It took several years, from considering the idea to actual implementation, but for Western Illinois University (WIU), the goal has been achieved: Its accountancy programs, both bachelor’s and master’s degree, this spring earned endorsement from IMA’s Higher Education Endorsement Program. 

WIU joins an elite but growing group of accounting programs in the U.S. and globally – approximately 45 in the Americas and 75 worldwide – to receive this stamp of excellence. The IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) endorsement signifies that the university’s accounting program provides the rigorous curriculum needed for students to prepare for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam and successful careers in management accounting. 

Driving the endorsement process was Amy Ford, CMA, CPA, senior accounting instructor, faculty advisor to the IMA student chapter on campus, and a designated Campus Advocate. In the press release that WIU issued announcing the endorsement, Ford said, "One of our program's objectives is to provide students the knowledge and expertise to be able to sit for and pass certification exams to help them on the journey to successful careers in accounting, so this endorsement really validates our program and the preparation our students receive.”

Added Gregg Woodruff, WIU accounting department chair, "This endorsement recognizes Western Illinois University's accounting program and the commitment to academic excellence at WIU, as well as our students' personal growth.” 

WIU offers both an undergraduate and master's degree in accounting, as well as an integrated five-year program in which students can earn both degrees in only five years. The accounting degree is also available fully online. 

For Ford, the new IMA endorsement has given her a more comprehensive understanding of the scope and breadth of courses that the university offers. That helps her to be a better advisor and mentor to her students.

“Because students can take the exam parts in any order, I’m able to better advise them on what courses to take and in which order to best prepare them for the exam.” She also explains to students how earning the CMA can help to distinguish them from their peers, help with the job search, and with recruiters. “I explain to them that taking the exam shows you have the skills and knowledge that are the most sought after by accounting and finance managers.”

Ford noted that the IMA endorsement is part of the school’s marketing initiatives and one of ways that it is promoting the strength of its accounting program. The endorsement is noted on the school’s website, under “Why choose accountancy at WIU?” 

Ford is a longstanding and avid supporter of both IMA and the CMA program. In fact, she is speaking at the IMA Student Leadership Conference this November, in a concurrent session titled “CMA 101,” where she will explain in more detail how to become a CMA, test-taking tips, and sample exam questions.
For more information on WIU's accounting degrees, visit Visit the IMA website to learn more about the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program