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June 20, 2016

IMA conference kicks off at tipping point for global management accounting profession

Las Vegas, USA. The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) held on Sunday 19 June its annual meeting of members, at a time of profound change in the management accounting profession globally.

At the annual members meeting, which followed a meeting of the global board of directors, IMA chair Ben Mulling told the audience that the professional body has currently 15,000 students preparing the CMA designation.

"They are the next generation of business leaders," he said.

Those meetings are part of IMA’s annual conference which will run until 22 June in Las Vegas, under the theme of "fast-forward", meaning that the emphasis of the conference sessions will aim at enhancing management accountant’s skill to be forward looking and forecast business strategies.

Jeff Thomson, IMA president and CEO, said his association has reached the milestone of 80,000 members globally, a figure that confirms a double digit growth pattern within the last years.

Thomson also said that IMA opened an international office in Singapore (it has now seven in total) to serve the Asia-Pacific markets.

Thomson also said that competition in management accounting is fierce, although IMA’s approach to tackle it, is one that intends to serve its members and society as a whole.

Thomson’s remarks were a clear reference to the news that emerged on Saturday 18 June that the American Institute of Certified Accountants (AICPA) and the Certified Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) will join forces to create a global association that will count 600,000 members.

In a statement AICPA and CIMA said their members voted massively in favour of the creation of the association, 86.5% and 89.7% of them, respectively.

When both professional bodies set up a joint venture in 2011, they created a new designation called the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) which is already held by more than 150,000 professionals.

In an opinion piece for Accounting Today published on 10 June, Thomson took issue with the fact that a significant proportion of those 150,000 professionals "were grandfathered in as CGMAs without having certified their competency with an examination."

He continued: "From the day the AICPA and CIMA announced their grandfathering practice, the IMA expressed grave concerns that this only serves to exacerbate the talent gap challenge with a diluted pool of CGMA "holders" who never actually certified their competency in management accounting by passing an exam."

At the annual meeting of members Thomson said IMA will not lose members to the newly created association. To raise awareness about the importance of sitting exams in order to qualify as management accountant, Thomson said, IMA global board has authorised an advertising campaign of its CMA designation called "You’ve got to earn it".

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