Who's Shaping the Future of Our Profession? IMA [R]-Along with Its Educator Partners-Is Involved in Several Projects Right Now That Will Better Prepare Students to Enter and Succeed in the Profession of Management Accounting

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Dear IMA Member:

Every August there's an important meeting among the folks who are helping shape the future of the management accounting profession and prepare its aspiring leaders. No, I'm not talking about regulators, standards setters, or even politicians, although these individuals certainly have an impact on our profession. I'm talking about the annual gathering of the American Accounting Association (AAA), a voluntary membership organization composed mainly of accounting educators that since 1916 has promoted worldwide excellence in accounting education, research, and practice. IMA's prominent role at this annual meeting speaks to our organization's commitment to our educator members and to ensuring that the next generation of management accounting professionals is equipped with the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly complex business environment.

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Perhaps the most important event for IMA at this year's AAA annual meeting in Denver was our announcement of the initial findings of a research study that will help define the management accounting curricula for under-graduate and graduate accounting programs. This study, which is being conducted by a task force composed of members of IMA and AAA's Management Accounting Section, strives to bridge the chronic "skills gap" between what's taught in management accounting courses and on-the-job practice. This is something that's seriously needed, considering that it has been about two decades since IMA first released practical research on this subject (commonly referred to as "business partner" research). The work of the task force is ongoing, and final results should be released in January 2012.

This task force is an excellent complement to another educational endeavor of IMA. David Burritt, CMA [R], CPA, a longtime IMA and CMA supporter and retired CFO of Caterpillar Inc., serves as IMA's representative to the Pathways Commission, an initiative sponsored in part by AAA that aims to assess, create, and deliver multiple "pathways" for those pursuing careers in accounting.

But IMA is doing more than looking at how what's being taught in class dovetails with what's needed in the cubicle. We're also involved in developing an accounting curriculum that would map to the skills needed to pass the CMA exam. To that end, we led a panel session at AAA titled "Management Accounting: Alignment of Curriculum and Professional Certification. …