Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

CMAs at Digital Canada

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

CMAs at Digital Canada

Article excerpt

TAKING THE CMA PROGRAM PROVED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICES IN ALAN HOVERD'S CAREER. "A CMA DESIGNATION ALLOWED ME TO GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR. IT GAVE ME THE TECHNICAL SKILLS AND CREDIBILITY," SAYS HOVERD. HE BECAME A CMA IN 1972.

Hoverd took the CMA program through correspondence courses at McMaster University, allowing him to continue working. After working at three small companies during that time, he was hired by IBM Canada where he stayed for eight years and managed one of their divisions. "People know that you're trained to do the job if you have a CMA," says Hoverd.

After subsequently spending five years at Gulf Minerals as controller, Hoverd was hired by Digital Equipment in Ottawa in 1983 and held positions as business finance manager and manufacturing business manager. During that time, Hoverd travelled to Boston frequently.

"The reason they hired me (and many others) was because they wanted Canada to be responsible for its own plans, budgets and sales," says Hoverd. "They needed someone who had financial experience and my business management experience at IBM was a definite asset."

Hoverd was promoted to vice-president of finance three years ago. "To be a senior financial person you need to be exposed to a number of different disciplines and spend time in tax, treasury, planning and controllership. If you aspire to be in a senior role, you really need experience in various departments. Given that the CMA program is broad-based you get a bit of training in each of those areas," he says.

Digital has been a tremendous success story in terms of a financial turnaround says Hoverd. "Last year we made money. There's been a lot of financial leadership to achieve that in today's economy," he says.

The company was reorganized two years ago and has gone from a geography structure to a business unit structure. Digital Equipment Corporation is a world leader in implementing and supporting networked platforms and applications in multivendor environments. Building on its core business in software, systems, networks and services, Digital - working with its business partners - provides a complete range of information processing solutions from personal computers to integrated worldwide networks. Digital's products and services help customers simplify business practices and enhance organizational productivity. The company does business in more than 100 countries and develops and manufactures products in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Digital's financial turnaround has been one of the most significant in the computer industry. Over the last few years, the company made significant cuts in expenses, divested non-strategic businesses and, most difficult of all, reduced staff. At the same time, Digital maintained their revenues and invested in new technologies and new products.

One of the biggest challenges was to shift their focus from proprietary systems to open, multivendor solutions. With that shift came a greater emphasis on business partnerships and alliances, including stronger partnerships with customers.

Pat Paulin is a business unit finance manager in the network and systems integration services (NSIS) business. He's been at Digital for about nine years. "Digital likes to 're-org' every couple of years. …

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