IMA Roundtables are among the association’s latest business development efforts, providing a forum for select accounting and finance professionals to share best practices among peers. The first roundtable, on the topic of finance transformation, took place in early December, and it successfully engaged senior business leaders to talk about one of the hottest subjects in business today.

The event, held virtually via WebEx, attracted a dozen participants, all high-level executives from organizations in both the U.S. and Canada. Attendees included representatives from Arcadis, NCR Corp., Qurate (parent company of QVC, HSN, Zulily, and more), Solar Turbines (a Caterpillar company), Amazon, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and others.

Four of the attendees, all who have earned their CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), served as discussion leaders and spoke about their company’s finance transformation activities. 

The program also featured remarks by Loreal Jiles, IMA's director of research-digital technology and finance transformation. Observed Jiles, “The accelerated pace of change and technology advancements are increasing the accessibility of data and forcing businesses to operate in a more competitive landscape. As a result, business leaders are demanding more of the finance function. They seek agile, data-backed insights and elevated, strategic decision support.”  

Jiles explained that there are several digital tools that can be leveraged to transform the finance function—for example, data science, RPA (robotic process automation), AI, and more. Participants shared their experiences with finance transformation initiatives at their companies, while also engaging in a peer discussion about best practices and lessons learned.  

The IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) business development team has scheduled another roundtable on this topic for January 28. Featured attendees will include finance transformation executives from Cargill and Shell Oil, with leaders from Coca-Cola, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and United Rentals already planning to attend.

Lisa Beaudoin, CMA, CSCA, CAE, IMA director of business development, summarized, “These roundtables are small, focused gatherings of leading executives, all of whom are senior-level leaders and/or have direct responsibility for finance transformation within their organizations. The WebEx format allows candid exchanges between attendees, who are invited to share their best practices about how their finance function is implementing significant changes in response to the current business environment.”

Beaudoin also noted that IMA offers numerous resources, such as webinars, e-learning courses, and the CMA certification, to assist finance and accounting professionals with their finance transformation initiatives. Additional information about these resources can be found on IMA’s Technology and Analytics Center