Little did I know at the time how complex it could be. That first exposure inspired me to major in professional accountancy and business administration in college. After graduation, I began my professional career as a staff accountant. I became a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and, later, a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant).
Accounting to me has been like putting a puzzle together—something I enjoy very much. There are so many different career avenues within this profession. It offers the opportunity to generalize or find your own specialized niche. As my own career progressed, for example, I grew interested in financial planning and analysis (FP&A). Predicting future financial results is a never-ending game of precision. Pursuing FP&A meant taking on additional responsibilities despite already having a full-time workload—but I’m glad I sought out the opportunities.
Throughout my career, I’ve also found it helpful to take personality assessments like StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, DiSC, and others. As accounting and finance professionals, we’re constantly evaluating the financials of the organizations that we serve. So why not develop a keen introspective awareness of ourselves as well? I like the idea of focusing on your strengths while also shoring up your weaknesses.
Indeed, I’ve learned that setting your career trajectory around your top strengths (the strategic, analytical, and achiever themes show up in my top five) can lead to a long and prosperous career. In my own career, earning the CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) certification has further enhanced these capabilities. My advice is to find the right fit by learning more about yourself and taking steps in that direction.
I’m so grateful for all the benefits I’ve enjoyed as an IMA® member. Whether it’s learning from self-study courses, weekly webinars, or intriguing podcasts and articles, keeping up to date on best practices and emerging trends is key.
One way I’ve kept current with the profession is being engaged with my local IMA chapter in Minneapolis, Minn. My first introduction to the chapter was being awarded a complimentary dinner after passing the CMA exam. A simple invitation from our chapter president at the time led to my attending an event where I didn’t know anyone else who was there. Since then, I’ve rarely missed a chapter event.
Recently, I even became chapter president. I’m incredibly grateful for the board members who have served with me. Our chapter has highly engaged members focused on their own professional growth, and we propel our organizations forward through this commitment to professional development. Learning is a lifelong process—and IMA is there to help you along your journey.