Indicative of the association’s continuing commitment to global expansion, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) is making new inroads into a region that offers promising opportunities: Southeast Asia.

The region, which includes Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and The Philippines, enjoys an economy on an upwards trajectory. Estimates predict that by 2030, this region’s economy will eclipse that of Japan and be the fourth-largest single market after the European Union, U.S., and China.

As part of its interest in the region, IMA in late 2016 opened an office in Singapore, led by Josh Heniro, Ph.D., IMA Southeast Asia director of operations. Prior to joining IMA, Heniro served with ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and, before that, at the Management Development Institute of Singapore and at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

Observed Heniro, “What we’re seeing in this region is increasing urbanization, a growing middle class, and a trend towards more manufacturing moving to Asia. In such an environment, there is a strong desire for international credentials to help with job seeking, both within and outside the region. In addition, countries in the region want to be seen as the leading global accountancy hub for Asia Pacific, and they need skilled professionals to accomplish this goal.”

To capitalize on these opportunities, Jeff Thomson, CMA, CAE, president and CEO of IMA, and Jim Piechowski, CAE, IMA director of international operations, this spring spent 10 days in Singapore and Vietnam in order to cultivate new relationships and extend awareness of IMA and management accounting.

The trip began in Singapore, with a springboard provided by the COSO Academy Asia, a joint program founded by IMA, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Singapore, and Protiviti Singapore to advocate for the COSO Frameworks as the basis for effective internal control and risk management practices across Asia. Thomson teamed-up with Professor Foo See Liang, Ph.D., Singapore Management University, to host a two-and-a-half-day training session with the COSO Academy Asia partners to deliver the COSO Internal Control Certificate Program. This program provides education and training on COSO best practices and leads to certification for management accounting and finance professionals who complete the course and pass an exam.

The Singapore leg of the trip also included a corporate visit with executives from Johnson & Johnson, Oracle, and Omnicom, among others, to explain the advantages of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. In addition, IMA signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with new training partner PSB Academy, the first private educational institution in Singapore to work alongside IMA to provide CMA preparatory courses.

Finally, IMA met with members of two of the most highly esteemed educational institutions in Singapore and that are newly part of the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program: Nanyang Business School (the business school of Nanyang Technological University) and Singapore Management University. These institutions rank among the several dozen leading institutions around the world that offer a curriculum closely aligned with the CMA body of knowledge.

Next stop on the trip was Vietnam, where IMA leaders met and signed an MoU with the Vietnam Association of Accountants and Auditors (VAA) to work together jointly in the future. During the visit, IMA also conducted a seminar and CPE training session with both VAA and VACPA (Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants), as well as signed MoUs with two top universities in the region: University of Economics and Law (UEL) and National Economics University (NEU). Finally, IMA met with Madam Ha Thu Thanh, Chairwoman of Deloitte Vietnam, vice president of VACPA, and one of the 50 most influential Vietnamese women in 2017, as reported by Forbes Vietnam.

“There is great potential to develop new and expand existing relationships with governments, universities, employers, and course providers in this region,” said Piechowski. “We’re seeing increased demand for Certified Management Accountants and, given the strength of our CMA program in China and throughout Asia-Pacific, we anticipate that this region will become one of increasing importance and opportunity for us.” He noted that plans are already underway to increase the staff of IMA’s Singapore office, to help address this growth.

A photo album with pictures from the business trip is available on IMA’s Facebook page. For more information on IMA and the CMA certification, please visit For further information about IMA’s activities in Southeast Asia, please contact