IMA and CMA in China: As China's Economy Continues Its Strong Growth, the Need for Management Accountants Is Increasing Dramatically, Especially Professionals with Skills in Planning and Analysis, Internal Controls and Risk Management, Performance Measurement, Decision Support, and Ethics

By Whitney, Dennis | Strategic Finance, September 2011 | Go to article overview

IMA and CMA in China: As China's Economy Continues Its Strong Growth, the Need for Management Accountants Is Increasing Dramatically, Especially Professionals with Skills in Planning and Analysis, Internal Controls and Risk Management, Performance Measurement, Decision Support, and Ethics


Whitney, Dennis, Strategic Finance


The Chinese government is focusing more than ever on developing strategic talent. The thriving economy and increasingly complex financial affairs are challenging Chinese businesses and their accountants. Yet despite a huge pool of potential talent, there remains a shortage of true management accountants in China. Some estimates indicate that there are 10 million accountants in China, with millions more studying accounting and finance in universities. With the CMA[R] (Certified Management Accountant) credential, IMA[R] has a great opportunity to help China dramatically improve the skill set of accounting and finance workers. Having a team of highly competent management accountants means that companies make better decisions and grow smarter and that investors and other stakeholders are better protected and can deliver sustainable growth and benefits to society. Becoming a CMA--and encouraging employees to become CMAs--is essential to sustained success.

IMA's mission is to provide a global forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance. Management accountants' role as reporters of the truth protects stakeholders, and our role as business partners adds value to the company, increasing economic development in general. IMA's CMA program plays a critical role in helping financial professionals throughout the world become ethically sound, capable, and talented leaders in a global business environment.

The CMA is designed specifically for finance and accounting professionals who work in business, and the language of a business is the language in which they actually work. As part of the mission of the ICMA[R] to certify competence in management accounting and financial management no matter what language is spoken in the office, we offer both English- and Chinese-language versions of the exam within China. Many Chinese residents want to take the exam in English--some because they work for multinationals where the language they are working in is English and others because they want the additional challenge of taking the exam in English. Other finance and accounting professionals in a great number of companies in China want to improve their skill set and aspire to become CMAs but lack the advanced English skills required to pass a rigorous certification exam. Both exams are equal in terms of content difficulty and rigor and involve the same mix of difficult questions and same passing standards.

The number of new CMA credentials awarded in China has increased more than 200%. There are now approximately 600 CMAs in China and 3,500 active candidates pursuing the CMA in both the English- and Chinese-language exam programs. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2011, IMA administered more than 3,500 exams in China, a 75% increase in the total number of exams. The four-part Chinese-language exam, in particular, is growing at a rapid rate, with 1,352 new candidates in that program last year--and a 350% increase in the number of Chinese-language exams taken. In the last three months of our fiscal year, April through June, we administered 1,023 Chinese-language exams. As you can see, the CMA exam in China--both in English and in Chinese--is developing great momentum.

With the support of organizations such as China Telecom, China Hydro, China Guangdong Nuclear Group, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, CNOOC, Motorola, Caterpillar, State-owned Assets Supervision Administration Commission (SASAC), and State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA), we expect to show tremendous growth in new CMA candidates in the future. IMA's course provider partner net-work and authorized review course provider program are doing a great job training our future CMAs. …

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IMA and CMA in China: As China's Economy Continues Its Strong Growth, the Need for Management Accountants Is Increasing Dramatically, Especially Professionals with Skills in Planning and Analysis, Internal Controls and Risk Management, Performance Measurement, Decision Support, and Ethics
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