On International Management Accounting Day, Accounting Must Look to the Future

Marc Gerrone
(201) 474-1502

Taylor Fenske
Stern Strategy Group
(908) 325-3866

Montvale, N.J., May 4, 2018 – Management accountants and the profession must step up to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as technology advances, according to a paper by IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). The paper, released in tandem with International Management Accounting Day, finds that the skill set of management accountants needs to change to adjust to the new role technology and analytics play in the profession.

A recent IMA survey found that 42 percent of accountants are worried that technology will eliminate their jobs, with the most concern coming from those overseeing general accounting functions such as billing and budgeting. Indeed, Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy and author of the paper, believes that traditional accounting roles that exist today may not exist in a few years. However, new, more strategic roles will be created for finance professionals.

According to the paper, some management accounting skills will become less important, others more important and some new skills—especially in the areas of information technology and analytics—will need to be acquired if the profession is to remain relevant.

“We chose to release the paper on International Management Accounting Day because it is both a time to celebrate the finance professionals in business, and to reflect on how the profession is changing,” said Jeff Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, president and CEO of IMA. “Through this paper, we hope to shine a light on this transformational time for the profession and the opportunities that exist for all management accountants.”

To exploit the digital transformation and successfully transition into the role of value creator, management accountants will need to enhance their data analytics skills, develop their strategic management skills, and focus on innovation.

“Earning relevant certifications like the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) can help management accountants gain the new skills needed in the profession,” said Lawson. He also recommends developing an appropriate mindset, enhanced communication and relationship-management skills and the ability to think critically.  

To ensure management accountants stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and practices, IMA is revising its Management Accounting Competency Framework, reflecting the evolving knowledge, skills and abilities needed in the profession. IMA also offers a variety of online educational programs that focus on topics including blockchain, automation, enterprise performance management and data governance.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA®, named 2017 Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 100,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.

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