Jeff Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, president and CEO of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), recently completed a nine-day trip to India. He spoke with academics, CFOs, and management accounting professionals in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi about the impact of big data, robots, cognitive computing, and other emerging technologies affecting accountants in business.
In a call to action to those he met with, Thomson said, “There is only one future our profession should aspire to achieve in the face of automation, disruptive technology, and job loss: sustainable relevance and influence enabled by future-proof accountants skilled at turning data into decisions, information into insights, and forecasts into futures valued by stakeholders.”
The visit was part of IMA’s strategic commitment to the region. Currently, IMA has more than 3,000 active members in India, with local chapters in Chennai, Delhi, and Bangalore, which Thomson met with during his visit.
|Thomson accepts a token of appreciation from board members of the IMA Chennai Chapter.
Highlights of Thomson’s trip included speaking engagements at university conferences, where he discussed how academic institutions can align their accounting curricula with the rapid pace of technological advancements and teach skills students need to prepare for the changing workforce.
Specifically, Thomson spoke at public conferences in Pune, at the Maharashtra College of Commerce, and in Bangalore, at an event co-organized by Christ University and the IMA Bangalore Chapter. Other speaking engagements included events in:
- Hyderabad, organized by Miles Education
- Chennai, held jointly with and organized by the IMA Chennai Chapter
- Delhi, held jointly with and organized by the IMA Delhi Chapter
|Thomson spoke to a large group of management accountants at a conference co-organized by Christ University and the IMA Bangalore Chapter.
At these events, Thomson, in a talk titled “The Future of the Accountant in Business,” discussed how automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing are reshaping the profession.
Calling on accountants to evolve from CFOs to DFOs – Digital Financial Officers – Thomson warned, “We need to ‘snatch opportunity from the jaws of risk’ and to stay relevant we must learn new competencies now.” Thomson explained that accountants must advance their capabilities in “data” – governance, lifecycle, design, query, advanced analytics, visualization, and storytelling – while the profession must develop digitally advanced competency frameworks.
In India, Thomson also met with numerous corporations – including Honeywell, Ford Motor Company, Cognizant, World Bank, Red Hat, and Northern Trust – as well as organizations with which IMA has partnership relationships. In Chennai, Thomson delivered the Brahmayya Memorial Lecture, a joint initiative of the Society of Auditors and the Southern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Commenting on that experience, Thomson said, “IMA works with like-minded organizations around the world to deliver value to our members on a global scale. It was an honor to be this year’s lecturer for this esteemed annual event.”
Stay tuned for future issues of Inside IMA as IMA continues to develop and expand its presence in India.