IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released two reports last month that outline the advantages pursuing a professional certification provides for both employers and employees amid rampant technological change. They offer welcome news for those preparing to earn their CMA® (Certified Management Accountant).

The reports, “Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Digital Age – The Value of Training and Certification” and “Increasing Your Value in the Digital Age – The Impact of Professional Certification,” explore how the digital transformation can be leveraged by organizations and finance and accounting professionals.

According to the findings, the greater an organization values certification, the more likely that organization is to have a highly effective finance and accounting function. Further, from an employee perspective, professional certification can determine promotion decisions.

“For organizations, training and certification will allow them to strengthen their finance functions amid technical change, and for employees, it will allow them to jump the skills gap and increase their prospects for career advancement,” said co-author Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, CFA, CAE, professor-in-residence and vice president of research and policy at IMA. “Ultimately, the report underscores the importance of professional training and certification for both organizations and employees.”

Additionally, the surveys reveal:

  • Professional certification is viewed as the most effective avenue for preparing employees for the shifting business environment, followed by individual courses to develop specific skills.
  • More than 75% of survey respondents said that their employer’s support of certification would affect their decision to remain with their company.
  • Professional certification is an important factor in promotion decisions for 40% of organizations.
  • Just 13% of survey respondents believed their organizations’ finance departments to be sufficiently prepared for technological change.

This research follows the release of IMA’s enhanced Management Accounting Competency Framework, an educational resource that identifies six domains of core knowledge, skills, and abilities that finance and accounting professionals will need to remain relevant in the digital age, and revisions to the CMA, which will adjust for the increased impact of technology on the profession.

For more information on IMA’s other research reports, please visit Research & Publications on IMA's website.