An accountant can be regarded as a primary figure as they are required in every business, whether it is a multinational, small firm or self-owned business.

What are the different types of Accounting?

Accountancy is a vast field, which keeps on evolving. Over the past few years, accounting has expanded manifold, catering to the varied requirements of the businesses and has branched out in different types-

· Financial

· Management

· Tax

· Forensic

· Project

· Social

In the following paragraphs, we will take a closer look what is financial and management accountancy and how do they differ from each other.

What is Financial Accounting?

It is a process of determining, summarizing and reporting a number of transactions from a business to bring forth the correct financial situation and performance of an organization. This field primarily deals in preparation of financial statements in the form of balance sheets, income statements, expenses and record of cash flow. Financial accounting is carried out to present the financial health of an organization to its external stakeholders, Board of Directors, creditors and other investors. The reports are time specific in order to depict how the company has performed. In a nutshell, financial accounting caters to an audience which is outside an organization.

What is Management Accounting?

Managerial or management accounting is a field of accounting, which aims at providing financial information within the company in order to assist the managers or management in planning, controlling and decision-making. It does not use the past data; in fact it is based on the present performance, future trends and challenges. The information/report produced is usually more particularized in comparison to external usage. This is done so as to enhance and optimize matters related to finance thus aiding in the accomplishment of the company’s goals and objectives.

What is the difference between financial and managerial accounting-

The primary difference between both the types of accounting is quite evident, that management accounting is presented internally whereas financial accounting caters to external stakeholders. Both have significant importance of their own position. Financial is vital for existing and potential investors, while management is crucial for managers to make current and future decisions.

The differences can be listed through the following categories -

Optional-Financial reports are legally required, whereas managerial are optional.

Format- The report in financial accounting specifically follows a particular format, whereas managerial formats are informal which varies company to company.

Proven Information-Financial reports are kept with utmost precision which is needed to support that the financial statements are correct. Managerial accounting is more about estimates and research data rather than proven records.

Focus-Financial accounting is primarily based upon past data, oriented towards creation of financial statements which is to be distributed within and outside the company. Managerial accounting is mainly concerned with operational reports focussing on the present and future requirements.

Owing to its high demand in the market, Accountant jobs in both the fields are available in abundance. People working as accountants are well-paid and on an average they earn between the range 2 to 3 lakhs per annum.

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Personal Finance & Money Management Roles & Responsibilities Defined

The business of managing personal finances comes with myriad tasks. You earn, you pay bills, you invest, you write checks, you plan, you, you, you…. I think you get the idea. Handing the finances can be a lot of work for you. These tasks involved can be grouped into into three distinct and different roles that are similar to ones you might find in any professional business. I refer to the roles of my personal finance and money management business as the Money Leader, the Money Manager and the Money Handler.

The Roles.

The Money Leader provides the strategic leadership, vision, purpose and goals for your financial operations. He is your business’ chief executive officer. If we make the analogy that successful money management is like a trip in your favorite automobile, the Money Leader decides: Where are you going? What stops along the way should you make? When will you start your journey?

From a personal finance perspective, Money Leader tasks include:

Establishing vision – What is the end state you are trying to achieve? Where are you going?
Developing financial strategy – How do you link your Financial Ends (outcomes/desires), Ways (plans) and Means (resources)?
Setting Goals that enable the strategy- This will drive many of the plans that are developed.
Provide guidance and direction to the Money Manager (more on him in a moment) has he develops the financial plans necessary to ensure the plans achieve the vision.
The Money Leader decides where you are going, when you need to get there and why you’re on this journey.
Middle management is the responsibility of the Money Manager who helps develop financial plans and ensures the processes of money handling are running smoothly. He has a more narrow view than the Money Leader and focuses on the details of the route our financial vehicle will take when we drive it and monitors the systems within it along the way.

The Money Manger is thinking about which highway or streets can I take to avoid traffic? How fast am I going? Do I have enough fuel to get there? How’s the car running? When is the next scheduled engine maintenance? Is there anything wrong with the car that needs to be fixed right now? What kind of gas mileage are we getting? Does the motor need a tune up?

From a personal finance perspective, Money Manger tasks include:

Developing financial plans to achieve your goals – Choosing investments, selecting insurance policies etc.
Guiding, monitoring and assessing the execution of financial plans – Things like monitoring earnings and expenses so you can create and maintain positive cash flow.
The Money Manager develops financial plans and monitors our performance executing the plan. He seeks to improve the efficiency of the processes use to handle the details of your personal finances.
When it comes to finances, many of us wind up getting mired in the details of handling money and will feel most comfortable with our final role.

The Money Handler is the role that most people will find familiar. This role deals with the nitty gritty bits and pieces necessary to keep your financial vehicle running. The Money Handler changes the oil, adds wiper fluid, puts air in the tires, replaces light bulbs etc. To quote an English friend of mine, he “works at the coalface.”

