Careful planning and excellent advance preparation helped make the process of becoming an IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) endorsed school a relatively painless one for the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

UNO earned endorsement under IMA's Higher Education Endorsement Program in the fall of 2017, but the process began many years earlier. Roopa Venkatesh, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting and long-time IMA Campus Advocate, spearheaded it.

“Before we actually applied for endorsement, we spent several years in preparation,” Venkatesh explained. “We reviewed the guidelines carefully and had endorsement in mind. When the time came to actually complete all the paperwork, we were ready and it went very smoothly.”

Having a champion on campus definitely helped facilitate the process, noted Susan Eldridge, Ph.D., head of UNO’s accounting department. She credits Venkatesh, who teaches the university’s managerial accounting courses, for getting the department to rally around the cause and providing a single point of contact.

For her part, Eldridge assisted with another very important element of the endorsement process: coordinating with other departments. “The process doesn’t just require the work of those involved in managerial accounting courses. It’s important that you enlist the assistance of other departments and take a holistic view of the process,” she said. Eldridge was able to see the “big picture” and offer insights into how best to communicate what endorsement would mean for the accounting department and the university.

For both Venkatesh and Eldridge, the benefits of being endorsed extend to both the students and the school. “Being endorsed helps us affirm our message to students that there are other options out there for them in addition to the CPA,” noted Venkatesh. She likes to tell her students that they have many choices and “boundless opportunities.”

As further evidence to students of the high quality of IMA-endorsed programs, already two students from UNO have taken and passed the CMA exam, a considerable achievement for undergraduates.

Since earning IMA endorsement, UNO has begun publicizing this achievement among students and in its communications. UNO promotes its endorsement in printed materials for the accounting department and in its digital identity. The department’s website describes what the endorsement means: “UNO’s accounting programs meet the educational standards enabling students to pursue the CMA credential.” The site also mentions that “UNO is the first university in Nebraska and one of less than 60 universities worldwide to receive this prestigious endorsement.”

For other universities considering endorsement, Venkatesh offers some suggestions, notably that they speak with educators at schools that have earned the endorsement, to get a better sense of what is required.

IMA endorsement is open to all colleges and universities accredited through various accrediting bodies, including AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE, and others.

For more information on UNO’s accounting program, please visit this link.