Charting the future with management accounting


There is a growing problem in education where students are not being equipped to meet employers' expectations, leading to severe cases of unemployment amongst young adults worldwide. The accounting industry is no different, and the need for graduates who are able to sustain their relevancy to market demands has become increasingly pertinent as progress in technology has come to demand more of this established profession.

Against this backdrop, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has taken a new strategic direction with regard to its syllabus to address this challenge. The focus on business relevance is not a new approach for CIMA — it has been a feature of its ethos since its formation in 1919 — and the founders of CIMA understood, even then, that accounting methods in business needed to be professionalised in order to solve the pressing corporate issues of the day.

Big and small, public and private, all must compete within an increasingly globalised world. The profound influx of data presents an element of risk as the pertinent information often gets lost amidst the white noise. Recent high-profile failures of once-powerful corporations such as Blackberry, HMV, and Kodak, demonstrate the dangers of drawing the wrong conclusions from the data at hand.

Nonetheless, these points highlight the role of the management accountant as a key player in a business to look forward to consider externalities beyond ledgers and numbers — failing which the swift demise of a business in these hyper-competitive times may occur. To ensure that CIMA professionals are relevant to the industry's needs, the Institute updates its syllabus regularly, and it plans to increase the frequency of syllabus updates in the years to come.

These updates are made possible with extensive research into employability across the globe. CIMA has engaged employers in various industries across Europe, Malaysia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States to draw up a Competency Framework which has since been validated in a series of roundtable meetings across the world involving over 200 organisations.


"I applaud and welcome the updated syllabus as it enhances the learning curve of future management accountants.  Not only will this enable them to think technically but strategically. The tools, techniques and knowledge that is consistently kept current is all-encompassing and benefits both education providers and the recipients. To the former, it makes teaching the CIMA syllabus fresh and engaging; for the latter, it gives students the confidence to approach the industry and kick start a rewarding career." - Wan Haslan, FCMA(UK), CGMA, CA(M), CFO of Iskandar Investment Bhd.
 

The updated syllabus, which will come into effect in 2015, increases the competency of the student, employs new assessment methods, enables students to integrate a variety of information sources to make decisions, and enhances their employability throughout their career. New online assessments and on-demand exams put students in charge of their progress and imbues them with technological savviness.

CIMA professionals also benefit from the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation conferred by CIMA and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The CGMA designation will undoubtedly position management accountants at the forefront of the industry or market they are established in regardless of the location.

Sweeping changes can occur in any market even within a short period of time, and that is why education must adapt. It is what employers want, and a comprehensive education in management accounting absolutely requires it in order for students to succeed.

For more information, please contact CIMA at SEAsia@cimaglobal.com or +603-7723 0230. Please visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cimaseasia

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