From a personal finance perspective, Money Handler tasks include:

Paying bills – writing checks, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.
Making investments – filling out paperwork, writing checks or making e-transfers.
Moving money – between accounts as necessary (e.g. on payday, etc.)
Reconciling accounts – balancing checking, savings, etc.
The Money Handler accomplishes the tasks necessary to implement the financial plans that the Money Manger developed and monitors in order to fulfill the Money Leader’s vision and strategy for financial success.
Each role is necessary in order to properly handle your finances. However, the Management and Leadership roles are most important as they determine what success means and how you plan to achieve it. I’ve often said that a “failure to plan is a sure fire plan for failure.”

Unfortunately many of us get mired in the details of being the Money Handler and miss or fail to accomplish the bigger picture vision and planning tasks of the Money Leader and the Money Manager.

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Operations Management And The Startup Company

What’s the product? Is there a market? Where is the initial funding coming from? How experienced is the management team? These are some of the first questions investors and lenders want answered when investigating a startup company, and rightly so. The business plan typically addresses these and other related questions in some detail, but what about an Operations Plan? If Operations is mentioned at all, details are likely to be sketchy at best. Does Operations Management play a role in the startup firm, and if so, what is the role? As we look into the role of Operations Management in the startup firm, we need to address the roles and responsibilities of two key players; the entrepreneur and the operations management professional.

First, we need to realize the truth that Operations might not play an important or significant role in a startup firm. It depends on the type of product or service the company is producing and the stage of development that the company is at. But then again, Operations might play a vital role, and when it does operations management professionals need to be prepared. This is where the entrepreneur or owners come in. It is the responsibility of the entrepreneur to understand the needs of the organization at any given time and the skills and experience that need to be brought on board at different stages of development. Entrepreneurs are often experts in their fields, and tend to be creative “idea people” who see the big picture and can visualize the future of the business. Many entrepreneurs struggle with the day-to-day details of running a business, and many have no formal operations management education or experience. These entrepreneurs need to understand the skills that operations management professionals bring to the table and where and how they fit in to the startup organization (and when). It is the responsibility of the operations management professional, who is at home in the details, to adapt their skills and knowledge to the entrepreneurial environment and to develop the systems and day-to-day operations that will help guide the organization to long term success.

There are significant differences between a mature, established organization and a startup company, and many operations management professionals might not have the skills and experience required to help guide the startup on it’s way to success. If you’ve spent your career working in large, well established, bureaucratic organizations, you might be ill prepared for life in an entrepreneurial organization. The speed at which decisions can be made and changes in direction can occur in a small or startup company can be mind boggling for those used to bureaucracy. Detailed analysis and lengthy planning are luxuries that few entrepreneurs or managers of startups can afford. Experience, gut feelings, and back of the envelope calculations often rule the day. Operations management professionals need to be able to adapt to this environment, and have the confidence to act without the detail and support that they’re often used to.

As for the entrepreneur, how do you determine when and if you should consider a larger role for Operations, and how do you go about developing an Operations Plan? Well, the first thing that must be done is understand just what we’re talking about when we talk about Operations and Operations Management. In a nutshell, Operations Management concerns the processes and procedures that an organization uses to produce their product or provide their service. Quality and customer service are important components that fall under the operations umbrella. For the organization to be successful, Operations must have well integrated linkages with all the other functional areas, including strategic planning, marketing and sales, and accounting and finance. There must be formal integration even if all of these functions fall under one or just a few people.

You have to have a viable product or service, you need a good marketing strategy, you need funds, and you need to be able to deliver the product or service. You can have a wonderful product, a continuous stream of new products, an exciting marketing campaign, and plenty of cash, but if you can’t satisfy your customers by delivering the product or service with the highest quality, with the highest level of service, you’ll fail. Delivering the product or service is in the realm of Operations. The role of Operations will vary, of course, depending on the nature of the business and the life stage of the firm. A software development company in the initial stages of writing code will not need to pay much attention to Operations. The firm that is in the R&D stage of integrating that software into components for original equipment manufacturers needs a well-developed operations strategy. The device manufacturer that is at the stage of transitioning from R&D and prototyping to full production must have a highly developed and highly detailed operations plan in place if they expect to compete in today’s global marketplace. The device manufacturer should have an operations strategy and plan in place from day one, since operations is such an important component of their future success. Even if it will take several years to get to the full production mode, you should begin to develop your operations plan in the early stages of the company. You’ll have an advantage over any competition if you’ve developed your operations plan and strategy as you grow, rather than waiting until you’re ready to ramp up production. If you wait, it may already be too late.

