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Opening Doors to a Rewarding Management Accounting Career

By UCL Careers, on 15 January 2015

Seb Atkinson of CGMA, which is part of CIMA writes about Management Accounting Careers…

Have you considered a career in management accounting? This exciting career path is the perfect opportunity for anyone with an interest in finance and business. It offers opportunities for travel, personal growth, and career progression.

If you’re studying for or have recently completed a degree in the business or finance field, then read on to discover more about what management accounting is, and how to open doors in this dynamic career path.

Tell Me More about Management Accounting

A role as a management accountant will see you making critical business decisions across the fields of finance, operations, strategy, and management. The two most prestigious accounting bodies, CIMA and AICPA, have worked together to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, which is a qualification that can be earned in this field.

This designation is globally recognised, offers a whole host of benefits – including an impressive salary range – and will develop the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. What’s more, it offers you the opportunity to earn whilst you study, and travel too.

As mentioned, this is the ideal progression from a business or finance based degree, however, those with a degree in other subjects may have transferrable skills and a foundation of knowledge that can lead them to success in this career path.

Alternative Entry

The Prospects website for graduate careers has information on an alternative route to train to become a Management Accountant, via the ACCA organisation. This option takes out the business management modules instead of audit and taxation options in the final part of their training.

What’s On Offer?

A fantastic benefit of management accountancy is the rapid career progression and salary rises which are above national averages – graduates can enjoy a great starting salary of £28,000 – above the average UK salary of £26,664 – while they study for their CGMA designation through the CIMA syllabus.

Salary levels for a qualified CGMA designation holder average at £66,000 per year, while one fifth go on to very senior roles commanding salaries of £100,000, £150,000 and even higher; a reflection of how in demand people with these skill sets are to drive long term success for businesses.

Working around the World

By becoming a CGMA designation holder you can take your expertise almost anywhere. Popular destinations include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States, where the skill set you will gain is on high demand.

As well as offering the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world, this globally recognised qualification offers graduates the chance to travel – ideal for anyone who didn’t get the chance to take a gap year! By landing a position at a multi-national firm there will undoubtedly be the option to travel.

The Next Steps

Below is an outline of the route to becoming a CGMA designation holder, either through the CIMA or AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) –

routes in CGMA


As this shows, the route to becoming a CGMA involves both examinations and 3 years of practical, relevant experience. Your earning potential will increase throughout your journey and as your level of experience rises.

The framework you will follow for the qualification takes a full-time working, part-time studying student between three to five years to qualify.

You can get some great tips from people who’ve worked their way up to a career in management accounting on the CGMA website’s careers case studies.

To talk about possible career options, come in and speak to a Careers Consultant: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers

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