The Association of Accountants and Finance Professionals in Business promotes the management accounting specialty and is also known as the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Although many management accountants are actually certified public accountants, others are business professionals with academic and professional backgrounds in accounting, finance and strategic business management. The IMA provides them and the organizations that they support with valuable resources and opportunities that they are unlikely to find anywhere else. Here are some of the key benefits that the IMA offers to its members, partners and other associates.
There are many certification options for accounting professionals and one of the main reasons why accounting and financial professionals join IMA is to be eligible to sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam. The IMA is the administrator of the CMA credential that is widely recognized by business leaders across the globe. The two part, certification exam includes topics like financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, decision analysis, risk management and professional ethics. Besides successful completion of the exam that consists of multiple choice questions and essays, CMA candidates must also possess bachelor’s degrees and two years of continuous work experience in managerial accounting or financial management. According to statistics gathered by the organization, 70 percent of surveyed CMAs received raises during the previous year, and CMAs tend to make significantly higher salaries than non-CMAs.
Continuing Education and Training
Continuing education is required for CMAs who want to maintain their valuable designation, and the IMA provides them with a variety of formal courses and casual training seminars. The course packages offered by IMA are available to CMAs, other IMA members and anyone else who is interested in mastering managerial accounting and finance principles. Some of the continuing education course topics include the application of basic finance principles, tax accounting, financial reporting and accounting for e-commerce. Additionally, the IMA produces a series of webinars that tackle the latest issues within the field of managerial accounting from the perspective of industry leaders who directly draw from relevant field experiences.
Networking and Career Development
Local IMA chapter meetings and the special programs and events that the IMA sponsors are ideal settings for some serious networking within the accounting and finance community. The events are informative, and members have opportunities to ask questions about accounting and finance topics of interest as well as get to know industry leaders who are often hiring managers at well respected companies. IMA chapter officers have also been known to help IMA members and newly minted CMAs to connect with senior management accountants who have positions that must be filled by skilled accounting and finance professionals.
Upward mobility in any career often requires that business professionals demonstrate leadership and managerial skills. However, opportunities to display these attributes on the job may be limited. Managerial accountants and finance professionals who volunteer to serve with the IMA can help to create their own leadership opportunities. For example, each chapter has an elected government of officers, and those who are elected practice leadership skills regularly to accomplish program goals. Some of these elected officers even have direct reports who they manage to complete specific IMA projects.
The IMA gives accounting and financial professionals whose job functions focus primarily on managerial accounting the support and tools that they need to thrive in industry. With thousands of members worldwide, the Association of Accountants and Finance Professionals in Business is often the catalyst that brings industry leaders together for amazing opportunities.