In the midst of a global pandemic, it appears that many professionals are turning toward certifications – like the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) – to either advance or pivot their careers. 

That was the message from Dennis Whitney, CMA, CAE, ICMA senior vice president, who recently wrote an article in a prominent business education publication about this development and what it means for those preparing for the CMA exam.

In the August 29 issue of BizEd, titled “Certified to Work,” Whitney explored the different ways accounting and finance professionals have gained new skills – and what’s changing. He writes, “Historically, upskilling has often been accomplished through formal business school education. But academic institutions have not been shielded from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey from the American Council on Education, the majority of university presidents predict that their schools will see drops in summer and fall enrollments, and they worry about the long-term financial viability of their institutions.”

Whitney discussed the value of certifications, like the CMA, which offer an excellent alternative and complement to B-school education. He explained that according to a recent IMA survey, “Many professionals value certifications for helping them quickly develop skills in strategy, ethical decision making, and financial planning and analysis. They also note that certifications help them achieve greater skill versatility, resourcefulness, adaptability, and technological competence. These traits are increasingly valued by employers, especially those that have had to cut costs by laying off staff.”

Whitney also made the connection between career advancement and certification, observing, “Studies show that for 40% of organizations, certification credentials are important factors in promotion decisions. This tracks with the finding that more than half of finance and accounting professionals believe professional certifications offer employees opportunities to cultivate transferable skills that will give them an edge in the job market.”

Whitney shared related thoughts in a Count Me In® podcast, titled “CMA Update!” in July. In addition to sharing news about the status and updates on the program, Whitney described the effects of the pandemic and the role of CMAs in rebuilding. 

“CMAs, in particular, can help companies not only survive, but also rebuild and grow, and that, of course, helps our economies, which are hurting during this pandemic-induced recession,” he noted. “Companies need to be able to do their best to survive, to keep as many jobs as they can to meet customer demand and keep their companies in business.”
He continued, “The CMA exam is focused – on skills like planning analysis and decision support – and CMAs can use these skills to help senior decision makers identify growth opportunities, which will help companies prosper, not only now, but well into the future. Because when the pandemic ends, many companies are going to realize that they need to innovate their business models and revise their long-term business strategy. And CMAs can be the trusted business advisors to help guide the way forward.”