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The Complete Guide to Cost and Management Accounting

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Accounting is an ancient science that focuses on maintaining track of numerous transactions. Accounting is said to be necessary in order to keep track of all receivables and payables, as well as income and expenses. Accounting can be split into three divisions in general, of which management accounting and cost-accounting are parts.

By recording diverse transactions in a methodical manner, financial accounting tries to determine the gain or loss of an accounting year, as well as the assets and liabilities position.

Cost accounting assists businesses in determining the cost of production/services provided by the firm, as well as providing useful data for making various decisions, as well as cost control and reduction.

Management accounting aids management in running their business more efficiently. To answer the question ‘what is cost and management accounting,’  we need to look at these topics individually.

Did you know?

During World Wars I and II, the societal significance of cost accounting expanded in tandem with the development of the defence expenditures of the host country.

What is the Costing? 

The methods and procedures for determining costs are known as costing. These strategies are made up of ideas and regulations that control the process of determining a brand’s or service’s cost. The methodologies to be used for analysing costs and procedures for various products or services range from one industry to the next.

The primary goal of costing is to analyse financial documents in order to partition expenditure and properly distribute it to designated cost centres, leading to an overall cost for the undertaker’s divisions, procedures, tasks, and contracts.

What is Cost Accounting? 

Expense accounting is a specialised discipline of accounting that deals with cost classification, collection, assignment, and management. Cost accounting, according to C.I.M.A. London’s terminology, is “the foundation of expenditures, standard costs, and actual costs of operations, processes, activities, or products, as well as the analysis of variances, profitability, or the social use of funds”.

Cost accounting differs from costing in that the former merely offers the foundation and data for determining costs. Once the data is accessible, costing can be done mathematically using memo expressions or using the integrated accounting system.

Also Read: Know All About Cost Accounting


Cost accounting is concerned with the systematic recording and evaluation of costs in order to determine the cost of any products made or services provided by a company. Data on the cost of each product or service would allow management to determine where cost savings might be made, how to set prices, and how to optimise revenues, among other things. As a result, the following are the major goals of cost accounting:

  • To determine the cost of production for each item, task, activity, method, division, or service, as well as to establish cost standards.
  • Any inadequacies and the magnitude of different forms of waste, whether of resources, time, money, or the usage of technology, gear, and devices, should be reported to management. Analysing the reasons behind disappointing results may reveal corrective steps.
  • To supply information for recurring profit and loss statements and statements of accounts at such periods as the management may want during the financial year, not just for the entire firm but also for divisions or particular items. Also, to disclose the particular reasons for profit or loss as indicated in the profit and loss statement.
  • To offer data to facilitate management to make various kinds of short-term choices, such as price quotations to special clients or during a downturn, influence the buying decisions, allocating priorities to various items, and so on.

Importance of Cost Accounting 

Because of the limits of accrual analysis, management has realised the value of cost accounting. Whichever sort of business you have, you’ll need to spend money on labour, supplies, and other stuff to manufacture and dispose of your product. At each level, management must remove the risk of wastage. It must guarantee that no equipment is left idle, that productive labour is adequately rewarded, that byproducts are correctly handled, and that expenses are accurately calculated. The adoption of a solid costing system benefits the management, creditors, and employees in a variety of ways. Cost accounting improves an organisation’s total production and is a vital instrument in bringing wealth to the country.

Role of a Cost Accountant 

The business world requires a diverse set of cost data in order to make day-to-day operational decisions, whether big or little, production or non – production,  formal or informal, commercial or philanthropic. As a result, the modern cost accountant’s strong focus on analysis and evolution necessitates participation in the fluid stage of business present and beyond. The dynamic phase is chiefly concerned with organising (i.e., determining goals and ways to reach them) and regulating. Cost accountants gather, absorb, collate, and analyse all financial data pertaining to a company. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that managerial decisions are within budget constraints. They are required to make a financial forecast for any project.

