How do I Become a Managerial Accountant?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2019
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The process to become a managerial accountant includes formal post-secondary training, certification as an accountant, experience in cost accounting and developing managerial skills. A managerial accountant is a certified accountant who has specialized in cost-management accounting. Many people assume that a managerial accountant is responsible for supervising staff members. The vast majority of accountants have managerial responsibilities, however, regardless of their accounting specialty.

Someone who is detail-oriented, enjoy solving problems and is a good communicator might want to become a managerial accountant. As a general rule, all accountants must be good with numbers and have advanced computer and analytical skills. Dedication to continuing education also is very important, because accounting rules are subject to change. Membership in the professional accounting association usually is required, along with a specific number of continuing education courses each year.

The first step required to become a managerial accountant is to complete a university or college degree in accounting. These three- or four-year programs are very popular and can be found at virtually every school. Admissions requirements vary but can include high school graduation and courses in English, accounting, business and advanced math.


Certification as a professional accountant is required in most countries to work in this role. Although each country has slightly different requirements, all graduates are required to obtain at least three years of experience in different accounting roles before applying for certification. In addition to the education and experience requirements, most professional associations have a series of written examinations that candidates must successfully complete in order to become certified accountants.

As a managerial accountant, the primary tasks are focused on cost accounting. This is a type of accounting that establishes budgets and tracks actual costs associated with operations and processes. For example, a bakery would track all of the costs for equipment, salaries, overhead and supplies related to the production of a specific product line. Revenue is recorded by product line, allowing the accountant to determine the relative profitability of each type of product. The only way to obtain the work experience required to become a managerial accountant is through employment in an accounting department as either a junior accountant or a cost-accounting clerk.

Developing managerial skills can be achieved through a combination of formal training and experience. If the opportunity to work in a supervisory capacity does not present itself at work, contact volunteer organizations. These agencies would be glad to access the skill set of a trained accountant and can provide an opportunity to supervise and manage staff members. Courses in leadership and managing people are available as part-time courses from most colleges and universities.



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