Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Making It Happen

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Making It Happen

Article excerpt

Being at the right place at the right time can help you master the personal transition to the third generation of management accounting.

Is there anyone out there who thought that all this rush to get ready for the year 2000 was something of a tempest in a teapot - that things would "settle out" and we could soon "stop for a breather?" Some teapot! We are now well into the first of the three years remaining before the close of this millennium and clearly there is no let-up in the torrid pace of transformation.

When you consider the radical changes organizations are experiencing as they re-invent themselves for the global economy, the prospect of equipping oneself to thrive in such an environment can be daunting.

Certainly it is no easy task for professional accountants in management, who have already had to cope with the transformation from cost accounting to operational management accounting. Now the intense demand for cutting-edge productivity and competitiveness is creating a third generation of management accounting. This is a growing sphere of influence for CMAs - one in which they help to shape the strategic direction of an organization. That is, they take part in key decisions on strategy, goals and tactics.

How does one equip oneself for this role? Let's imagine for a moment a purpose-dedicated skills resource centre where one might roam the aisles, so to speak, and get exposed to the best the world has to offer. What might you want to focus on?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. The ability to discern and articulate the major challenges facing your organization. This would connect to understanding and shaping the profile of the financial professional in the new environment, as well as the performance indicators that will be needed.

2. The ability to make sense of the many available organizational improvement options and to use them to create real value. This includes:

* understanding the available improvement methods and techniques;

* how they can be merged to be complementary, not competitive;

* potential pitfalls;

* how other organizations have successfully implemented programs; and,

* common elements of processes and how they impact applicability and the likelihood of success.

Here, it would be good to hear it "from the horse's mouth" - from an expert who has implemented advanced practices for a variety of major North American companies and whose involvement has included training, analysis, conceptual and detail design, and full implementation.

3. The ability to identify future shifts in the business environment. …

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