Managerial accounting is an activity that provides financial and nonfinancial information to an organization’s managers and other internal decision makers. This section explains the pur pose of managerial accounting (also called management accounting) and compares it with financial accounting. The main purpose of the financial accounting system is to prepare general-purpose financial statements. That information is incomplete for internal decision makers who manage organizations.
Purpose of Managerial Accounting
The purpose of both managerial accounting and financial accounting is providing useful information to decision makers. They do this by collecting, managing, and reporting information in demand by their users. Both areas of accounting also share the common practice of reporting monetary information, although managerial accounting includes the reporting of nonmonetary information. They even report some of the same information. For instance, a company’s financial statements contain information useful for both its managers (insiders) and other persons
interested in the company (outsiders).
The remainder of this book looks carefully at managerial accounting information, how to gather it, and how managers use it. We consider the concepts and procedures used to determine the costs of products and services as well as topics such as budgeting, break-even analysis, product costing, profit planning, and cost analysis. Information about the costs of products and services is important for many decisions that managers make. These decisions include predicting the future costs of a product or service. Predicted costs are used in product pricing, profitability analysis, and in deciding whether to make or buy a product or component. More generally, much of managerial accounting involves gathering information about costs for planning and control decisions
Planning is the process of setting goals and making plans to achieve them. Companies formulate long-term strategic plans that usually span a 5- to 10-year horizon and then refine them with medium-term and short-term plans. Strategic plans usually set a firm’s long-term direction by developing a road map based on opportunities such as new products, new markets, and capital investments. A strategic plan’s goals and objectives are broadly defined given its long-termorientation. Medium- and short-term plans are more operational in nature. They translate the strategic plan into actions. These plans are more concrete and consist of better defined objectives and goals. A short-term plan often covers a one-year period that, when translated in monetary terms, is known as a budget.
Control is the process of monitoring planning decisions and evaluating an organization’s activities and employees. It includes the measurement and evaluation of actions, processes, and outcomes. Feedback pro vided by the control function allows managers to revise their plans.
Mea surement of actions and processes also allows managers to take corrective actions to avoid undesirable outcomes. For example, managers periodically compare actual results with planned results. Exhibit 1.1 portrays the important management functions of planning and control.
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