The management accounting profession is facing challenges today that are more complex than ever. IMA is here to help our members succeed in this environment while also working to advance the interests of the profession. We do so by offering the globally respected CMA credential, launching innovative services and programs, and partnering with organizations that bring a wider range of resources to our members.
Strong Growth for the CMA
More than 2,800 certificates awarded: a record year
The tremendous outpouring of interest in the CMA underscores its status as the most relevant, and one of the fastest growing, certifications in management accounting. Around the world, fiscal 2013 was a record-breaking year for the credential. More than 2,800 certificates were awarded—the highest number in any year throughout the CMA’s 41-year history. Nearly 40,000 certificates have been awarded since the first exam in 1972. Each candidate had to earn the certification by passing rigorous and relevant exams. (The only exception was the founder of the CMA program, Dr. James Bulloch!) The CMA program has enjoyed a five-year growth rate of 20% a year (annualized) for new CMAs.
The value of the CMA is recognized worldwide. The certification is held by professionals in nearly 100 countries. At the close of fiscal 2013, more than two-thirds of CMA candidates hailed from the Asia/Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions. The CMA continues to be the preeminent certification in the field—in a growing roster of countries—because it is a rigorously tested and validated measure of management accounting skills and qualifications. We are aware that some global certifications have achieved growth by not requiring an exam; IMA’s CMA program will continue to grow, but with the needs of employers and society always coming first.
Bridging the Accounting Talent Gap
A major challenge facing the profession today is the unmet demand for skilled management accounting professionals. Since this issue begins with undergraduate accounting education, a joint task force of IMA and the American Accounting Association (AAA) Management Accounting Section made recommendations for a better-balanced accounting education curriculum. The curriculum involves integrating the various competencies that employers demand on the job. It is intended to help bridge the gap between the skills currently taught in accounting education and those needed in the real world—including more strategic financial management and decision-making capabilities.
IMA also launched an initiative to encourage higher-education institutions to devote more teaching resources to the CMA exam and offer relevant management accounting programs. Specifically, IMA will endorse academic programs that meet the educational standards that enable students to pursue and earn the CMA credential. To qualify, institutions must cover the CMA exam content, dedicate appropriate faculty resources, be properly accredited, and designate a faculty member as an IMA Campus Advocate (another new IMA program to promote the profession on campuses around the world). The undergraduate accounting programs at Pennsylvania State University and Washington State University Vancouver were the first to earn IMA endorsement through this prestigious program. Brigham Young University and Michigan State University have since joined the growing roster of endorsed schools.
Lessons in Leadership
During the past year, we continued to expand our offerings from the IMA Leadership Academy, which since 2010 has offered programs that build and enhance members’ leadership skills. The centerpiece of the Leadership Academy is a monthly webinar series covering such topics as leadership skills, coaching, team building, and problem solving. We’ve delivered dozens of leadership-oriented webinars that qualify for NASBA-approved CPE credits.
Since 2010 IMA has offered programs that build and enhance members’ leadership skills.
The Leadership Academy webinars are just part of a broad array of IMA educational programs. We provide more than 300 NASBA-approved CPE courses on topics ranging from general finance and accounting standards to strategic management and critical industry issues. There are a variety of flexible self-study formats (video, multimedia, or text-based) to meet members’ professional learning needs.
We now offer nearly two dozen leadership webinars, which qualify for NASBA-approved CPE credits.
IMA’s Leadership Academy was built through the efforts of several senior IMA volunteers. We are proud of our volunteers and of the fact that, despite the significant investment in resources to better prepare future CFOs and senior finance leaders, all Leadership Academy programs are a free benefit to members.
Advancing Professional Ethics
IMA continued to expand the vital resources we provide in the area of business ethics. We launched the IMA Ethics Center page on our website as a convenient location for members to access the confidential Ethics Helpline, links to other ethics resources, and the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice. We also offer a range of CPE courses in the IMA Ethics Series on such topics as promoting an ethical work environment, preventing fraud and abuse, and following codes of ethical conduct.