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Financial and Managerial Accounting: What Are The Differences?

Tayang 27 Aug 2021
Last updated 05 January 2024

Financial accounting and managerial accounting are the two most common types of accounting disciplines. While they may have some similarities in terms of strategy and application, financial and managerial accounting are not the same.

Financial accounting is the process of obtaining accounting data in order to generate financial statements, whereas managerial accounting is the process of accounting for business operations internally.

What is Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting?

Financial accounting is a field of accounting that involves in recording, summarizing, and reporting a variety of transactions from corporate operations throughout time.

These transactions are summed up in financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, which are used to document the company’s operating performance over a specific timeframe.

Managerial accounting is the process of identifying, measuring, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating financial data to managers to assist them in achieving their goals.

Because the goal of managerial accounting is to help internal users make well-informed business decisions, it differs from financial accounting.

The Main Objective of Financial and Managerial Accounting

The major purpose of managerial accounting is to create useful data for a company’s internal use.

Business managers gather data for strategic planning, assists them in setting realistic goals, and fosters resource efficiency.

Financial accounting has some internal applications, but it is primarily used to inform those outside of a company.

Final accounts or financial statements are produced by financial accounting to reflect a company’s business success and financial health.

Financial accounting is created for a company’s investors, creditors, and industry authorities, whereas managerial accounting is created for the company’s management.

The Differences Between Financial and Managerial Accounting

Here are some key differences between financial and managerial accounting:

1. Past vs Present

In managerial and financial accounting, financial activity is handled very differently. Managerial accounting is used to develop strategic plans, assign budgets to managers, and forecast future income and expenses.

Financial accounting examines previously attained firm results, which are recorded in financial statements.

2. Reporting Focus

In managerial and financial accounting, reporting is handled very differently. Reports are conducted significantly more frequently in managerial accounting, and they tend to focus on day-to-day operations.

Financial accounting is concerned with performance over a very short period of time. Another significant distinction is that managerial reports are used only within the organization, whereas financial reports are sent to external parties such as regulators, investors, and financial institutions.

3. Facts vs Plans

If you’ve ever attended a budget meeting, you know how arbitrary the figures in a budget may be.

While financial statements are commonly used as a starting point for budgeting, budget estimations are usually developed based on the needs and expectations of the budgeting manager.

Financial statements must contain accurate information resulting from numerous financial transactions entered during the course of the accounting period.

4. Regulations and Format

The most significant practical distinction between these two is their legal standing. The reports generated by managerial accounting are exclusively shared within the company.

Each organization is permitted to develop its own management reporting system and guidelines. This means there is no centralized system for regulating reports, and finding what you need can take a long time.

Financial accounting reports, on the other hand, are heavily controlled, particularly the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.


The primary distinction between managerial and financial accounting is the information’s intended users.

Financial accounting is to provide financial information to people outside the organization, whereas managerial accounting information is targeted at assisting managers within the firm in making well-informed business decisions.

Some key takeaways:

Financial Accounting Managerial Accounting
Offers financial information based on accounting rules utilized solely for internal purposes
analyzes historical data looks forward to the future
generates financial statements at the conclusion of the accounting period generates a range of operational reports during the month
solely employs actual numbers uses projected quantities.

In order to manage your company’s financial performance, you can use an online accounting softwareMekari Jurnal.

There are many features that can help you in accounting and financial aspect such as bookkeeping software, generating financial reports, managing company’s cash flow, inventory, and many more.

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