IMA hexagonal geometric tree

IMA Roots Matter

IMA put down its first roots in management accounting in 1919 – and we’ve grown stronger every year since. We’re steeped in tradition, yet laser-focused on the future. We’re grounded, yet always evolving. Through certification, partnerships, education, and innovation, our commitment to enhancing the careers of members and the capabilities of organizations is unwavering.

We couldn’t do what we do without trust – yours in IMA and ours in you.

The opportunities and challenges of this past year, fiscal 2016, proved why. These are our roots. This annual report shares why they matter – to all of us.

Our Mission

To provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance.

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What Matters to All of Us?


They ground us – and help us grow.

Core values are vital, especially in today’s business environment. Ours – what we call Global Core Values – are integral to IMA’s belief system; they help define us and our belief that business done right is good business. They also set expectations for how we behave, with whom we associate and engage, what endeavors we invest in and prioritize, and why we make the decisions we do.

Our values are a source of pride, instilling confidence, trust, and respect for employees and members. They’re fundamental, enduring, and actionable. We believe that an everyday commitment to core values, with rewards and consequences, leads to greater value for our members and more ethically sound organizations to serve the public interest.

Letter from the CEO

Jeff Thomson, President and CEO of IMA

Trust – or too often, the lack of it – is one of the central issues of our time. Without it, institutions don’t work, societies falter, and people lose faith in themselves, in each other, and in their leaders. But with trust, we succeed. We thrive. We grow.

Trust is born from values, and both are bedrocks of IMA. They uphold our reputation. They allow us to perform in good times, and in disruptive, challenging times. They give us the fuel to innovate, and to deliver meaningful outcomes and opportunities to you, our members, and to the profession of management accounting.

Deeply rooted values shaped IMA’s success in fiscal 2016. Our passion for serving members, highest standards of integrity, innovation and continuous improvement, and teaming to achieve – these are our guiding principles. They’re not just platitudes or words on the walls. They are measures of success, embedded in not just what we produce, but how we produce it. And data and experiences from within and outside IMA tell us that if you hold yourself to high brand, high reputation, you will deliver great results to employees, members, and the profession. We’re doing just that.

Deeply rooted values shaped IMA’s success in fiscal 2016.

Growth with confidence and integrity.

Most organizations strive to grow. Only great ones grow with confidence and integrity. IMA intends to grow the right way – in a way that should make every one of us proud. In fiscal 2016, our membership levels reached milestones, again. We are more than 80,000 global members and 16,000 student members strong. There is strength in those numbers. More members mean more sharing of best practices, more mentors, more advocacy, and more community building. More value – for you.

The CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, the world’s leading management accounting credential, is growing, too. In fiscal 2016, we minted the 50,000th CMA . That’s 50,000 management accountants who have embraced the credential’s rigor, relevance, integrity, and trust. IMA doesn’t grandfather anyone into our exams. Everyone who passed the test worked hard for it. They truly earned it. For employers, the CMA signifies confidence in an employee’s knowledge and skill set. For individuals, it symbolizes professional proficiency and opportunity. It’s a competitive differentiator for everyone.

As noted, the CMA program continues to grow in value, candidates, reputation, and trust. Every CMA has passed exams with the same objective standard around the world. When you hire a CMA, whether in Boston or in Beijing, in New Delhi or New York, you have the confidence and trust that the individual has passed multiple exams covering the management accounting body of knowledge including ethics.

Driving innovation.

Innovation is the fuel that keeps IMA thriving, and striving, on your behalf to create value, relevance, and differentiation in all our products and services. We follow the credo from Cynthia Barton Rabe, “Don’t let what you know limit what you can imagine.” We will continue to stretch our imagination into the future, your future, as we develop our technology, products, and service plan. In addition to winning industry awards, we have produced many innovations such as CareerDriver®, our new website with personalization, a new publishing product line launched with a book on innovation, and much more.

IMA is healthy from a financial and cultural perspective, and we continue to grow in members, CMAs, reputation, and influence around the world. We have a rich history and a bright future as we rapidly approach our 100th year anniversary. We appreciate your trust in us. That matters more than anything, and we promise we will not let you down.

Thank you,

Jeffrey Thomson signature

Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CAE
President and CEO

Our Organizational Structure Supports Innovation

IMA organizational structure graphic

IMA has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to advancing the body of knowledge in association management, as evidenced by their extraordinarily high penetration of CAEs.”

John Graham IV, Certified Association Executive
President and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)


We’re here for you.

