Climbing the Corporate Ladder: How to be an Accounting Manager

Climbing the Corporate Ladder: How to be an Accounting Manager | Finance | Emeritus

The world of finance is dynamic and exciting, full of opportunities for ambitious professionals looking for ways to improve their earning potential. It offers various positions at every level, from financial forecasting to accounting and investments. Owing to its lucrative salary packages, scope for career progression, and high degree of job satisfaction, the role of an accounting manager is an attractive proposition for many. It is especially worth considering now, at a time when India’s accounting professional services market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 5% between 2024 and 2029.

Accounting managers typically have an established path of professional development. This management role paves the way for a shining career and, ultimately, top leadership positions. However, understanding the responsibilities and requirements of becoming an accounting manager is key to success. In this article, we delve into various aspects of the profession: necessary qualifications and skills, accounting certifications, and more. 

What Qualifications are Needed to Become an Accounting Manager?

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To become a successful accounting manager, one must have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or a related field. An accounting degree is usually a four-year-long foundational course that prepares aspiring managers for entry-level to mid-level roles. However, larger firms and senior positions require a master’s degree that delves into advanced topics like auditing, cost accounting, and fraud examination, among others. In India, a master’s program takes one to two years to complete. By the time of completion, graduates acquire specialized expertise and can apply for a higher management role as well.

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What Skills are Necessary for Success in an Accounting Management Role?

Most accounting managers begin as accountants, financial analysts, and auditors. However, to qualify for advanced roles, it’s essential to master a good mix of technical and soft skills.

1. Communication

As an accounting manager, it is important to communicate clearly, directly, and precisely. Active listening plays a crucial role, as accounting managers need to be receptive to new ideas and concerns and address them appropriately. 

2. Delegation

As an accounting manager, one must be able to assign tasks to the relevant personnel according to their abilities, availability, and professional objectives.

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3. Collaboration

To be successful in the finance industry as an accounting manager, it is imperative to work dynamically within a team. Collaborative work calls for flexibility in approach, offering suitable alternatives, and sharing responsibilities.

4. Knowledge of Accounting Regulations

The role of an accounting manager is essentially that of a leader. This requires aspiring professionals to be well versed in laws and regulations prevalent in the field.

5. Payroll Administration

Accounting managers should also be adept in tackling the payroll system whereby organizations record staff hours and compensate them accordingly.

6. Financial Reporting and Budgeting

Such professionals are responsible for overseeing departmental budgets, and they must have the skill to allocate, maintain, and report on them accurately and in a timely fashion.

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How Can One Advance From an Entry-Level Position to Becoming an Accounting Manager?

One of the surest paths to professional development as an accounting manager is to gain experience in leadership roles. The finance industry is a fertile ground for exponential growth, and an aspiring professional must do what it takes to have an edge over the competition. Whenever the opportunity arises, it can be pivotal to present oneself as a capable leader by taking initiative and displaying impeccable interpersonal skills. 

Another way to advance to the position of an accounting manager is by upskilling. Make a choice from many courses on accounting, finance, and related subjects to substantiate innate potential with marketable skills. In addition to advancing to senior roles, this reflects an eagerness to learn and adapt to the dynamic financial landscape.

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Are There Any Specific Certifications or Training Programs That Can Help in Becoming an Accounting Manager?

It is always recommended that aspiring accounting managers voluntarily pursue accounting certifications to advance their careers. Certification denotes specialization in a specific field of accountancy and can open doors to a niche but lucrative career in the future. Moreover, as this is a supervisory role, a certification tailored to a specific area of accountancy can offer a considerable advantage.

Some of the most popular certifications include expertise in fraud examination, internal auditing, and tax preparation. However, the more commonly pursued is the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, which is more accessible to the general population.

What are the Typical Responsibilities of an Accounting Manager in a Corporate Setting?

Being a coveted career path, the role of an accounting manager entails a wide array of responsibilities. 

1. Overseeing Operations

Accounting managers are responsible for supervising the day-to-day functioning of the accounts department, including overseeing the team’s progress. They also monitor existing procedures and practices and suggest improvements if necessary.

2. Data and Performance Evaluation

As team leaders, they are also expected to evaluate their team’s performance, identify areas of improvement, and ensure that adequate training is provided for the same. Simultaneously, they are responsible for analyzing data to draft detailed financial reports. 

3. Managing the Staff

An important aspect of the job is  managing the staff. The accounting manager assigns tasks, supervises activities, and evaluates the performance of their team members. Consequently, they are also responsible for training new staff and developing professional development programs to enhance the skills and knowledge of existing employees.

4. Budgeting and Forecasting

An accounting manager plays a crucial role in budgeting and financial forecasting. They collaborate with other department heads to prepare budgets and monitor financial performance against these budgets throughout the fiscal year. Furthermore, this responsibility also includes adjusting strategies based on financial analysis and market trends to optimize financial performance.

5. Strategic Financial Planning

Lastly, the accounting manager contributes to strategic financial planning. They provide critical financial insights that help shape the company’s strategic decisions and long-term financial planning. Hence, they often participate in executive meetings to present financial reports and discuss financial strategies that align with company goals.

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The accounting industry in India is set on a major growth trajectory, especially with the adoption of cutting-edge tech and digital transformation. Therefore, aspiring accounting managers must upskill and sharpen their existing proficiencies to climb the corporate ladder and carve out their niche. To learn all about being an accounting manager and meeting the industry’s ever-changing demands, check out the myriad online finance courses at Emeritus today!

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About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Deyasini is a writer and digital media professional who has also explored editing, research, and creative production over the last 3 years. A lover of films, airports, and long walks, she firmly believes in the potential of seemingly impractical decisions, time spent with animals, and sharing stories with strangers on her travels.
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