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IMA's Task Force Develops Entry-Level Competencies for All Accountants to Be Relevant and Influential in a Digital Age


Montvale, N.J., December 20, 2021 — IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) today released a report detailing the management accounting competencies that all entry-level accounting and corporate finance professionals should possess to be relevant and influential in a Digital Age. Additionally, the report calls on colleges and universities to require two distinct management accounting courses – introductory and intermediate – for all accounting students.

The report notes that, as new technologies automate many tasks historically performed by accountants and the disruptive nature of the global business environment persists, the traditional accounting curriculum is no longer fit for purpose with its primary emphasis on audit, tax, and reporting standards. IMA’s Management Accounting Competency Task Force has identified the essential management accounting competencies needed by all professional accountants. These competencies are accompanied by suggested learning objectives, outcomes, and course topics. 

“Skill sets that were sufficient in the past are no longer adequate for meeting the need of today’s professional accountant,” said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA Research Foundation Committee Chair and Chair of the Task Force. “Schools need to reassess what is being taught in their programs regarding management accounting given the significant changes currently occurring in practice.” 

“It is imperative that entry level accountants in all parts of the profession have the management accounting competencies to meet the needs of business and society in an environment that is increasingly complex and uncertain,” said Roopa Venkatesh, Ph.D., CMA, Chair of IMA’s Committee on Academic Relations. “In this Digital Age, competencies in decision support, data modelling, financial planning and analysis, performance management, including non-financial measures, and more, is necessary to drive the business forward.”

The IMA task force argues that management accounting courses must be included in the accounting curriculum and recommends that they be taught by management accounting specialists who are subject matter experts.

In developing its recommendations, the IMA task force first sought comments from external panels of academics and practitioners, then exposed a draft report for public comment. Feedback received was incorporated into the IMA task force’s final report, which can be read in its entirety here.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA® 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) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. Twice named Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, IMA has a global network of about 140,000 members in 150 countries and 350 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