CIMA launches finance research

Independent research to determine
best practice in the development of finance professionals will be
conducted at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
(CIMA) Centre of Excellence at the University of Bath School of
Management in the UK.

The centre, which is being launched officially on 20 November,
aims to identify the knowledge and skill requirements of finance
professionals, chart how those needs develop throughout their
careers, and develop best practice models to meet the training and
development requirements.

The centre will have two hubs, one at the CIMA offices in London
and one at the university in Bath. Despite the UK location, the
centre intends to have international reach. An agreement has been
signed with the University of Kolkata in India, and the CIMA staff
dedicated to the project are spread across the UK, Australia and

CIMA director of education Robert Jelly said the centre is very
much about the future of the financial function. “Traditionally
accounting and auditing look too much at the past. We need people
to look towards the future,” he said, adding that the aim of the
centre is to produce practical material to meet the needs of

The centre plans to work on several streams of research at any one
time and results from the studies will be disseminated regularly,
via annual reports and specialised reports relating to geographic
areas and business sectors.

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CIMA has invested a seven-figure sum in financing the centre for an
initial five-year period. Both the institute and the university
hope funding will be extended.

Philip Cooper, a senior lecturer in accounting at the School of
Management, will be the director of the centre. He said there have
been substantial changes to the role of the accountant in business
in recent years, moving from “back-room bean counter to business

Cooper said there is currently limited knowledge as to what
life-long learning requirements finance professionals have. He
hopes the centre will be able to identify the skills an individual
needs in order to work towards a specific career path.

Cooper said there will be a multi-disciplinary research approach,
involving not only the accounting department but the whole of the
School of Management. He said the centre will be peer reviewed to
add to its credibility.

“This is not just about CIMA, but general issues,” he said. “What
we are looking for is independence and that’s what we’ll

Much of the preliminary work will involve establishing the
methodology for the research. Cooper said a lot of the issues, for
example measuring competency and contribution, haven’t been tackled

The dean of the University of Bath School of Management, Andrew
Pettigrew, views the centre as a great opportunity in scholarly
terms. “It will be a unique primary data set,” he said. “This is
gold-plated research.”

CIMA visited about ten institutions during preliminary
investigations to find a suitable base for the centre. The
institute’s president, Gordon Grant, said one of the attractions of
Bath was the number of corporate links the school has, “which will
provide a further channel for disseminating the research