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When you finish your degree, your intention is to start a career using it. In order to apply for jobs, you will need a certain range of skill sets to satisfy the requirements of that position. So, the research project is to determine the skill sets of the occupation you want to be employed in. You should make it easier on yourselves as if you were to say manager; it would be too hard as there are so many levels, industries, companies who have various interpretations of what is a manager.

There are three parts of this assignment;

  1. A literature review is normally done in conjunction with the proposal. It will draw out the research questions you will need to start the research process.

  2. The marketing research proposal. A proposal is essentially what you are going to do. Your plan of answering this research.
Background of the research

Research Project on Managerial implications of a Management accountant

This research is an empirical investigation of the importance of understanding job descriptions in modern day professional life. While it is widely noticed that understanding of professionalism is an important aspect of education and training of individuals, understanding of job descriptions and job roles are equally essential to measure the skills already present and how to apply them to get a better position in the job market. This research project has been aimed at identifying the importance of job descriptions for an individual career through analyzing management account job role. All the essential components for developing this research project and adding value to managerial implications in different sectors have been evaluated in this study.

Since many companies these days are concerned with updating their job descriptions and job specifications for targeted roles, it is the duty and responsibility of an individual or aspirant of a particular job role to understand the value of job description (Alvesson, 2018). This function could bring knowledge to the candidate about the various parameters and needs they are expected to fulfill in the given job role. Though, it has been found out that many of the candidates are ignoring the importnace of updating job descriptions and forgetting to exhibit value to judge their personal competencies against the job roles. What is apparent here is that understanding job descriptions can provide a number of strategic benefits to the candidates, which adopt significant mechanisms to make sure that job roles are understood by the one who is targeting to apply for the specific role and can apply skills where needed (Chen et al., 2016).

This entire research project has been build up to finding out the results of effective understanding of the job descriptions and value to the managerial implication of a management accountant.

Importance of job descriptions is increasing day by day. It is necessary to find out the core skills relatable for a specific job role when targeting to enter into a professional life by applying the job role of a management accountant. It has been found out that many organizations are aspiring for the best candidates for them who could add value to the organizational objectives and productivity (Chen and Zhang, 2017). In this respect, it has been really valuable for individuals to enlarge their knowledge regarding job specifications, job descriptions and then identifying own skills. Recently, from several field studies, it has been found out that effective leadership skills, cognitive abilities, and analytical thinking are the most essential skills that one needs to apply for the role of a management accountant. Skill development and acquiring new skills would be impossible for an individual if the knowledge regarding job descriptions are incomplete.

  • Research aim

Purpose of the research

Aim of this research is listed below;

 Judging and identifying the core skills required for a management account to achieve the organizational goals and objectives.

Objectives of this research project are listed below.

Objective A

To identify the core skills organizations aspired in a management accountant.

Objective B

To avail and determine the training and development programs that are structured to meet the needs of managerial accountants in preparation to meeting market.

  • Research questions

Research Question 1:

What is involved in the key functions of management accounting?

Research Question 2:

How has the field of management accounting evolved when comparing previous and contemporary managerial accountant practices?

Research Question 3:

Which aspects of managerial accounting are accountable to increase competitiveness?

Research Question 4:

Despite common skills and capabilities, what other requirements that are essential to increase one’s success in the job market?

Entire literature review has been developed based on the research questions and objectives identified in this study. Essential factors that have been collected from the literature review are described below;

According to Deelman et al. (2015), the primitive functions for a management accountant are to ensure provision of financial information, preparations and effective decision-making qualities. The role of management accountant is important in these managerial functions to reach the stipulated objectives of the company. As opined by Ylä-Kujala et al. (2018), management account mostly required to perform the dual role of communicating additional managerial functions as underlined previously along with the essential accounting aspect. Therefore, the account graduates should possess qualities of managing an organization with their knowledge of the technical information in accounting.

