- The distinguishing characteristics of managerial accounting.
- The role of managerial accounting in support of planning, directing, and controlling.
- Key production cost components: direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead.
- Product costs versus period costs.
- Categories of inventory for manufacturers and related financial statement implications.
Early portions of this textbook dealt mostly with financial accounting. Financial accounting is concerned with reporting to external parties such as owners, analysts, and creditors. These external users rarely have access to the information that is internal to the organization, nor do they specify the exact information that will be presented. Instead, they must rely on the general reports presented by the company. Therefore, the reporting structure is well defined and standardized. The methods of preparation and the reports presented are governed by rules of various standard-setting organizations. Furthermore, the external users generally see only the summarized or aggregated data for an entity.
In contrast, managers of a specific business oftentimes need or desire far more detailed information. This information must be tailored to specific decision-making tasks of managers, and its structure becomes more “free formed.” Such managerial accounting information tends to be focused on products, departments, and activities. In this context, the management process is intended to be a broad reference to encompass marketing, finance, and other disciplines. Simply stated: managerial accounting is about providing information in support of the internal management processes. Many organizations refer to their internal accounting units as departments of strategic finance. This title is more reflective of their wide range and scope of duties.
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