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Role of a Cost & Management Accountant

MAHESH KUMAR 
on 06 September 2013

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Backgrounder:

Ministry of Corporate Affairs:

With multi-product manufacturing and distribution ventures being the order of the day, it has become very important to understand the exact cost of creating and distributing every product and service at different stages so as to minimize expenditure and ensure optimum utilization of resources. Costing is crucial to determine pricing of products and services in every organization, which is accountable to its stakeholders. This is where the role of a Cost and Management Accountant (CMA) is critical, as this work cannot be done by just an ordinary accountant.

A CMA is a person who performs services like costing; pricing of goods or services; prepares, verifies or certifies cost accounting; and prepares related statements. A CMA’s job essentially involves an analysis of costs and to devise ways to reduce it. Apart from this, the CMA is also expected to evaluate operating efficiency and effectiveness of production and service management in different departments of an organization.

This analysis helps in comparing financial performances, making assessments and projections, providing figures for future costing and pricing policies and other related managerial decisions. He is the first whistleblower who tells the Management on issues of purchase price, inventory, human costs and related issues. He is also an efficiency auditor so that the company saves money and time in manufacturing and distribution operations.

A CMA is required to advice on profitable product mix, identify business risks and ensure mitigation. The employment avenues for CMAs’ are various and can range from holding key positions such as Chief Finance Officer, Chief Executive Officer and Finance Manager, etc. to Chairman, Managing Director and Finance Director in MNCs, Private and Public Sector, Central and State Government Institutions.

The Central Government has constituted an all-India cadre known as Indian Cost Accounts Service (ICoAS) at par with other Class-I services such as IAS, IFS, etc. to advise the Government in cost pricing and in framing the appropriate fiscal and tax policies.

In the field of education, cost accountants can be appointed as Assistant Professor, Professor and Principal/Director/Head of an institution in Universities and colleges in the areas of Management, business and administration.

To become a CMA a person has to qualify in the course offered by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India which functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The candidates pursing a CMA course should qualify in the three stages of the course. The 1st stage is called the Foundation Course. Those who have passed plus two, or its equivalent, can apply for this course. The 2nd Stage is called the Intermediate Course. Those who have completed their graduation from any recognized University can directly apply for admission in the 2nd Stage.  Candidates who have passed all the sic papers in the Intermediate Course can apply for the 3rd and Final Stage. After passing the final stage of examination, one will become a Cost Accountant.

The Course can be pursued from Four Regional Council offices of the Institute  located at Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai and 92 Chapters located in various parts of India. The course can also be pursued through a distance learning mode.

A person, who has passed the Final examination of the Institute and has obtained at least three years of practical experience, may seek admission to associate membership of the Institute. The practical experience may be acquired prior to or after passing the final examination.


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