Management accounting on the other hand tends to focus internally. Reports generated through management accounting processes will be used by the organisation's management to assist in planning and control.
Rather than focusing on the past (as is the case with financial accounting), management accounting attempts to take information from the past and projects it into the future. The primary management accounting report is the budget, and reports analysing actual results against budgeted targets.Management accounting uses historical data to assist in establishing financial objectives, and allows managers to make rational management decisions to achieve those objectives.
Management accounting reports usually provide great detail and cover much shorter periods of time (sometimes weekly). This allows managers to act quickly and decisively if required.
The major differences between financial and management accounting can be summarised as follows:
Information for external users
Long time periods (FY)
Reports on the past
Required by law
Subject to accounting standards
Focuses on objective data
Used primarily by internal users
Usually focused on specific purpose
Short periods (monthly, weekly)
Past and future
Not required by law
Not compelled to meet standards
Can utilise subjective data