Difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting

Difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting: Business is an economic activity undertaken with the motive of earning profits.

Raju Choudhary

Difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting

Difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting: Business is an economic activity undertaken with the motive of earning profits and to maximize the wealth for the owners. Business cannot run in isolation. Largely, the business activity is carried out by people coming together with a purpose to serve a common cause. Now check out more details from below

Financial Accounting

It is commonly termed as Accounting. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants defines Accounting as “an art of recoding, classifying and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are in part at least of a financial character, and interpreting the results thereof.”

The first step in the cycle of accounting is to identify transactions that will find place in books of accounts. Transactions having financial impact only are to be recorded. E.g. if a businessman negotiates with the customer regarding supply of products, this will not be recorded. The negotiation is a deal which will potentially create a transaction and will have exchange of money or money’s worth. But unless this transaction is finally entered into, it will not be recorded in the books of accounts.

Secondly, the recording of the business transactions is done based on the Golden Rules of accounting (which are explained later) in a systematic manner. Transaction of similar nature are grouped together and recorded accordingly. e.g. Sales Transactions, Purchase Transactions, Cash Transactions etc. One has to interpret the transaction and then apply the relevant Golden Rule to make a correct entry thereof.


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Thirdly, as the transactions increase in number, it will be difficult to understand the combined effect of the same by referring to individual records. Hence, the art of accounting also involves the step of summarizing them. With the aid of computers, this task is simplified in today’s accounting world. The summarization will help users of the business information to understand and interpret business results.

Lastly, the accounting process provides the users with statements which will describe what has happened to the business. Remember the two basic questions we talked about, one to know whether business has made profit or loss and the other to know the position of resources that are used by the business.

It can be noted that although accounting is often referred to as an art, it is a science also. This is because it is based on universally applicable set of rules. However, it is not a pure science as there is a possibility of different interpretation.

Management Accounting

Management Accounting is concerned with the use of Financial and Cost Accounting information to managers within organizations, to provide them with the basis in making informed business decisions that would allow them to be better equipped in their management and control functions. Unlike Financial Accounting information (which, for public companies, is public information), Management Accounting information is used within an organization (typically for decision-making) and is usually confidential and its access available only to a selected few.

According to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Management Accounting is “the process of identification, measurement, accumulation, analysis, preparation, interpretation and communication of information used by management to plan, evaluate and control within an entity and to assure appropriate use of and accountability for its resources. Management Accounting also comprises the preparation of financial reports for non management groups such as shareholders, creditors, regulatory authorities and tax authorities”.

Basically, Management Accounting aims to facilitate management in formulating strategies, planning and constructing business activities, making decisions, optimal use of resources, and safeguarding assets of business.

These branches of accounting have evolved over years of research and are basically synchronized with the requirements of business organizations and all entities associated with them. We will now see what are they and how accounting satisfies various needs of different stakeholders.

Difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting:

The significant difference between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting are:

Management AccountingFinancial Accounting
Management Accounting is primarily based on the data available from Financial Accounting.Financial Accounting is based on the monetary transactions of the enterprise.
It provides necessary information to the management to assist them in the process of planning, controlling, performance evaluation and decision making.Its main focus is on recording and classifying monetary transactions in the books of accounts and preparation of financial statements at the end of every accounting period.
Reports prepared in Management Accounting are meant for management and as per management requirement.Reports as per Financial Accounting are meant for the management as well as for shareholders and creditors of the concern.
Reports may contain both subjective and objective figures.Reports should always be supported by relevant figures and it emphasizes on the objectivity of data.
Reports are not subject to statutory auditReports are always subject to statutory audit.
It evaluates the sectional as well as the entire performance of the business.It ascertains, evaluates and exhibits the financial strength of the whole business.


Raju Choudhary

Article by Raju Choudhary Raju has written 810 articles. If you like This post, you can follow CAknowledge on Twitter. Subscribe to CAknowledge feed via RSS or EMAIL to receive instant updates.


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