Accounting is about quantitative information that is usually financial in nature. It should provide useful information for making decisions concerning the allocation of scarce resources and opportunity costs. Management accounting is primarily directed towards internal use and decision making, and is unregulated. Financial accounting for external review and evaluation and is regulated. Management accounting is used for stewardship, planning, control and decision making.
The major elements of the human resource management process can be summarised into (HRM) three key areas:
- attracting a quality workforce: this involves human resource planning, job analysis, recruitment and selection
- developing a quality workforce: this involves orientation, socialising, training and development and performance management
- maintaining a quality workforce: this involves career planning, work-life balance, employee retention and turnover, remuneration and benefits packages and labour-management relations
Communication performs many different functions within the organisation, ranging from conducting routine transactions through to informing staff about special events (such as relocation or reorganisation). Managers use various channels and modes of communication to gather the information they need for decisions (including information about the external environment), to provide direction for staff, to inform customers and suppliers, to negotiate with partners and to liaise with other departments.
Motivation is a management technique, which is closely associated with leadership . Is motivation primarily an internal (or intrinsic) capability that an individual brings to the job or is it the responsibility of management and the organisation to provide a motivating environment (i.e. external, or extrinsic motivation)?
Managers can learn a great deal about leadership and how leaders can inspire others by examining leadership theories and observing leaders whom they admire. A useful place to start in understanding leadership is to notice how often people distinguish between leaders and managers. There is good reason for this. Generally, leaders are inspirational and charismatic, while managers are effective and productive. Leaders are people-focused, while managers are process- and outcomes-focused. Leaders generally empower, while managers generally control.
In their day-to-day work, managers must ensure that the right things are done in the right way. This involves evaluating situations, making decisions, setting priorities and planning; and then monitoring the outcomes of these decisions and activities. In this topic we look at some of the key skills that are required to complete these activities successfully.
In the 1960s and 1970s strategic planning consisted of complex and bureaucratic processes which culminated in a comprehensive strategic plan. Over time it was realised that this type of strategic plan was of little use, as changes in conditions and unexpected events made the plan obsolete. The main benefit of this type of planning was the process itself, which increased understanding of the organisation and its situation. Modern planning systems tend to be more flexible and informal. The plans produced focus on general principles and trends, rather than detailed actions.
Business ethics has come to the fore recently following a series of corporate collapses caused by dishonest behaviour by senior executives. One such case was the well-publicised failure of US energy giant Enron which resulted from dishonest accounting aimed at boosting the stock price. Public concern over global warming and environmental pollution has forced organisations to confront the issue of sustainable and responsible development.
Most managers are faced by an overload of information, so a key skill they need is the ability to filter information to identify what is relevant to the organisation. They also need to analyse information to understand its significance and to communicate it to those who need to act on it. Effective knowledge management can give the organisation a competitive advantage. A major aspect of the organisation's external and internal environment is culture. Managers have to be sensitive to the culture around them.