Espinosa (2017) has identified that keeping paced with the evolving needs of many organizations the skills of a management account also have been developed from the mere working with spreadsheets and manual data entry to communicating with other variables of management responsibility in an organization. Espinosa (2017) has pointed out that a management account in the 21st century should know to link accounting related understanding with parenting in managerial decision-making, analytical decision-making skills, offering quick expertise to the business development and financial reporting.

The management accountant roles have been more critical in this century due to ensuring  competitive advantage and compete with similar professional roles of financial analyst and managerial consultants (Brandon-Jones et al., 2016). As identified in the previous section of the literature review, there is still some gaps exist in the theoretical and professional skills of a management account. According to Brandon-Jones et al.  (2016), lack of practical knowledge in a graduated accountant is affective for the individual as the knowledge between applied skills of an accounting graduate and the professional skills of a managerial account remain incompletes. Universities and colleges, as described by Moore and Morton (2017), should include teaching classes and practices that ensure the knowledge development of graduates in communicating analytical, creative as well as financial decision-making power.

Rationale of the research

As per the understanding of Howieson et al. (2014), the current professional needs of a management accountant in many organizations are communication skills, intellectual skills and others. The foremost importance is given to communication skill as the management accountant needs to communicate with other professionals for written information and commune verbal communication to the parties interested in interpreted financial details. On the other hand, intellectual capabilities are the second priority for a management accountant  to evaluate the wide range of information available to sort out the most relevant for the organization. Wong and Giessner (2016) have marked that without effective time management skills, a management accountant could not be able to perform all the duties and responsibilities asked for within the expected time.

Not only that, according to the observations of Howieson et al. (2014), expertise and professional needs of a management account in dependent and independent organizations vary from each other. A dependent organization finds teamworking abilities, communication skills, industrial understanding while an independent organization requires commercial, informative and IT expertise in a management accountant other than the financial abilities.

According to some prior studies and field analysis, it has been found out that apart from the core accountancy knowledge, knowledgeable skills, communication skills and relational skills are most important in a management graduate. These skills will help to build connection with other professionals within an organization and will able to understand the current needs of the company. With these qualities, a management graduate when aspiring to get a job of management accountant as prescribed by Lukka and Järvenpää (2017), will understand the core lack in the processes of the firm and how to manage them to get assured results in the business field. Despite these facts, as per the view of Lukka and Järvenpää (2017), a combination of these skills in a management accountant and in a graduate will help in competing with the constant pressure of standing in the front and upholding the value of managerial implications while doing the job.

From the above summary of literature review and earlier studies, it has been found out that there are still some limitations of gaps exist in the literature review conduction and results that need to be identified for better results of the research project for the next time. Though the skills and capabilities of a management accountant have been pointed out here, no hint has been given about the implications of them in business profitability and productivity here. On the other hand, apart from the gaps between skills of a graduate and a management account, there is no description of the possible training and development schemes that need to be adopted by the graduates to overcome the limits given in the literature review, which is not clearly establishing the second objective of the project.

Research objectives

Research approach

Among the three types of research approaches, “Deductive research approach” has been used in this study (Gale et al., 2013). This research approach has helped to examine the validity of assumptions at hand and proved to be helpful in conducting both the secondary and primary research in this project.

Among “Realism, interpretivism, positivism and pragmatism”, positivism research philosophy has been selected for this study. This research philosophy has helped in collecting quantitative data and results for this study (Gale et al., 2013).

Among “probability and non-probability sampling techniques”, non-probability sampling techniques have been used in this research since the sample size is small and not each member from the population has the chance to participate in this research (Roberts, 2013).

Both the secondary sources and qualitative data collections have been used in this study to find effective results. The secondary research has been done through journals and trade journals and business reports (Roberts, 2013). The qualitative data collection methods have been done through interviewing focused groups, friends and family (Roberts, 2013). The sampling size is small counting 5 people from focused groups and organizational professionals.

Research limitations related in  this study are listed below;

  • Lack of proper previous research in the same field
  • As the sample size is too small, proper statistical data could not be derived from the results of the study (Taylor et al., 2015).
  • During the research and interviewing, no participants have been harmed and respect of the dignity of research participants was preserved (Lewis,  2015).
  • Confidentiality of each participant details has been preserved
  • Any kind of misleading information and representation of primary data collection results in a biased way have been avoided.

