The Middle East, Brazil and the Philippines are three locations
where the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is
working towards establishing a more prominent presence.

The institute plans to open an office in Dubai by the end of
this month and, according to employer and strategic development
director Rick Sturge, will be “ramping it up over the remainder of
the year”. “We are recruiting a couple of people to be based in
Dubai so that we can move to a more regional development focus
there and leverage our capabilities across the whole area.

“The Middle East has real potential for us at the moment so
we’re making sure we put people in there to drive that,” Sturge
told The Accountant.

Specific regions the institute is targeting within the Middle
East include the Gulf Co-operation Council states – Bahrain,
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Sturge said demand for the CIMA qualification in the Gulf
Cooperation Council states is significant and growing. “Eighty
percent of the Fortune 500 have some sort of base in the United
Arab Emirates, and about two thirds of those companies are CIMA
users. We are starting to see an increased amount [of demand] from
those companies as well as some of the Middle Eastern companies,”
he said. “We have had some low level tuition support there in the
past, but we’re now bringing on new tuition partners, new providers
and with the delivery of the e-learning capability as well, it
gives enhanced opportunities for people over there to study.”

However, the institute’s strategic growth within the Middle East
is not limited to the Persian Gulf. “[It is] also up into places
like Pakistan where we’ve always had a strong student base but
we’ve never really provided much support. We do see potential to
increase the student uptake from those sorts of countries,” Sturge
said.

CIMA considers Brazil and the Philippines to be other
significant potential markets. “We’ve just signed up a [corporate
alliance] partner to work with in Brazil,” Sturge said. “We’ve got
a lot of our multinational clients there who are looking to develop
international capabilities and so we’re starting to implement a
service delivery model to support the clients.”

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Sturge said the Philippines is a fast-growing off shore market
with a lot of finance shared services work. “There’s a lot of
[business process outsourcing – BPO] work going there and the
government recognises that they’ve got to increase the talent pool
of available people, so again companies are looking to develop
broader capabilities,” he said.

Sturge said he is witnessing progressively more companies using
BPO or shared service centres further up the value chain in terms
of the services they are providing.

“This is why we are seeing an increased demand for CIMA among
those organisations,” he said.

“India is talking about needing another 500,000 finance-trained
people within the next five years. The Philippines is talking
similar sort of numbers, China is talking similar sort of numbers,
it’s just a huge requirement from those three countries to develop
the right people.”