The establishment of an international association linking the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ( CIMA ) and the American Institute of CPAs ( AICPA ) should create wide-ranging benefits for the relevant practitioners.
“It has been set up to complement rather than replace either organisation, while supporting members’ needs and increasing employment opportunities,” says Amy Lam, who is Deputy Chairman of CIMA North Asia Regional Board.
This step will also help to create broader understanding of the vital role management accountants play in businesses across the spectrum. The association also builds on the success of the joint venture between CIMA and the AICPA operating since 2011.
“Our joining forces should be viewed as one plus one equalling three,” Lam says.
Besides enhancing the profile of management accounting, it will give members of the two institutes, as well as those working for qualification exams, access to a comprehensive set of resources. These include a wealth of e-learning tools, industry surveys, and insights on thought leadership.
Endorsed by CIMA and AICPA members and officially launched in January, the new association represents more than 650,000 current and aspiring accounting professionals, and is expected to be the most influential accounting body global wide.
With a bigger voice and wider network, Lam believes the association will raise the profile of the CGMA designation and make it wider known the competencies the designation delivers.
CGMAs are strategic business partners, with the skills and competencies to create and preserve value for businesses
Amy Lam, Deputy Chairman of CIMA North Asia Regional Board
Developed jointly by CIMA and the AICPA, CGMA designation is recognised globally for its rigorous standards and value in building better organisations. “CGMAs are strategic business partners, with the skills and competencies to create and preserve value for businesses,” Lam says. They have the tools and know-how to look beyond the immediate financial results and offer constructive advice and insights on decisions for the medium to long term. This comes from their ability to gather input and analyse data from different departments and draw the appropriate conclusions.
“Management accountants bring strategic thinking and the ability to convert data into dialogue,” Lam says. “They can communicate in layman's terms with managers across a business.”
Since the CGMA is recognised globally, those holding the designation can move easily not just between departments in a company, but also to other industries, regions and countries. This creates multiple routes to senior management and executive positions.
“The portability of the CGMA designation is one of its defining characteristics,” says Lam, who is a prime example of that. Currently finance director of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), she started with the Jardine Matheson Group in 1985 and has served as finance director for their shipping and aviation businesses.
“Although I have worked mainly in the transport and logistics sector, each role had its different demands,” she says.
At a recent reception in Hong Kong, the first CGMA100 certificates were presented to accounting professionals from Hong Kong and Macau. CGMA100 -- North Asia Management Accounting Leaders Think Tank was launched last year to serve as a platform for regulators, businesses, professionals and academics in the region to exchange views, share insights and promote best practice in management accounting.
“Inclusive events like this bring together professionals who share a passion for management accounting,” Lam says. Members of the Think Tank were from Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, Japan, Mongolia South Korea and Taiwan.
Lam adds that in an era which sees ever greater emphasis on forecasting, strategy and predictive analytics, management accountants have a major role to play in decision-making, planning and control processes. With cyber risks a concern for all businesses, risk management is also a required core competency.
The rapid rise of e-commerce in Asia region is similarly creating new demand for qualified management accountants who can advise on cost-benefit analysis and process improvement. In mainland China, especially, Lam says there is a clear need for management accountants to help businesses navigate dynamic markets.