Throughout history, accounting and finance professionals have shaped the economic future of countries, brought about technological innovations, and provided a foundation from which to measure success and failure. I’m grateful to be part of a profession that continues to push farther and strives to increase its impact on the world. Right now, that includes the drive within our profession to become more inclusive in our representation and more interdisciplinary in our scope.
The pursuit of inclusivity—providing more opportunities to those traditionally underrepresented within the profession—has gained traction over the past decade, and IMA® is committed to being part of that effort. We began with the 2021 landmark report, Diversifying U.S. Accounting Talent: A Critical Imperative to Achieve Transformational Outcomes, published in conjunction with the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA). Our ongoing research continued with the April 2022 global solutions report, Diversifying Global Accounting Talent: Actionable Solutions for Progress, developed in collaboration with the International Federation of Accountants and several other accounting organizations. In the coming months, we’ll issue a series of regional reports focusing on Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the Middle East and North Africa. More than 60 organizations, including ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and more than 30 state CPA societies, have joined this effort as fellow advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Along with the drive for greater inclusivity, the profession is also becoming more interdisciplinary. We’re witnessing that in the growing importance of sustainable business management, where we see organizational stakeholders increasingly asking for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures to evaluate business outcomes from a social purpose and value creation perspective. This emphasis is likely to accelerate, as evidenced by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) recently releasing new disclosure rules for climate change and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) issuing two exposure drafts for climate and general risk disclosures (see p. 10). I’m privileged to be part of an esteemed team that’s planning to study how the authoritative 2013 Internal Control—Integrated Framework by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) can be used to build trust and confidence in nonfinancial data through effective internal controls over sustainability reporting. Finally, I’m proud of the progress made by IMA’s Sustainable Business Management Task Force to put IMA at the forefront of these initiatives.
The focus on inclusivity and interdisciplinary influence bodes well for society and our profession. But with this opportunity comes an obligation for all of us to learn skills in the areas of strategy management, technology and data science, ESG, and more. We can find even greater purpose in connecting the dots—and rest even easier that our work really does make a difference for people and for the planet.