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Our History  

For nearly 100 years, IMA has been a champion of—and resource for—management accounting and financial professionals.

Our story is one of steady transformation yet unwavering commitment: As we’ve progressed through each decade, we’ve never lost our mission-led purpose to uphold the profession.

The organization was founded in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1919 as the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA) to promote knowledge and professionalism among cost accountants and foster a wider understanding of their role in management. 

In 1957, our name was changed to the National Association of Accountants (NAA), beginning an era in which we would later develop our hallmark credential, the CMA®. 

In 1991, the organization's name was again changed to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), signifying our broader role as the association for accountants and financial professionals working inside organizations.

Today we are known by the shorthand—IMA—and continue the legacy of professional excellence begun nearly a century ago.



Our Timeline

1919

Founding of the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA) in Buffalo, N.Y., an early incarnation of IMA

1920

First chapter of NACA formed in Chicago
First NACA Annual Conference held in Atlantic City, N.J.

1925

NACA Bulletin introduced

1935

Library established at NACA national office

1943

First international chapter chartered

1945

Research committee established

1949

NACA Bulletin becomes monthly publication

1957

NACA becomes National Association of Accountants (NAA)

1959

Student Publication Services inaugurated

1969

Management Accounting Practices Committee established

1972

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program created
The first Statement on Management Accounting (SMA), Concepts for Contract Costing, issued

1983

Standards of Ethical Conduct of Management Accountants, the first code of ethics for management accountants in the U.S., issued

1989

Financial Executive of the Year Award (FEYA) program established

1991

National Association of Accountants becomes Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

1992

IMA becomes a founding member of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), a private-sector organization dedicated to improving the quality of financial reporting

1994

IMA celebrates its 75th anniversary and publishes Proud of the Past–75 Years of Achievement
IMA Foundation for Applied Research (FAR) is formed for the advancement of management accounting

1996

IMA establishes the Certified Financial Manager (CFM®) program

1997

CMA and CFM tests are computerized

1999

IMA relaunches and renames its flagship magazine, Strategic Finance, which also becomes available online
Management Accounting Quarterly debuts Fall 1999

2000

First IMA Student Conference held in Colorado Springs, Colo.

2006

First IMA Global Conference held in Dubai, UAE

2009

LinkUp IMA, our exclusive online professional community, launched

2011

Simple Chinese version of CMA exam introduced

2012

CMA program celebrates 40 years of success

2013

Simple Chinese version of CMA exam introduced

2014

New IMA regional offices open in Shanghai and Cairo

2015

IMA launches new book line with first book on innovation

2016

ICMA awards 50,000th CMA certificate