Institute of Management Accountants updates content reflecting transformation impact

Hanadi Khalife, Director of MEA and India operations at IMA

The Institute of Management Accountants, IMA, released two reports outlining the advantages pursuing a professional certification provides for both employers and employees amid rampant technological change. The reports, Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Digital Age, The Value of Training and Certification and Increasing Your Value in the Digital Age, The Impact of Professional Certification, explore how digital transformation can be leveraged by organisations and by finance and accounting professionals.

According to the findings, the greater an organisation values certification, the more likely that the organisation is to have a highly effective finance and accounting function. Further, from an employee perspective, professional certification can determine promotion decisions.

Surveys reveal:

  • Professional certification is viewed as the most effective avenue for preparing employees for the shifting business environment, followed by individual courses to develop specific skills.
  • Over 75% of survey respondents said that their employer’s support of certification would affect their decision to remain with their company.
  • Professional certification is an important factor in promotion decisions for 40% of organisations.
  • Just 13% of survey respondents believed their organisation’s finance departments to be sufficiently prepared for technological change.

This research follows the release of IMA’s enhanced Management Accounting Competency Framework, an educational resource that identifies six domains of core knowledge, skills, and abilities that finance and accounting professionals will need to remain relevant in the digital age, and revisions to the Certified Management Accountant, CMA exam, which will adjust for the increased impact of technology on the profession.

The advantages of certification reach far beyond personal development and job satisfaction and can have a tremendous effect on income. In fact IMA’s 2019 Middle East Salary Survey revealed that CMAs in the region earn a median total compensation that is 140% higher than non-CMAs. This is a testament to the value of certification. The reason for this is that organisations recognise that certified professionals have the essential competencies to navigate through the rapid technological changes that the industry is witnessing.

Digital transformation and the increasing reliance on data are creating opportunities for faster decision making and therefore making it vital for professionals to develop the necessary skills needed to leverage insight into actionable success for their organisations.

“For organisations, training and certification will allow them to strengthen their finance functions amid technical change, and for employees, it will allow them to jump the skills gap and increase their prospects for career advancement,” said co-author Raef Lawson, PhD, CMA, CSCA, CPA, CFA, CAE, Professor-in-Residence and Vice President of Research and Policy at IMA. “Ultimately, the report underscores the importance of professional training and certification for both organisations and employees.”

Added Hanadi Khalife, Director of MEA and India operations at IMA, “In today’s highly aggressive job market, having a competitive advantage is of extreme importance for professionals seeking to advance in their careers. Professional certification is an added advantage which allows accounting and finance professionals to set themselves apart from their peers in the field.”