The differences between management accounting and financial accounting include:
Managerial accounting is used primarily by those within a company or organization. Reports can be generated for any period of time, such as daily, weekly or monthly. Reports are considered to be "future looking" and have forecasting value to those within the company.
Financial accounting is used primarily by those outside of a company or organization. Financial reports are usually created for a set period of time, such as a financial year or period. Financial reports are historically factual and have predictive value to those who wish to make financial decisions or investments in a company. Management accounting is the branch of accounting that deals primarily with confidential financial reports for the exclusive use of top management within an organization. These reports are prepared utilizing scientific and statistical methods to arrive at certain monetary values which are then used for decision making. Such reports may include:
Financial accounting, on the other hand, concentrates on the production of financial reports, including the basic reporting requirements of profitability, liquidity, solvency and stability. Reports of this nature can be accessed by internal and external users such as the shareholders, the banks and the creditors.
While financial accountants follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles set by professional bodies in each country or International Financial Reporting Standards, managerial accountants make use of procedures and processes that are not regulated by a standard-setting bodies.
Multinational companies prefer to employ managerial accountants who have a widely recognized certification such as CGMA, Chartered Global Management Accountant certified by the AICPA and CIMA, ACMA certified by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India , Chartered Management Accountant certified by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, or CMA, Certified Management Accountant certified by the Institute of Management Accountants.
Managerial Accounting provides top management with reports that are future-oriented, while Financial Accounting provides reports based on historical information. There is no time span for producing managerial accounting statements but financial accounting statements are generally required to be produced for the period of 12 previous months.