IMA proactively works across organizational boundaries to always “remember the member” – evident in all the programs, products, and services designed to boost learning, expertise, and experiences. Our focus on innovation in finance and accounting, particularly through education and training, delivers the enriching outcomes and opportunities our members need. Meanwhile, our continued growth – in revenue, membership, CMAs, global reach – gives members strength, providing them unrivaled access to mentors, best practices, and advocacy worldwide. Our growth helps you grow. There is indeed strength in numbers and power derived from the community of like-minded members.

Record growth in membership – during a year when most associations (51%) didn’t, according to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report


80,000+ global members

16,000+ student members – for the first time ever


global world countries outline transparent

4 global regions


global world countries outline transparent

Opened our newest office in Singapore


Annual Conference & Expo


Our biggest annual event and longest running tradition – brings members together

WALS conference photo

IMA Always Remembers the Member

WALS (Women's Accounting Leadership Series)

Created in collaboration with former FASB chair Leslie Seidman, in partnership with Pace University, WALS provides relevant professional leadership development and invigorating support for the advancement of women in accounting and finance functions around the world.

IMA’s U/X (User Experience) team and Inspired Technology Lab

Our team continues to collaboratively master technology that enables innovation and improves the experience IMA members have with our technology platforms and content.

  • Developed email marketing platform (launched June 2016); allows greater user personalization
  • Redesigned IMA Global website (fall 2016)
  • Build chapter websites and portal (2017)


Strengthening IMA’s mission, CareerDriver – a new career planning tool – is helping members assess their skills against 40 job titles and 28 individual competencies and fill self-identified professional development gaps.

IMA holds so many value-adds, from publications and scholarships to thought leadership. For the growing accountant, there's so much insightful information."

Ashley Gibson, CMA, CPA
Advisory Manager, Deloitte


The CMA makes a major mark – in the profession and on your career.

As widely recognized as it is deeply rooted, the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification is the leading management accounting credential. It’s the only one prominent in the world’s two largest economies – U.S. and China. And its growth continues to break records.

Why? Because it’s the solution to confronting the skills gap in the finance and accounting profession; CMAs have the know-how to bridge the numbers and business strategy. It’s also hard-earned; only 50% of those who take the rigorous exam pass it. The CMA is a differentiator, in the profession and for your career.

The CMA program is governed by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) Board of Regents. The certification is always earned through an education requirement, work experience, and passing a two-part exam. And, it’s worth the effort. In addition to career enrichment and flexibility, according to our Global Salary Survey, those with a CMA earn on average 61% more than non-CMAs worldwide.

21% growth in new CMA candidates


70,000 new candidates over past five years


9% growth in new CMAs


50,000th CMA minted to date


2,500+ students globally have received CMA scholarships


The CMA Scholarship Program recognizes top students by providing scholarships to cover all costs of the CMA exam

CMA certification brochures on table at conference

The CMA made me eligible for a controller position and it provided business partnership opportunities."

Brian Neale, CMA, CPA
Finance Manager, General Mills

Ad Campaign

CMA is the focus of a first-for-IMA U.S. national ad campaign (launched in 2016), which challenged people who want the status that comes with the CMA to earn it while igniting pride for those who already have it.

  • Includes ads on late night TV, national and local radio, print business media, and digital marketing
  • Made possible through the strength of IMA’s balance sheet and overall financials
  • Significant investment in IMA’s future, the CMA program, and members’ careers

The CMA really drives confidence. You know when you step into a room for an interview, you feel like you belong there -- you've earned this seat."

Kevin Nembhard, CMA
Senior Manager, Finance Technology, Walmart


Trusted networks make us stronger.

The right relationships are everything, in life and in business. IMA’s partnerships and alliances with diverse, values-based organizations like ours support, reinforce, and help grow our efforts to propel and preserve the future of management accounting.

Our collaborations – amongst members and staff, and across chapters and councils, as well as with corporate supporters, industry associations, and other professional advocates – widen our reach and strengthen our mission. Whether on campus or in the workplace, in the U.S. or abroad, our partners help amplify our voice and make sure it resonates soundly with those who matter most to our profession.

Wiley, Global CMA Learning Materials partnership

IMA’s Advisory Committees walk in the shoes of our members and proactively advocate to all of the major U.S. national and global regulatory bodies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to represent their interests on relevant topics such as quality financial reporting standards, small business issues, and more. These Committees include:

IMA Technical Advisory Committees

Small Business Financial and Regulatory Affairs Committee – addresses issues that impact small and medium-sized organizations. This committee is influential with the IRS, SBA (Small Business Administration), FASB, IASB, and SEC, among others.