I’ve been working recently with a small contracting company. The owner approached me to help him with his business plan for a new line of business. Although I have no knowledge of or experience in his industry, he understands the value that Operations Management and how it can help improve his existing business and help get the new line of business off on the right foot. The existing business would have benefited from Operations planning and management at earlier stages, but the new line of business will have an advantage by beginning this planning at the earliest stages of development. The Operations Management profession as a whole has a largely untapped market in startup companies in almost any industry. Operations management professionals need to adapt their knowledge and skills to this audience.

Also, as I stated earlier, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to say that many, if not most, entrepreneurs don’t come from an Operations background, so what should be considered in the Operations Plan? Operations encompasses everything from the procurement of the materials and resources needed to produce the product or provide the service, through to the delivery of the product or service to the customer or final consumer. The Operations Plan must address how the organization will perform these tasks. The field of Operations Management is littered with buzzwords (value stream, process mapping), various systems and techniques (Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma), and three letter acronyms (ERP, for Enterprise Resource Planning, generally meaning a computer system, and SCM for Supply Chain Management). The Operations Plan has to cut through the clutter and simply state how the organization will satisfy their customers and drive profitability.

Some elements of the Operations Plan to look for are:

o Sourcing strategy – including vendor selection criteria and supplier evaluations

o Quality system – how will processes be monitored and controlled? How will authority and responsibility for quality be assigned and dispersed throughout the organization? What results are expected?

o Production and Inventory Management (applies to products and services) – where will you meet the customer – will you build to order, build to stock, or what? What is the production and production control methodology? What are the materials and information flows?

o Logistics and delivery – will warehousing and delivery services be performed in-house or outsourced? What are the delivery channels?

o Customer service – how much authority will be granted to customer service personnel? Will there be dedicated customer service personnel or will it be the responsibility of operations, sales & marketing, or who? What are the expectations for customer satisfaction?

o Integration – How will operations be integrated with the other areas of the organization?

Operations is a vital component of every organization. The role and responsibilities of Operations will vary depending on the organization, the industry, and the life stage of the organization, but the importance will not. Every organization, product manufacturer or service provider, for-profit or non-profit, government or private, must effectively produce and deliver their product or service to satisfy their customers and investors. Operations plays a key role in every business and should be given the commitment that is needed to ensure success. Every business plan should include a detailed and well developed Operations Plan, and every business owner should have an understanding of the role of Operations in their organization.

Steve Novak is the founder and President of PPR Management Services. An independant consultant specializing in Business Operations and Strategic Planning, Steve helps organizations improve their performance by improving their operations. Working in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to non-profit, Steve helpls organizations define their goals, develop plans to reach those goals, and execute their plans and measure their progress.

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Operations Management MBA – How to Find an Accredited School

Although there are more than 1.7 million operations managers working in the industry today, operations managers are still in high demand in just about every area of business or organization. These top executives are needed to help formulate policies and direct the overall operations of businesses and corporations, public-sector organizations, non-profit institutions, and other organizations. In many organizations, operations management professionals have some of the same duties as chief executive officers (CEOs).

As you may have already guessed, big titles come with big responsibilities and even bigger salaries. The average operations management professional (or CEO) earns more than $145,600 per year. General operations managers earn an average salary of $91,570 per year. CEO “perks” averaged more than $360,000 in 2008, and it is not uncommon to find operations managers or CEOs that earn in excess of $1 million.

To become an operations manager in the U.S. you will have to earn an MBA. You can earn your operations management MBA online or on-campus, the choice is yours. An online operations management MBA will allow you to hold a full-time job in the field, in order to gain valuable experience and skills, while completing your advanced degree. Many traditional colleges now offer all or part of the MBA degree online and there are also dozens of business schools that operate solely online. These online schools offer MBA programs with concentrations in operations management, human resources, labor relations, finance, and more.

Whichever format you choose, there are a number of things to look for in a quality operations management MBA program. First, the program must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Ed.gov). The following agencies are the top accrediting agencies for business schools:

-Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
-Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
-Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
-Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)

Regional accrediting agencies are also acceptable. These include:

-Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
-New England Association of Schools and Colleges
-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
-Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
-Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Besides accreditation, check the schools MBA operations management curriculum. It should cover the areas of advanced accounting, business strategy, economics, finance, human resources, marketing management, manufacturing and production, operations management, statistics, and technology and information systems. Operations management courses should include teamwork basics, project management, designing and improving operations, enterprise resource planning systems, quality management, and manufacturing strategy.

Admissions requirements should include a transcript request, graduate record examination (GRE) test scores, and recommendation letters. The school should also require a statement of purpose or essay and other supporting materials that demonstrate leadership ability and the desire to succeed.

When you are ready to begin looking for a traditional or online program, try searching through directories and college review sites such as the Princeton Review. You can also use popular search engines such as Bing, Ask or Google if you don’t mind searching through hundreds of relative results. Good luck!

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