The Future of Management Accountants

Global Accountant came together with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), part of the community of the world’s largest body of accountants, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, to discuss what the future holds for the profession, education and the shift in industry dynamics.

Automation and Data analytics

Only a few accountants have the time to lift their head and look around to see the pace in which the industry is shifting beneath their feet. Strangely, and many would not have guessed this ten years ago, the industry is being shaped by those who are less qualified [in accounting terms] and dare compare with the accounting knowledge of a qualified management accountant. However, they are delivering what the user of accounts want and the way they want it. And that counts.

To state the obvious, we are living in an age of technology and its best buddy, transition; which both are shaping the accounting and finance industry faster than some can keep up. The shift in data analytics and how management accountants provide better insight, live streaming reports offering customisation and serving various stakeholder needs through a single tool, automation and its eagerness to replace the accountant is almost what we hear every day in the public domain. This is all great for trees, need for speed, and user of accounts, but what about the years of study, sweat and [sometimes] blood given by those management accountants to get to where they are; now to realise someone else is in the driving seat.

Andrew Harding, Managing Director at CIMA comments:

The speed in which the industry is changing and the demand placed on management accountants should not be seen as a threat but an opportunity to raise our skill-set and adapt more appropriately to the changing times.
CIMA is currently ahead in equipping its students and members with the necessary skills through education and relevant CPD requirements and it is clear that management accountants will need to be prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn to support agility and demonstrate competence

The methods employed today by management accountants have changed, for example, streaming visualisations and live data with dozens of KPI analysis visible across the world by various stakeholders. This will all require capability and skill; and that is what we aim to provide our students and members though appropriate training – to become the modern accountant they are destined to be.

CIMA is currently carrying out projects to ensure there is adequate sustenance to ensure this change is sustainable. This change is now enshrined in the new CIMA education ethos and will remain continuous.

CIMA and 2018

CIMA and Global Accountant has discussed what the year 2018 holds for the management accounting profession and what CIMA will do to continue to improve the standard of education and career progression of its students and members.

Andrew Harding said:

In the New Year we will see many new advances in the education system we offer. The way in we deliver and reward our students and members will include various new methods in evaluation and promote career progression.
We are pleased to see the unprecedented increase and importance the employment industry has placed in the CIMA designatory letters and highlighting that employers are now placing more importance and priority for job qualification for those who hold the CIMA designatory letter. We will continue to support our students and members to ensure they are recognised and valued as the modern finance and business professional. This will come though continued efforts to better the standards of our education and support to our stakeholders.
We offer one of the world’s highest quality certifications in the industry and our task now is to ensure this level of excellence is maintained and recognised though different methods of achievements. New methods in assessment, badging and many more advances in learning will be seen in 2018.