Hipólito Colón, CMA, CPA, director of support services at Thermo Fisher Scientific, believes in encouraging his staff to pursue advanced certifications. “I want my team to understand the entire business, not just the finance and accounting elements.”

That’s why late last year, Colón invited IMA to conduct an information session about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) with his team, which comprises about 50 staff members. They got to hear a presentation from Lisa Beaudoin, CMA, CSCA, CAE, and other members of IMA’s business development team about the value of certification and how earning the CMA could benefit their careers and the organization.

Colón is himself a CMA. He earned the certification in 2007, several years after he had first heard about its benefits from a manager at Johnson & Johnson, Francisco Rosa. Rosa was the director of finance at Jansen, a division of J&J that shared the building with J&J’s medical operation, where Colón worked, and he encouraged his team members to sit for the exam. “He explained that the CPA is an outstanding, powerful license but the CMA gives you the kind of business savvy that’s required in a finance role,” explained Colón. “I wanted to be a director eventually, so Rosa’s approach with his team and his perspective on the CMA inspired me.”

Explaining the benefit of the CMA to his own career, Colón said, “It gave me training above just debits and credits. It opened my eyes to operations and provided opportunities to me beyond finance, to broader roles within the organization.”

That certainly has proven true for Colón, who has not only worked in traditional accounting, finance, and compliance roles during his career, but also senior roles in supply chain management, logistics, procurement, information systems, and other operations-related posts. Currently, Colón directs an umbrella organization that includes supply chain, operational excellence, finance, and information systems that for the past two years has been part of a site transformation to grow the company’s business in Puerto Rico.

For his staff, Colón sees the CMA as a “managerial bridge, allowing you to engage in many different business functions. You develop an aptitude to talk about many different aspects of the business, which is something I want to see in my staff: that they understand the bigger picture.”

Two members of Colón’s team have already enrolled in the CMA program and plan to take the exam soon. 

Colón sees giving his staff this opportunity to explore the CMA as one way to “pay it forward” – in the same way that the manager at J&J provided him encouragement all those years ago. He’s also been part of CMA information webinars, where he has spoken to local CPA firms and even professors at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, his alma mater, about how the CMA can open up career opportunities. 

He concluded, “The CMA provides a great way to connect what you’re doing on a daily basis to what’s happening in the business. You’re able to see the connections and from a manager’s perspective, that’s exactly the kind of perspective I want to see from my staff.” 

To learn more about bringing the CMA to your organization, please visit https://www.imanet.org/employers.