BergmanThe following are insights on the value of CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification from Laurie Bergman, CMA, CPA, CFO of Liquid Environmental Solutions, based in Irving, Texas.

How did you learn about the CMA and what made you decide to pursue it?

I first learned about the CMA program from my boss at the time. He was an advocate of the program and thought it would benefit me. At the time, I had just completed the CPA exams, but was certain I didn’t want a career in public accounting. Once I was introduced to the content of the CMA exam, it resonated with me and my future career aspirations. The focus on management accounting concepts, strategy, and financial analysis were intriguing to me, and I felt that this was a great opportunity to differentiate myself.

How has being a CMA helped you advance in your career? 

Over the years, I’ve had some very exciting and interesting opportunities that the CMA helped me achieve. Because of the concepts I learned through the CMA program, I’ve been able to transition from traditional accounting roles into financial planning and analysis, project management, controlling, and ultimately, to a CFO. I feel that the CMA has given me the broad knowledge needed to be successful in each of these positions and enabled me to quickly assimilate myself into new roles with a conceptual foundation. I’m able to be a true business partner, while also leading diverse finance and accounting teams.

What’s your proudest career milestone as a CMA?

My proudest moment is achieving my current role as CFO of Liquid Environmental Solutions. This was always my ultimate career goal, and I’m very confident that the skills and knowledge I learned through the CMA have allowed me to progress within my career into unique and very broad roles. All these experiences have led me to my current position as a senior leader within my organization. 

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls? 

Becoming a CMA will open a wealth of opportunity for anyone who is interested in a career in finance and accounting. Earning the CMA certification distinguishes you as a professional who transcends the traditional accounting knowledge base and allows you to contribute to your organization in a meaningful way. The diversity of concepts and topics will allow any finance professional to articulate financial performance more meaningfully, a critical skill in today’s finance teams. Once earned, the CMA will open different and exciting doors. I encourage any CMA hopeful to take risks and be bold and creative in their future career aspirations.

We’re celebrating 50 years of the CMA. What do you predict will be some of the biggest trends of the next 50 years for the accounting profession? 

Finance transformation is occurring in all organizations—big, small, public, and private. Accounting professionals will be called upon to drive deeper operational insights and actively participate in the growth strategy. As technology continues to evolve, our jobs will become more and more automated, allowing us all to do greater analysis, creative thinking, and problem solving. It’s very exciting to think about the great value that accountants will be adding and the opportunities we’ll have to participate in the important and challenging business decisions facing our companies.

Please visit the IMA website to learn more about CMA certification.