Thought Leadership through Meaningful Research

By Richtermeyer, Sandra B. | Strategic Finance, February 2011 | Go to article overview

Thought Leadership through Meaningful Research


Richtermeyer, Sandra B., Strategic Finance


Collaboration between academics and practitioners can produce some excellent research that will help management accounting professionals perform their jobs better and become strategic partners and thought leaders.

As a global association dedicated to advancing the management accounting profession, IMA[R] has a long-standing commitment to thought leadership. The phrase "thought leadership" might sound a bit abstract, but essentially it means bringing forth innovative ideas in a variety of ways. At IMA, one way we do this is by providing resources intended to help practitioners address management accounting challenges, emerging issues, or best practices.

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Some tangible examples of IMA's "thought leadership" initiatives can be seen in our publications such as Strategic Finance and Management Accounting Quarterly, our many newsletters, Statements on Management Accounting (SMAs), webinars, and professional development courses. A number of the more-research-focused resources are developed by members of the IMA academic community, but we also have a healthy mix of research authored by practitioners as well as articles developed by a team of practitioners and academics. This type of collaboration is a great way to link different perspectives and perhaps provide solutions that lead to improved accounting systems and processes.

Collaborating on research is one way to bring the two groups together, but it's also important to share the results of research studies that may be more academic in nature in a "user-friendly" way. This can be a challenge, but through grant programs like those funded by our Foundation for Applied Research (FAR), which since 1994 has worked with about 500 researchers and created more than 250 studies in a wide variety of publications, I've seen many successful examples of how this can be done.

For instance, for each academic study funded by FAR, the researchers agree to produce a "practitioner-friendly" deliverable, such as an article targeted at a practitioner journal or an SMA. The researchers also may be asked to play a role in developing webinars for CPE credit, share their work at professional conferences, or give feedback to an IMA advisory committee or task force. …

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