Constructing a Unique Role on the Management Team

By Whiteley, Stan | CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine, May 1994 | Go to article overview

Constructing a Unique Role on the Management Team


Whiteley, Stan, CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine


How does a CMA build a unique role on the management team?

By acquiring the skills and industry knowledge needed to assist in strategic decision-making.

Sure, "strategic" is a bit of a buzzword, but management accountants working in the territory do directly influence strategic decisions -- colloquially known as "the big decisions." In fact, along with other senior members on the decision-making team, CMAs help to make the major decisions.

The major decisions are about success -- what it means to the organization, and how to aim for it. That means how to position, monitor and manoeuvre the organization as it seeks competitive advantage.

In today's global economy, this task outranks even the Olympics in sheer blood-curdling competitiveness.

The challenge may seem to be a long way from our roots, but it represents, of course, logical evolution. And, as the introduction to our Management Accounting Guidelines notes, the CMA's role is now based on "... in-depth knowledge about what information is required and how it must be presented to improve decisions across all functions and levels of the organization."

The simple reality is that in a Canada where even small neighborhood shopping malls are cornucopias of international wares, "improved decision-making" is not an optional extra. Indeed, there is now a kind of ignore-at-your-peril transcendence about it:

* Thou shalt always provide quality, price, and service that engender warm smiles,

* Or, thou shalt be cast post-haste into the frigid realm of the also-rans, where the only warmth available is from scattered fires feebly stoked with once-coveted, but now worthless, corporate paper.

Levity aside, global competition is requiring every business to improve every process, including the one that goes to the very heart of the organization's future -- the strategic decision-making process. And it is because of the unique perspective CMAs bring to this process that the profession has constructed a unique role within modern management.

The territory model we have shown here is one way of understanding this role -- the role of strategic management accounting. The model relates the role to traditional accounting functions. …

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