What is Management Accounting? 

The concept of management accounting seems pretty evident if the meanings of managing’ and ‘accounting’ are grasped. The basic goal of management is to run the firm according to a management pattern that includes formulating a strategy, allocating duties for executing the project, arranging methods to aid in project implementation and monitoring of performance.

Cost accounting and other economic indicators, both past and anticipated, are processed and presented in management accounting in order to aid in the performance review of management roles such as strategy, judgement, and supervision. Cost accounting, budget management, standard costing, break-even study, ratio analysis, finances and financial analysis, and other procedures are used to process and present the data.


The fundamental objective of management accounting is to assist the management in carrying out its duties efficiently so that it maximises profits or minimises losses of management. It includes the computation of plans and budgets covering all aspects of the business. Example: production, selling, distribution, research and finance. Management accounting systematically allocates responsibilities for the implementation of plans and budgets. It analyses all transactions, financial and physical, to enable effective comparison to be made between the forecasts and actual performance. The main objectives of management accounting are as follows:

  • Predicting on the basis of known data, creating goals, defining policies, evaluating possible courses of action, and settling on a programme of activities are all part of planning. It makes it easier to prepare financial statements based on previous outcomes and provides forecasts for the future.
  • The purpose of management accounting is to deliver financial data to managers. Financial data must be represented in a clear and understandable manner. It involves the use of statistical tools such as charts, diagrams, and graphs to illustrate accounting data.
  • With the use of many new tools, management accounting helps make the judgement procedure more logical. Cost, price, gain, and savings information/figures for each of the choices available are gathered and assessed, providing a foundation for making smart judgments.
  • Through reports, this keeps the management properly aware of the current state of the company. It aids managers in developing sound and timely decisions. It keeps top management up to date on the performance of different sectors on a routine basis.

Management Accounting’s Scope

Financial accounting is included in this, and so is the functioning of a costing system, budget control, and statistical evidence. It emphasises the construction and planning of internal controls while satisfying the legal and traditional criteria for the preparation of financial statements. Management accounting’s scope covers, among other things:

The gathering and archiving of critical data for the planning process. The accounting and paper records are a storehouse of large amounts of information about the company’s previous growth, without which making future predictions is extremely risky. The management accountant gives historical data to managers in such a way that the patterns of occurrences are reflected. He’s meant to share his opinion on what he thinks will happen in key areas.

This sort of information is quite useful in strategic planning. Including other key stakeholders, the management accountant may be relied upon to collaborate on and even oversee the real planning procedure.

Providing and creating an effective feedback reporting system. This would assist management in performing its control duty. Such reports aid in the design and maintenance of the management by exceptions’ system by highlighting substantial discrepancies between observed and forecast activities and conforming to the criteria of choice and appropriateness. In meritorious circumstances, the management accountant is required to examine the variance by reasons and accountability and to provide relevant corrective steps.

Also Read: Know the Basics of Managerial Accounting

How are Cost and Management Accounting Different? 

Both cost accounting and management accounting are done within the company. Both share the very same goals of supporting management in its organising, judgement, and regulating functions, and approaches such as budgetary control, standard costing, and marginal costing owe their success to cost accounting and have found their way into the management accountant’s toolkit. The duties of these two entities overlap quite a little. The two systems, however, can be distinguished on the following basis:

Cost accounting is related to cost determination, allocation, circulation, and bookkeeping. The influence and effect of costs are increasingly important in management accounting.

Cost accounting data is typically used as a foundation upon which management accounting tools and procedures could be intended to produce it much more meaningful and management focused. The management accounting data, on the other hand, is obtained from both the cost and financial accounts. The management accountant is generally found above in the corporate structure than the cost accountant.


In brief, cost accounting aids management accounting, and management accounting, in return, drives cost accounting forward to meet the company’s requirements. Cost accounting and management accounting are generally seen as one and the same lately because of their intimate ties.

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