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CHAPTER 1 THE ACCOUNTANT’S ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION I. LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. Describe how cost accounting supports management accounting and financial accounting 2. Understand how management accountants affect strategic decisions 3. Describe the set of business functions in the value chain 4. Identify the dimensions of performance that customers are expecting of companies 5. Distinguish between the planning and control decisions of managers 6. Distinguish among the problem-solving, scorekeeping, and attention-directing roles of management accountants 7. Describe three guidelines management accountants follow in supporting managers 8. Understand how management accounting fits into an organization’s structure 9. Understand what professional ethics means to management accountants II. CHAPTER SYNOPSIS Chapter 1 is an important introductory chapter. The underlying premise of this text, Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis , (12 th ed.), is the importance of cost accounting data in making managerial decisions. Distinction is made between financial accounting and managerial accounting. Financial accounting information is reported to external users, following prescribed standards and formats, and used by investors, lenders, suppliers, and other external stakeholders to evaluate and compare companies. In contrast, managerial accountants provide financial and nonfinancial information to internal users using whatever format or costing approach will allow managers to make the best possible business decisions in today’s competitive environment. Cost accounting provides information for both financial accounting and management accounting; in this text the terms “cost accounting” and “management accounting” are used interchangeably. Successful management accounting systems capture and report information that helps managers make decisions to fulfill organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner. Management accounting also provides information critical to the planning and control decisions of managers. Guidelines used by management accountants to assist managers in the planning and control process include the cost-benefit approach, giving full recognition to both behavioral and technical considerations, and using different costs for different purposes. 1-1
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Three common roles of the management accountant are problem solving, scorekeeping, and attention directing. Different decisions place different emphases on the three roles, and it can be difficult to distinguish the roles because management accountants are often engaged in overlapping activities. In addition to their traditional costing and reporting roles, management accountants are also playing an increasingly important role in helping to develop and implement strategy. Recent corporate scandals have resulted in a renewed emphasis on ethical behavior.
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