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IMA Life: Experience Worth Sharing

By Cherie Turman, CMA, CPA, CGMA
September 1, 2017
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Growing up, I was always good at math. It seemed to be a natural gift of mine. I took one year of accounting during high school and found it to be so effortless. From then on, I was hooked! I couldn’t believe how easily it came to me. I was the first in my family to attend college, earning a B.S. degree in business administration and accounting from Livingston University in Alabama in 1993.

 

My career began at American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) in 1994. I started as an accounts payable clerk and worked my way up to staff accountant. In 1997, I left ACBL but returned when I realized the new job wasn’t the right choice for my future. Upon my return, I was given the role of senior accountant, and shortly after that I was promoted to accounting manager. During that same year, I graduated from the University of Memphis with an M.S. degree in accounting.

 

As the accounting manager, I implemented a new accounting software package from JD Edwards for the Y2K year-end. I was instrumental in creating budgets for multiple departments at ACBL. I worked with our IT staff to create an app that we could use to process membership renewals while accepting credit card payments. I also worked with IT to implement a paperless workflow for the approval and entry of accounting invoices. In June 2004, I earned my CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification, and in 2005, I decided to move on from ACBL.

 

I went to work for Mahaffey Fabric Structures as the controller. I’ve worked diligently to learn all aspects of the business and continue to work my way up. I currently serve as the vice president of Finance and Administration. My career with Mahaffey has led to growth as an analyst, manager, and leader. At that point, I decided I wanted to become a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), and the seeds to teach college classes were sown. In 2015, I was proud to receive my CMA certification.

 

By becoming an IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) chapter leader and attending IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo, I’ve learned so much. My professionalism and knowledge of the business world have increased, and the confidence that I’ve gained as a professional has been immeasurable. As a chapter leader, I had the chance to take an IMA student chapter on a tour through the Mahaffey facility where I work and was delighted to share with them what the organization has done for me.

 

I now tackle initiatives that I never would’ve thought possible. I created spreadsheets for projects at Mahaffey that save hours of labor every month. I spearheaded a project to capture our intellectual property and created a pricing model for our outside sales force. I even had the opportunity to mentor my nephew when he graduated from college and navigated his way through his first job. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience, and I now have real-world experience that I can bring to the classroom.

 

Cherie Turman, CMA, CPA, CGMA, is the vice president of Finance and Administration with Mahaffey Fabric Structures and a member of IMA’s Mid-South, Memphis Area Chapter. You can reach her at cherie@mahaffeyusa.com.
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