IMA Volunteerism: Drawn to Service

By Bradford A. Hamilton, CMA, CPA
April 1, 2020

Over the course of many years as a CMA®(Certified Management Accountant) and active IMA®member, I have been asked by colleagues, friends, family—and even fellow members—about why I got involved in IMA, what I get from being involved, and why I stay involved.


At times, frankly, I couldn’t readily answer their questions. I’ve certainly given many years of service to IMA: four terms as chapter president (two in Memphis and two in South Central Indiana), one term as president of the Lincoln Trail Regional Council, and five years as a member of the Technology Solutions and Practices Committee. Looking back over my 36 years as an accountant, I realize why I struggled to produce concise answers to these questions: It’s because IMA has done so much for me and means so much to me. Here’s my attempt at answering those inquiries.


Why did I get involved? I was drawn into volunteer service because I believe my accounting career, like life, is a journey rather than a destination. Thinking back to my early involvement with IMA, I recognize that I was ambitious but not always clear about what aspects of finance and accounting I truly wanted to focus on.


In the first 20 years of my career, I primarily served as a controller for small companies—my largest accounting team during that time was four people. With a broad set of interests and working with only a small group of people, I felt I needed to network with fellow professionals to continue learning and growing. At times, I simply wanted to gain perspective, new ideas, and a second opinion. Several key associates also encouraged me to get involved, most notably IMA Chair-Emeritus Ginger White.


What do I get from being involved? IMA has given me a high standard to live up to, a challenge to constantly improve myself, and a sense of accomplishment. It’s also been a forum for collaboration with great accounting and finance professionals. More practically, it provides excellent, timely insight on topics I need to know about for my career. Finally, IMA has given me renewed enthusiasm and passion for what I do as well as clarity about what areas of work interest me and where I bring value.


Why do I stay involved? As my professional career draws to a close, I feel compelled to give back, particularly to an organization that has been such a big part of my life. My involvement in IMA has directly impacted the opportunity I have to retire so early in my life. The leaders I have met through my involvement inspire me, both professionally and personally, providing me with examples of not only accomplished professionals but also solid citizens.


I encourage all members to take advantage of the opportunities IMA provides to grow and learn—so many are available when you participate as a volunteer leader. I look forward to continuing to do my part to help IMA positively impact others, just as it has done for me.


Bradford A. Hamilton, CMA, CPA, is a retired corporate IT controller. He is a member of IMA’s Technology Solutions and Practices Committee as well as IMA’s South Central Indiana Chapter. You can reach Brad at bradford.a.hamilton@cummins.com.
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