Sooner Rather than Later

By Marc P. Palker, CMA, CSCA
August 1, 2016

Last month I talked aboutthe value that you get from your IMA® membership and some of the products and services that make it worthwhile to be part of this great organization. This month I want to discuss what’s essentially the same thing from another perspective (pardon the pun): the value you can bring to IMA and get something out of it, too.


IMA offers you numerous opportunities to enhance your professional skill set, equipping you with tools that you can bring back to your job. Some of these opportunities you’ve heard about many times: serving at the local, regional, national, and even global levels. Our chapters are located throughout the world (while our councils are just in the United States), and both provide opportunities to acquire and hone skills such as public speaking, leadership, conflict negotiation, sales, and effective communication, to name just a few.


In addition, there are numerous opportunities to learn skills that not only help you build your own professional tool kit but that also serve to shape the future of the management accounting profession and our organization. Take a look at these IMA committees: Ethics, Academic Relations, Technology Solutions & Practices, Small Business Financial and Regulatory Affairs, Annual Conference Program Committee, Financial Reporting Committee (mainly members from large corporations), and IMA Research Foundation (for academics). Is there an area that interests you or one where you could make a contribution and at the same time be collaborative?


Of course, these opportunities are in addition to perhaps the greatest opportunity that IMA offers: the chance to earn the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) designation. CMAs add value to their own careers, to their organizations, and to the entire management accounting profession.


The CMA brings me to another point—that IMA typically offers members opportunities to be of service and gain these valuable skills much sooner than employers do. Students, you can take the CMA exam while you’re still in college. Or how about stepping up to take on an officer position in your local chapter or council or even at the student chapter level? What about serving on a global committee?


Getting involved is easier than you think. Back in my early IMA days, the process was different. You went to a meeting, and if you wanted to volunteer for something, you raised your hand. Today, technology makes it simple. Just log in to your membership profile (My Profile) on www.imanet.org and indicate your interest in a particular subject matter or committee. Nominations for our committees take place on a rolling basis, so someone will contact you.


I encourage all of you to get involved sooner rather than later. You’ll gain valuable leadership skills that you can transfer to your professional career—and contribute to the profession at the same time.


Please share your thoughts with me at mpalker@imanet.org.


Marc P. Palker, CMA, CSCA, RTRP, is a former Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors and principal at MPP Associates, Inc. He also is a member of IMA’s Long Island Chapter. You can reach him at mppalker@cs.com.  
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