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Brian Sherry
Stern Strategy Group

IMA Releases Reports on Design Thinking
and Creative Problem Solving

Reports provide accounting and finance professionals with frameworks to improve strategic problem-solving skills

Montvale, N.J., May 8, 2023
— Today, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released two Statements on Management Accounting (SMAs): “The Finance Function's Path to Innovation: A Design Thinking Perspective” and “Creative Problem Solving: A Path to Efficient Innovation” in recognition of the growing need for management accountants to rapidly develop and integrate innovative solutions for business problems.

The reports reveal that through novel problem-solving methodologies like design thinking and creative problem solving, management accountants contribute to greater innovation and value delivery. “These reports provide a human-centered approach that allows us to better understand and address complex challenges while fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity,” said Loreal Jiles, CMA, vice president of research and thought leadership at IMA. “The ability to balance divergent and convergent thinking, defer judgment, and build on each other's ideas is essential in creating innovative solutions that transform the future of business.”

The Design Thinking SMA teaches the five-step methodology for finance and accounting teams to develop new strategies, systems, processes, and products. Management accountants can leverage design thinking to define challenges, ideate solutions, and evaluate prototypes to quickly generate, converge, and test new innovations.

The Creative Problem Solving (CPS) SMA offers a four-step process that leads to unique solutions within a matter of hours, achieved through optimizing creative thinking and building upon business partnerships. The methodology provides an effective framework for companies to identify a challenge, brainstorm solutions, and plan for implementation. Addressing accounting and finance-related challenges through CPS empowers accountants to generate ideas in an inclusive and efficient way, strengthen their strategic decision-making skills, and add competitive value to their organizations.

Released in conjunction with International Management Accounting Day, both reports underscore the vital role management accountants play within their organizations and beyond while also highlighting the importance of continuous learning. The reports offer new approaches for all finance and accounting professionals to optimize organizational performance and competitive advantages in rapidly evolving landscapes.

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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