Secondary data collection

In the past epoch, there has been adequate research done on this area, which established the fact that there should be changes in the management accounting practices, functions and techniques connecting to the relevance of management (Eriksson, 2014). The management accountant should be knowledgeable to “information frameworks such as Activity Based Costing, Balanced Scorecard, Key Performance Indicators, Economic Value Added, and Benchmarking” (Eriksson, 2014). Currently, the expertise management accounting body in U.S.A and UK has found out that experiences and functions differ from businesses in different countries. On the other hand, the Australian study conducted by Di Tria et al. (2013) has resulted to the fact that management accountant roles should incorporate “providing expert advice, team leadership, leadership in using statistical/analytical techniques, the design and management of information systems, the design and control of performance measurement systems”.

As per the views of Arena et al. (2010), the management accountant in organizations is not only the person to provide adequate information regarding accounting but also to participated in the role of decision-making process in the face of changing pressure of globalization, development in technology and gravity of getting information at hand. According to the definition and findings of IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), it could be said that “Management accounting also comprises the preparation of financial reports for non-management groups as shareholders, creditors, regulatory agencies, and tax authorities” (Eriksson, 2014). Therefore, according to Tria et al. (2013), it could be said that currently a management accountant is positioned throughout the organization and responsible for communicating the cross-functional teams that consist of workers representing different functions of the organization.

Literature review

Qualitative data analysis

 The research questions asked in the interview and their results have been described in below;

  1. what are the requirements of a managerial accountant in the modern world?

Answer from focused group discussion

In the modern business world, a management account should at first has the knowledge to understand the key requirements of the job role and then link it to the organizational objectives.

Response of first management accountant

 According to the first management accountant, an individual aspiring to be an effective management accountant in the future should know the value of communication along with financial accountancy knowledge to adhere to the objectives of the company.

Response of second management accountant

 A management accountant in modern day should know how to made quick analytical judgments to overcome difficulties at hand.

  1. Are different management accountant skills and abilities cut across different businesses or organizations?

Answer from focused group discussion

Nowadays, different managerial skills traverse to various businesses and organizations adding more value to the understanding of managerial implications to business success.

Response of first management accountant

According to the first manager, some skills are common in every business such as communication, interpersonal and analytical skills.

Response of second management accountant

As per the second manager, time management, analytical abilities, financial knowledge and most importantly practical abilities of a management account cut across in different organizations.

  1. What should be the nature of training and development that is required to enable managerial accountants meet the needs of their job requirement?

Answer from focused group discussion

According to the focused group discussion results, adequate training and development could be able to help graduates and management accountants to understand the changing needs of their organizations and act according to them.

Response of first management accountant

The first manager has answered that the nature of training and development should  guide individuals so that they could identify their shortcomings and eventually find solutions to them.

Response of second management accountant

The second manager has said that the nature of training and development should be a process to introduce new ways of learning and developing skills that are necessary.

From the above secondary data collection process, it has been identified that with the changing organizational context and the constant pressure of competing with new business agendas, the role and functions of management accounting have also been modified (Otley,  2016). There is no fixed role or functions of a management accountant within an organization. This position or job role has no particular degree of works, the accountant must have sufficient knowledge regarding the company and have the knowledge to work with the cross-functional teams involved in the firm.

On the other hand, the qualitative data collection results have identified that fact that communication skills, time management, and analytical skills along with accounting knowledge are the most important ones according to the modern day professional roles and requirements of companies in a management accountant (Otley,  2016). Most significantly, it has been found out from the previous research that a management accountant must know the role of directing, decision-making, planning, organizing, controlling and gathering feedbacks.

