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IMA Expresses Concern Over CPA Evolution Curriculum


Montvale, N.J., June 9, 2021 — In light of proposed changes from AICPA and NASBA to the curricula for accounting majors that pursue a CPA track (the CPA Evolution model), IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) has provided feedback regarding the proposal in a new IMA Briefing.

Authored by Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, IMA vice president of research and policy and professor-in-residence; and Roopa Venkatesh, Ph.D., CMA, chair of IMA’s Committee of Academic Relations, the Briefing expresses IMA’s concerns regarding the negative impact dropping managerial/cost accounting from the required curriculum for CPAs proposed in the CPA Evolution model will have on the ability of the accounting profession to protect the public and serve the public interest.

“The challenges that CPAs will have to answer important cost-based questions will only increase as technology transforms business models and the CPA profession,” wrote Lawson and Venkatesh in the Briefing. “The ability of the CPA to serve as a trusted business advisor must include an effective grasp of cost systems, behavior, and causality, which can only be most directly gained in management accounting courses.”

The Briefing further expresses concerns of the potential removal of management accounting courses by institutions if they are no longer required at a time when budgets are tight and anything “optional” is leaning toward elimination.

“In this time of uncertainty and lower enrollments, many academic accounting departments are facing faculty retirements, hiring freezes, and budget cuts. The lack of managerial accounting topics required for the CPA exam can dangerously serve as a reason to further eliminate the managerial accounting offerings in introductory managerial, intermediate cost, and advanced managerial/cost courses,” the authors continued.

The Briefing also states that students who do not learn about management accounting will not be set up for long-term success. The authors note that most students that enter public accounting eventually leave their firms to work in management accounting and corporate finance so the skills learned in management accounting courses will be beneficial to the students’ careers.

IMA has asked AICPA and NASBA to publicly commit to the importance of management accounting curricula and competencies and is open to joining them in this effort.

The full IMA Briefing is available at

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