To address the longstanding talent gap in management accounting and finance, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) published its first-ever textbook, “Management Accounting: An Integrative Approach.” Authored by C.J. McNair-Connolly, Ph.D., and Kenneth A. Merchant, Ph.D., the book aligns with IMA’s mission of better preparing the accounting student of today to become the strategic business partner of tomorrow. For more information, visit:

According to IMA’s research, 90% of organizations have a difficult time finding the right management accounting talent. While experienced professionals struggle to keep up with new skills, entry-level workers are even more ill-equipped to bridge the finance function with business strategy, partly because of narrowly focused college curricula. IMA developed “An Integrative Approach” to minimize the gap between academia and on-the-job readiness, and to help students prepare for all aspects of an accounting career.

“The textbook, with three accompanying databases, offers students the opportunity to work with realistic data and real-world scenarios,” said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, CFA, IMA vice president of research and policy and professor-in-residence. “With this focus, students improve critical-thinking skills and enter the workforce with confidence.”

“An Integrative Approach” also shifts management accounting education away from a random combination of tools and techniques to a decision-oriented framework of all major management accounting concepts. Its conversational tone around the behavioral and strategic side of management accounting – an often-overlooked area in other finance and accounting textbooks – encourages students to go beyond the analysis of quantitative data.

“Much like the CMA certification, IMA’s textbook helps students understand how finance managers use key information, and reflects the planning and decision-making processes accountants face on the job daily,” said Lawson.

In addition to the three Excel databases weaved throughout the text, this book also:

  • Emphasizes the behavioral and strategic side of management, not just the quantitative;
  • Presents management accounting from an integrated approach, which includes all of the tools and techniques managers use for planning, decision making, and control;
  • Reflects the decision-making process that is illustrative of on-the-job training;
  • Features three industry settings (an airline, a kitchen cabinet manufacturer, and an automobile dealership) to help students understand management accounting in action. These are used throughout the text to provide realistic examples of how to apply the content material; and
  • Includes end-of-the-chapter questions, exercises, and problems that have a real-world feel highlighting behavioral issues and management accounting analysis.
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