Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Diane Daniel, CMA

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Diane Daniel, CMA

Article excerpt

DIANE DANIEL, CMA, SAYS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING SHE LEARNED IN EARNING HER DESIGNATION AS A CERTIFIED MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT IS THAT MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING ISN'T JUST DEBITS AND CREDITS, OR THE PREPARATION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS.

"Management accountants have a strong technical background yet their emphasis is on applying knowledge, rather than generating information."

Daniel is Director, Finance and Administration for SmithKline Beecham Pharma Inc., a pharmaceutical company headquartered just west of Toronto in Oakville, Ontario. She accepted the position in May, 1994, after serving five-and-a-half years with the company.

In her current role, Daniel is responsible for SmithKline Beecham's strategic planning which, now that she has been through a full planning cycle, she says has been a challenging assignment. During the past few years, the market environment in which pharmaceutical companies operate has been undergoing rapid and dramatic change.

One issue the industry is currently grappling with, for example, is access to markets. Because of fiscal restraint, each provincial government in Canada is looking for ways to cap health care costs. Some are turning to formularies - lists of "approved" pharmaceutical products - that they will subsidize for senior citizens and those without financial means.

Being excluded from a provincial formulary can dramatically impact a product's - indeed a company's - financial performance, which adds a level of complexity to the strategic planning process. "As a result, we have to strategize for each particular province," she says. "It's the only way we can ensure that our products will be available to the people living in each province."

At the start of the planning cycle, Daniel took the SmithKline organization through a process of identifying core competencies. And, while it was important to ensure that the direction of the Canadian subsidiary was consistent with the company's parent corporation, it was also important that strategies met the unique requirements of the marketplace.

"We must be consistent with the goals of our parent corporation, so we can tap into their global resources," she says. "But, at the same time, the Canadian market is very different from Europe and the U.S. And the strategies we employ here must reflect those differences."

Once core competencies were identified, the next step was to establish strategic priorities. And this year, the company's middle managers were asked to provide input. "As a senior management group, we provided a general direction, then asked for their feedback," she says. …

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