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IMA officially opens UK Chapter

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has officially opened its UK Chapter with an inauguration conference which took place on 3 February.

There are currently 300 IMA professional and student chapters. Europe has nine IMA Chapters, the UK is now the 10th to develop the finance profession in the UK with a global perspective.

Fatema El-Wakeel, president of the IMA UK Chapter said: “Being an IMA member myself and having founded the Cairo Chapter before, I know how important it is for IMA members to have the support of a local chapter. The UK Chapter is set to empower its members and add value to the strategic finance and management accounting profession through providing a global perspective.”

As part of the all-day inaugural conference Alex Eng, chair of IMA board of directors, gave a presentation on corporate governance.

“Corporate governance is important in many ways; for accountability in decisions and shareholder relations, objectivity with shareholder reporting, transparency and compliance with controls and procedures,” he said. “It is also important for valuation with predictability, strategizing structure, performance management and for the ability to step into an investment portfolio. The three key things are strategy, oversight and policy.”

An effective board for SME’s should focus on long term value vs. short term results and set goals mirroring best practices, while ensuring adequate independence, he continued. “There should be a focus on boundaries between management shareholders and their roles and responsibilities.”

Eng outlined the top priorities in 2017 for boards to consider as follow:

  • The culture of corporate compliance – as standards and legislation (already part of a long term strategy) need active management. This also includes anti-corruption, data protections and privacy legislation. Questions the board must ask are what is the tone with compliance and how do we handle compliance failures?
  • Geopolitical considerations – as there is an inevitable connectedness, a rapid and relevant impact as key assumptions are challenged, for example, the role of China and Russia and the Brexit situation, and Constitutional reform. Questions the board must ask are what risk management strategies are put into place and how will the company culture be transformed to ensure sustainable growth in geopolitical uncertainty.
  • Talent retention and management – providing inward looking board talent, with succession planning for management and board, equal opportunity considerations, and the development of internal talent and recruitment. Questions the board must ask are if there are succession plans in place that are regularly updated? Does the board encourage constructive challenge and is there a robust process for board selection?
  • Investor relations – there should be increased investor participation and an establishment of clear communication between investors and the board to create a trusting environment.
  • Technology considerations – as there are currently fast digital trends and we are in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and whether there is a balance between traditional business and digital business. There are risks regarding data privacy and cyber-attacks so the hiring of adequate personnel is important. Questions the board must ask are what does your analysis reveal about the digitisation and evolution of your business and how do you acquire IT competency.

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