Looking Back, Looking AheadBy
The IMA® Annual Conference & Expo in San Diego, Calif., this past June was a very special event. It was one, you could argue, that only happens every 100 years. Among the highlights for me was learning more about the pioneers of the profession, such as Major J. Lee Nicholson, one of the founding members of the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA), which we now know as IMA.
Since its earliest days, IMA has attracted men and women like Major Nicholson who have dedicated their time and talent to helping the organization advance the management accounting profession. Many of these leaders have come from esteemed academic institutions around the world, while others have worked a multinational companies, including Cummins, Caterpillar, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson.
Working at J&J for the past 15 years, I’m acutely aware of other J&J leaders who have contributed to IMA in the past and continue to do so in the present. These individuals include Clark Johnson, who served IMA as a volunteer in a number of roles and was appointed IMA President in 1997-1998 but unfortunately passed away before he could serve his term, and Bill Brower, who was IMA Chair in 2006-2007. I’m humbled and honored to follow the example they set as well as that of all the prior IMA Chairs who have served IMA and the profession as both have evolved.
Reflecting on the next 100 years, I’m excited about what the future holds for management accounting. I have no doubt that technology and data analysis will become even bigger parts of the daily activities required in our roles, while reporting and fundamental financial analysis will remain foundational competencies. I don’t consider the advancement of technology a threat to the profession but rather an enabler for management accountants to step up to the challenges set by our organizations to be problem solvers, insight providers, and leaders.
I know that IMA will continue to play an important role in educating and shaping the future of our profession, where management accountants will be called on even more frequently to use data science and technology to translate business problems and identify solutions. The world in which we work will continue to shrink, but through IMA’s collaborations and partnerships, management accounting will adapt and grow. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 years will bring.
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