IMA’s first-ever virtual Annual Conference & Expo (ACE2021), held on June 14-16, proved an unprecedented success, attracting approximately 1,200 registrants from 36 countries. Although the COVID-19 pandemic dictated that ACE2021 move to a virtual format, the result was greater engagement and more members able to attend from around the world.

ACE2021 featured 54 sessions with members able to earn up to 11 NASBA CPE credits, as well as up to 54 ICMA CPE credits. All sessions were offered live as well as on-demand (for 30 days after June 16). In addition, 21 bonus pre-recorded sessions were also made available to attendees. The live and on-demand format provided greater flexibility for those who may not have been able to attend sessions in real-time. 

Featured speakers included:

  • Amy Webb, quantitative futurist, who presented the macro trends poised to disrupt finance, including those in education, demographics, infrastructure, and geopolitics. She painted a vivid portrait of how tomorrow’s leaders can upgrade their capabilities to survive and thrive in an age of accelerating technology.
  • Bill Sheridan, chief communications officer, Maryland Association of CPAs, who spoke about how COVID-19 accelerated technology adoption, speeding up adoption of AI, e-commerce, and robotic process automation (RPA), among other technologies.
  • Janet Stovall, senior client strategist of the NeuroLeadership Institute, discussed human capital in finance, specifically the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in today’s finance workforce.
  • Tyler Shultz, entrepreneur and Theranos whistleblower, who described the ethical challenges he faced working for this start-up. 

Other highlights included sessions by Michael High, CMA, FPAC, business unit CFO-Deep Water Gulf of Mexico, Royal Dutch Shell; Russell Porter, CMA, CFM, VP of finance and planning, IBM; and Todd Sherrill, chair of financial and accounting services, Mayo Clinic. Speakers also covered emerging trends like data analytics and sustainability and the value of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.



Attendees also were able to make connections and have fun at virtual networking gatherings, interactive games, a virtual exhibit hall, and, to conclude the event, a Zoom performance featuring musicians from Austin, Texas, the site of next year’s Conference.

“With the pandemic affecting all parts of the globe, ACE2021 offered our members a wonderful opportunity to upskill in critical management accounting competencies, network with peers and thought leaders, and meet a variety of relevant exhibitors—all from the comfort of their home or office. We received many positive compliments on the virtual platform experience afforded to our attendees,” said Deborah Warner, CAE, CPTD, vice president, Education and Career Services, IMA. 

“We especially wish to thank our sponsors for their support of this virtual event, as well as the speakers, presenters, and exhibitors who helped deliver such an engaging, inspiring Conference.”

IMA’s next Annual Conference & Expo, ACE2022, will be held in person at The JW Marriott in Austin on June 12-15, 2022. Watch your email (and this newsletter) for a call for sessions and registration details when they become available.