To Our Members:
In fiscal 2013, IMA focused on delivering value for our members in a rapidly shifting business landscape. Businesses around the world are being transformed by dynamic forces, including changes in global markets, technology, regulation, and the competition for talent. These developments have profound implications for the management accounting profession, as CFOs and their teams take on new and expanded roles. They must earn a seat at the corporate strategy table, provide the financial management and capital infrastructure to support increasingly global operations, and master new compliance and risk-management challenges.
In this time of massive change, we have redoubled IMA’s efforts to provide members with the resources to meet the challenges of today—and tomorrow. Across the organization, our leadership, volunteers, and staff have worked diligently to provide a member experience of exceptional professionalism, relevance, and engagement. And our members have responded to the value we provide, helping to make IMA an even more vibrant, faster-growing organization.
This annual report details IMA’s efforts throughout the past year to fulfill our mission to educate and certify management accountants and highlights the value and meaning of IMA to our members.
CMA: Expanding a Rigorous, Respected Credential
By expanding access to the CMA certification, IMA helps build respect for the management accounting profession around the world. From the United States to Europe, and from China to the Middle East, increasing numbers of candidates are seeking the CMA designation. The rising demand for the CMA reflects its status as a recognized and valued credential, validated by a rigorous exam, that indicates demonstrated mastery of the knowledge needed to succeed in management accounting.
More than 2,800 certificates were awarded last year—the most in any year since the CMA was created in 1972. Some 18,000 candidates from around the world are now pursuing the CMA, of which 6,000 are in the Asia/Pacific region, which includes China. The CMA is the only accounting certification endorsed and supported by China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) training unit. The CMA is also growing rapidly in the Middle East/Africa region, with more than 6,000 candidates in 13 countries. To expand the CMA in Europe, we partnered with organizations such as the Controller Institut in Austria, the Controller Akademie in Germany, and the Dutch Association of Registered Controllers. In the U.S., our relationship with J. Wiley and Sons to market the CMA Learning System has led to greater awareness of the certification, not to mention a doubling of review course providers over the past few years.
Helping CFOs Master Growing Responsibilities with New Innovations
As CFOs tackle their expanded responsibilities, IMA works to offer them more resources. Together with our partners at ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), we have built a “Financial Leadership and Performance” platform to better support the needs of CFOs and aspiring professionals. In 2013 we jointly launched a new website, roleofcfo.com, to serve as a portal for accessing professional development and management tools, research, case studies, and videos on a range of topics related to the role of the CFO. We also created “CFO Insights,” a recurring print and video blog featured on Forbes.com. Through this platform, management accounting and business professionals can hear directly from IMA members who have personally met the challenges facing CFOs and their teams.
In 2013 we jointly launched a new website, roleofcfo.com, to serve as a portal to access professional development and management tools, research, case studies, and videos on a range of topics related to the role of the CFO.
We added several new components to the IMA Leadership Academy in the past year to help organizations develop the leadership capabilities of their financial teams. Offerings from the Leadership Academy now include nearly two dozen webinars as well as mentoring programs, in-person sessions at local chapters, and a leadership recognition program.
Encouraging Ethical Principles and Practices
IMA has always maintained that the ethical principles of honesty, fairness, objectivity, and responsibility are at the heart of the profession. New ethics initiatives during the past year included an Ethics Center Web page to help members access both IMA and external ethics resources more easily. We continued to offer our popular Ethics Series of CPE courses, the confidential Ethics Helpline, and articles in Strategic Finance covering ethics issues. Our Committee on Ethics issued a public comment to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) relating to proposed changes to its code of ethics for professional accountants.
Promoting Leading-Edge Research
We continued IMA’s intensive research and thought leadership efforts. Based on the results of an IMA survey of priority issues in accounting and finance, our research team developed two reports with Net Suite under the theme Rising to the Challenge.
The IMA Research Foundation, with ACCA, has encouraged important scholarship with its offer of $100,000 to fund research proposals on accounting and financial management topics.
Joint studies with ACCA, such as Future Pathways to Finance Leadership and 100 Drivers of Change in the Accountancy Profession, provided valuable insights into the challenges facing today’s finance teams. The quarterly ACCA/IMA Global Economic Conditions Survey remains the largest and most relevant survey of its kind in the world. The IMA Research Foundation, with ACCA, has encouraged important scholarship with its offer of $100,000 to fund research proposals on accounting and financial management topics.
Giving a Voice to the Profession
Through advocacy on key legislative and regulatory issues, we continue to serve as a voice for our members and the profession in a changing environment. IMA’s advocacy efforts during the past year included a leadership role on COSO (the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission) in refreshing the 1992 Internal
Control—Integrated Framework, private company financial reporting, and regulations impacting small businesses—to name just a few key areas. Our volunteer technical committees, FRC (Financial Reporting Committee), SBFRC (Small Business Financial and Regulatory Affairs Committee), and Technology Solutions and Practices, continue to advocate admirably on your behalf.
Engaging Tomorrow’s Professionals
IMA is front and center in the effort to bridge the talent gap in the management accounting and finance fields. In 2013, we began endorsing selected higher-education programs that achieve a consistent standard of excellence. To be eligible, an institution must meet the educational standards that enable students to pursue the CMA. The undergraduate accounting programs at Pennsylvania State University and Washington State University Vancouver were the first two such programs to be recognized by IMA.
Some of our strongest growth has been in the area of student chapters and membership, as we strive to support tomorrow’s leaders of the profession. The number of student chapters more than doubled in 2013, to nearly 100, continuing 50 consecutive months of growth in student membership.
Vibrancy and Growth
Our commitment to delivering a strong value proposition for members has made IMA a vibrant, growing organization. Membership reached 68,200, the highest level in 14 years. What is important is that it isn’t growth for growth’s sake, but rather growth for our members’ sake. Growth along with financial health and discipline (this will mark the fifth consecutive year we have earned a surplus, pre-investment gains and losses) mean that we can do great things for our members.
Earning Your Trust—Every Day
Every day, we work hard to demonstrate that we are a values-based organization and that we must earn your trust and engagement to remain relevant. Thank you for being an IMA member and for being part of a global profession that continues to enrich careers, organizations, and society.
Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CAE
President and Chief Executive Officer