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Books: A Managerial Costing Novel

By Susanne Schwager, CMA, CSCA, CIA
October 1, 2020
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At first sight, the novel Profitable Expectations: An Accountant Rising to the Challenge by Douglas T. Hicks appears to be a book-length case study with the main focus on setting up a managerial costing model for a company producing molds.

 

 

The lead character, Marcella, has a background in accounting and is an IMA® member who has been working as a controller for three years. Her accounting, management, and leadership skills are put to the test when the new CEO asks her to take the lead in establishing better costing practices for the company.

 

Marcella gets pulled out of her comfort zone, but she’s eager to meet the CEO’s expectations. During the monthly dinner meetings of her IMA chapter, she tries to find answers, and help is found in the form of a mysterious older gentleman, who appears like the good fairy in a fairy tale when she needs him to guide her by asking the right questions at the right time.

 

The result: Marcella manages to overcome all the obstacles in her path by diving into the matter, identifying all relevant cost components, building a team of people who have detailed knowledge about those components, and pushing the team forward to create the model that puts the company into a position to be more profitable.

 

Profitable Expectations isn’t only about managerial costing. It includes vignettes illustrating everything that IMA stands for, including turning old-fashioned, number-crunching accountants into people who can analyze company data and help to inform business decisions, seeing the bigger picture behind all the numbers, being a lifelong learner, having effective teamwork, developing leadership skills, and mentoring.

 

This book is a good read for a wide range of people, not only for accounting and finance students and young professionals who want to learn about accounting tools and tactics. The book offers hope that, when staff decisions have to be made, the most qualified person will get the job. Let’s hope that this is already the case at your company or becomes a reality in the near future. Either way, this book illustrates how we all can benefit from improving our knowledge and skills.

 

Susanne Schwager, CMA, CSCA, CIA, head of accounting and IT at Materialprüfungsamt (MPA) NRW. You can reach her at s_schwager@gmx.net.
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