Financial Reporting Committee – raises relevant issues, such as disclosures effectiveness, revenue recognition, leases and fair value, and suggests solutions on behalf of members and the profession (primarily focused on larger organizations). This committee is influential with the FASB, IASB, and SEC, among others.

Technology Solutions and Practices Committee – elevates individual and organizational effectiveness and efficiency through existing and emerging technology solutions and practices.

Committee on Ethics – encourages organizations and individuals to adopt, promote, and execute business practices consistent with high ethical standards.

IMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Established to create a community within IMA’s membership around diversity and inclusion topics, assist in identifying ways to strengthen volunteer engagement among underrepresented groups, and develop resources to increase the cultural competency of association professionals and staff.

IMA is underpinned by partnerships and alliances with trusted, reputable organizations and experts who share our passion for shaping and securing the future of management accounting.

IMA joined forces with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board™ (SASB) to advance and strengthen value creation, and corporate reporting disclosure of material sustainability issues.

IMA continued its long-time alliance with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), co-sponsoring the quarterly “Global Economic Conditions Survey," the largest economic survey of its kind.

IMA collaborates with hundreds of approved review course providers around the world including:

Wiley – Global CMA Learning Materials partnership

Miles Professional Education – enabled expansion into India, a significant growth market for IMA

Morgan International in the Middle East

IMA is actively involved with several association partners, including the:

Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), as a board member and advisor for its Enterprise Risk Management Framework refresh initiative. Strong internal controls and enterprise risk management frameworks enable more ethically sound and financially capable organizations to benefit the public interest.

International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC); our membership (24th largest out of 176 global and national bodies) gives us a major voice in expanding and enriching the accounting profession to serve the public interest.

International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), as a full voting member – one of only three U.S.-based associations to achieve the honor – and key voice in the continued transformation of corporate reporting.

IMA values its alliances with strong corporate supporters of our organization and the CMA program: Ping An Insurance, China South Industries Group, China North Industries Group, Caterpillar, Johnson & Johnson, Cummins, IBM, and Saudi Aramco, to name a few


We’re always moving – outward, upward, and forward.

Without innovation there is no progress; it’s the most important thing IMA – and any business – can do to keep pace and get ahead. We’re continuously experimenting, creating, enhancing, and perfecting; work that requires the best of both creativity and discipline. Innovation is key to our continued growth, but it’s also core to who we are, as individuals and as an organization.

Every company says it’s innovative, but we can prove it. IMA was honored as a 2016 Organization of the Year by the American Business Awards; our growth, innovation, and commitment to members were decisive factors of our win. Whether it’s mastering technology to create better user experiences, or producing a first-class publication to deliver important insights and trends (Strategic Finance won awards too!); whether it’s investing in research or publishing a book on advancing innovation in management accounting – it’s all done to further our members’ careers and our profession.

Making progress through growth


Innovating products include: New book line, CareerDriver, ethics courses


IMA Research Foundation (IRF) awarded its $1 millionth dollar


Among our many awards is the Emerging Scholar Program. Apply today.


Written by IMA Board of Directors member Patrick Stroh, CMA, Advancing Innovation was the first book in IMA’s new book publishing line


Our books cover cutting-edge research in industry best practices, business case studies, financial trends, and guidance on advancing your career as well as your company


Honors & Awards

Organization of the Year

IMA was honored as a 2016 Organization of the Year (in the non-profit category) by the American Business Awards, the nation’s premier business awards program; the bronze Stevie Award recognized IMA’s growth, innovation, and commitment to members.

Strategic Finance

Nine awards recognized IMA’s flagship publication Strategic Finance (SF) for its design, writing, and overall impact, including:

  • 3 Hermes Creative Awards (Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals) – 2 Platinum and 1 Gold in the magazine, writing and design categories
  • EXCEL Award (Association of Media and Publishing) for magazine redesign
IMASLC16 conference award photo

IMA’s growth is impressive. No doubt about it, when many professional organization’s memberships are declining, you have discovered the ‘secret sauce.’”

The Stevie Award

Letter from the Chairs

IMA chair and chair-elect

Opportunity surrounds us – but we have to seize it. IMA continues to help every one of us do just that.

CMA growth keeps trending upward (70,000 candidates over the last five years). And not just for those who are 10, 15, or 20 years into their careers. More students than ever before are going after the certification – right after graduation or even in their senior year of college. They recognize the value and know employers do too.

