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IMA Life: Bringing Value to Your Organization

By Tiffany Larsen
March 1, 2018
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For me, deciding to earn my CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification was an obvious choice to advance in my career. I graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, in December 2010, during the recession. My first job was in payroll for a nonprofit. After I’d been in this role for a couple years, my manager wanted to see me continue to grow, despite the lack of open positions for advancement. She asked me about my career goals, which were “not tax.”

 

She told me about the CMA and suggested I look into it. Within two weeks, I knew IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) was an organization I wanted to join, and I enrolled in a CMA review course. Within six months, I had passed Part 1 of the exam. Within 18 months, I had earned my CMA. Within 24 months, outside employers were contacting me for employment opportunities.

 

I was drawn to IMA because I love the internal story of a company (such as internal reports and processes), and I’ve stayed because of the value IMA provides. The networking opportunities have connected me to people in careers I didn’t know existed. I’m from a family of blue-collar workers in a small town and was the first in my family to attain education beyond high school.

 

When I started with my current employer, I created processes for two of the subsidiaries of AvidXchange. One of the subsidiaries had been acquired a few months before my start date. They had been a small company with a salesperson keeping their financial records and billing their customers.

 

After a year, if a request was related to numbers/money for the subsidiaries, it started with me. These requests came from every department. As challenging as this position was, I loved it. I gained extensive knowledge about the operations of AvidXchange, which increased the value I add.

 

I spent much of 2017 on a project known as the “tiger team” to help refine the sales and overall strategy for a major segment of our customer base. The success of this approach has affected the strategy of the entire sales team. I was recruited for this team because of the usefulness and accuracy of the reports I provide.

 

I am currently working on a special project with our treasury department. Avid is experiencing rapid growth, and this project is helping to create more scalable processes by reconciling past transactions and identifying areas for improvement.

 

In October 2017, I was selected for the Young Professional Leadership Experience, which greatly expanded my knowledge of IMA. I was able to participate in the IMA Global Board of Directors meeting and was recognized for inspiring future innovation in leadership and governance within the accounting profession.

 

If not for IMA, I would never have known the career options I have. IMA webinars and the Annual Conference have exposed me to possibilities I didn’t know existed. IMA helped me find my passion in accounting; I’m in a place where my career is heading exactly where I want it to go. Without my CMA, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have now. I am confident in the value I have to offer, and I have the credential to back me up.

 

Tiffany Larsen, CMA, is a senior accountant of Avid­Xchange, Inc. She is a member of IMA’s Salt Lake Area ­Chapter and can be reached at tiffany.larsen@outlook.com.  
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