Conclusion and recommendations 

Therefore, from the above research, it has been found out that certain skills are needed to fulfil the job requirements of a management accountant and not only that, skills pointed out in the study are also useful to  manage all the given operations effectively to management accountant. This study has been pointed out changes in the job role of a management accountant. This is due to the rapid change in the business environment and the needs of the organizations in order to compete with others. The most needed skills in this area that has been pointed out are communication skills, technical knowledge, analytical skills along with accounting knowledge. For acquiring better results in future researcher could enlarge the sampling size so that more statistical data from the professionals in this field could be gathered. In the future, for completing entire research more systematically, time management should be applied strategically  so that more concentration could be given to the data collection process.

References

Alvesson, M., 2018. Organization theory and technocratic consciousness: Rationality, ideology and quality of work (Vol. 8). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.

Arena, M., Arnaboldi, M. and Azzone, G., 2010. The organizational dynamics of enterprise risk management. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 35(7), pp.659-675.

Brandon-Jones, A., Lewis, M., Verma, R. and Walsman, M.C., 2016. Examining the characteristics and managerial challenges of professional services: An empirical study of management consultancy in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector. Journal of Operations Management, 42, pp.9-24.

Chen, H.L. and Zhang, Y., 2017. Educating data management professionals: A content analysis of job descriptions. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(1), pp.18-24.

Chen, P.H., Ong, C.F. and Hsu, S.C., 2016. Understanding the relationships between environmental management practices and financial performances of multinational construction firms. Journal of cleaner production, 139, pp.750-760.

Deelman, E., Vahi, K., Juve, G., Rynge, M., Callaghan, S., Maechling, P.J., Mayani, R., Chen, W., da Silva, R.F., Livny, M. and Wenger, K., 2015. Pegasus, a workflow management system for science automation. Future Generation Computer Systems, 46, pp.17-35.

Di Tria, F., Lefons, E. and Tangorra, F., 2013. Evaluation of Business Intelligence Systems. Journal of Information Processing and Management, 4(3), pp.222-237.

Eriksson, T., 2014. Processes, antecedents and outcomes of dynamic capabilities. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 30(1), pp.65-82.

Espinosa, F.M., 2017. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES OF SCHOOL HEADS: TEACHERS'PERSPECTIVES. Skyline Business Journal, 13(1).

Gale, N.K., Heath, G., Cameron, E., Rashid, S. and Redwood, S., 2013. Using the framework method for the analysis of qualitative data in multi-disciplinary health research. BMC medical research methodology, 13(1), p.117.

Howieson, B., Hancock, P., Segal, N., Kavanagh, M., Tempone, I. and Kent, J., 2014. Who should teach what? Australian perceptions of the roles of universities and practice in the education of professional accountants. Journal of Accounting Education, 32(3), pp.259-275.

Lepistö, L., Järvenpää, M., Ihantola, E.M. and Tuuri, I., 2016. The Tasks and Characteristics of Management Accountants: Insights from Finnish Recruitment Processes. Nordic Journal of Business, 65.

Lewis, S., 2015. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 16(4), pp.473-475.

Moore, T. and Morton, J., 2017. The myth of job readiness? Written communication, employability, and the ‘skills gap’in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 42(3), pp.591-609.

Otley, D., 2016. The contingency theory of management accounting and control: 1980–2014. Management accounting research, 31, pp.45-62.

Roberts, T., 2013. Understanding the research methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis. British Journal of Midwifery, 21(3), pp.215-218.

Szychta, A. and Dobroszek, J., 2016. Perception of Management Accounting and Controlling by Polish Authors in Publications in 1990–2016. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Accounting, Auditing and Taxation (ICAAT 2016), ed. J. Alver, Tallinn, Atlantis Press. DOI (Vol. 10).

Wong, S.I. and Giessner, S.R., 2018. The thin line between empowering and laissez-faire leadership: An expectancy-match perspective. Journal of Management, 44(2), pp.757-783.

Xydias-Lobo, M., Tilt, C. and Forsaith, D., 2004. The future of management accounting: a South Australian perspective. Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research, 2(1), p.55.

Ylä-Kujala, A., Marttonen-Arola, S. and Kärri, T., 2018. Finnish “state of mind” on inter-organizational integration: A cost accounting and cost management perspective. IMP Journal, 12(1), pp.171-191.

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