But we know there’s more work to do to further the CMA mission. IMA is committed to spreading awareness about the certification’s importance to professional and business growth. Our new national marketing campaign – an edgy commercial broadcasted in unexpected channels like late-night TV – is just one testament to our investment in its future.

The need for more CMAs – and more management accountants, generally – is proven, and it’s amplifying. Companies worldwide are waking up to the realization that they must compete on efficiencies and productivity. That’s the sweet spot of a management accountant. We have the skills to confidently drive and lead organizational change, and understand how finance interacts with and impacts business strategy, not just its bottom-line.

Students and young professionals need to know how much they’re needed in private industry. This is where the opportunities are. It’s up to us to spread the word. And we are. Our student membership surpassed 16,000 for the first time ever with 157 university student chapters worldwide. As long-time IMA members who have experienced both sides of the finance profession (public accounting and management accounting), we know first-hand the powerful potential of our work – and how well positioned IMA is to help guide and support along the way.

IMA is here to partner with you. To serve you. To help you – at every point along your career journey.

The future of our profession lies within education and technology. You can’t learn enough fast enough to keep pace with the changing world around us. We know this. We also know the ability to bridge technology with finance is critical. People with these skills are in high demand, as are the organizations that cultivate them. IMA is helping both our members and your employers get the training, knowledge, resources, and talent you need. Our world-class webinars, research, online content, and other educational tools are bolstering the skills – soft and technical, decision support, and analytical – students, and emerging and established leaders require. And our student-focused alliances and programs, such as the Campus Advocate Program and the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program, are connecting students to the professional world and teaching them to thrive in the workplace.

Seek and capture these opportunities. Every one of you has it in you to advance your career as a management accountant. And IMA is here to partner with you. To serve you. To help you – at every point along your career journey, from student to CFO. Today and tomorrow.

Benjamin Mulling signature

Benjamin R. Mulling, CMA, CPA.CITP
2016 Chair

Marc Palker signature

Marc P. Palker, CMA, RTRP
2016 Chair-Elect

The Future

Students are our future. They need all of us to inspire them, guide them – and root for them.

We are champions for all of our members – students as well as young and more experienced professionals. But we’re not just sitting on the sidelines. As the influence of and demand for management accounting continues to rise – with many careers and career paths relating to both value stewardship and value creation – it’s up to us to keep the talent pipeline robust and ready. Through our alliances with institutions and educators around the world, we’re helping design curriculum and advocacy programs that will prepare students for the workplace. And our university chapters and events expose students to the skills vital for success.

But technology plays an integral role in the future of our profession, too. Technology enablement is one of IMA’s “core four” strategic goals, and our technology plan reflects future trends in work flows, education, and learning.

Campus Advocate Program provides a key link between IMA and colleges/universities, helping leading academics prepare students for successful careers.

Campus Influencers Program extends the outreach to students by “regular members” describing the value of management accounting as a career choice.

University Student Support

  • More than 2,500 students globally have received CMA scholarships

  • More than $30K in academic scholarships awarded annually

  • 157 university student chapters worldwide

  • Student Leadership Conference, an annual event in the U.S. since 1999

More than 1,000 students honored in the first year of the IMA Accounting Honor Society (IAHS). IAHS recognizes the academic achievements of top accounting students from more than 150 universities and offers an opportunity to differentiate themselves as they begin their careers.

IMA’s Higher Education Endorsement Program recognizes more than two dozen business curricula that have met the quality educational standards required to enable students to prepare for the CMA.

Provided more than 156,000 hours of continuing professional education

Developed and delivered 41 Inside Talk and IMA Leadership Academy NASBA-approved webinars. These webinars, addressing relevant management accounting and technology topics, are free of charge for members.

New courses on topics including ethics and leadership, and new certificate programs in Internal Controls and Financial Planning & Analysis advance members’ learning in critical areas.

IMA Leadership Academy attracts, nurtures and develops our future leaders and influencers, helping enhance leadership education and skills to aid in career advancement.

The IMA Leadership Experience provides in-person opportunities for students and young professionals to connect with industry leaders, network with IMA board members and staff, and be exposed to governance and leadership skills vital for long-term success.

diversity and student awards

IMA showed me that right out of school, I could start in industry. I didn’t have to go into the Big Four, put in time, and get out later. If I wanted to do something else, the CMA showed that I have other interests and capabilities.”

Thomas Biggs
Student, Brigham Young University

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