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Choose Growth

By Paul E. Juras, Ph.D., CMA, CPA
August 1, 2020
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“Change is ­inevitable. Growth is ­optional.”—John Maxwell

 

August marks the beginning of the back-to-school season, and, as I turn my attention to planning for my courses this fall, I’m forced to accept that there’s nothing routine about my preparation this year. At the time of this writing, my college, like many others, doesn’t yet see a clear path forward. Will students come to campus? Will colleges be allowed to hold classes in a traditional format? Lecturing in front of a group of students is still part of the stock in trade of most colleges and universities, but it may not be an option this fall. I’ve been thinking about new ways of delivering the content I must share with my students, including using tools like online delivery, nano learning, videos, tweets, and other interaction through social media.

 

I’m not alone; we all need to change. In light of the events across the globe, I think we must accept that the rules have changed and what worked in the past likely isn’t going to work anymore. Within IMA® we recognize that we can provide value to members by anticipating and reacting to change as the world around us evolves—and as the demands of our profession and our organizations are redefined.

 

Automation looms over the global economy, with both positive and negative implications. Although automation can help drastically improve productivity and efficiency, there exists a tangible threat to the availability and existence of jobs. These changes aren’t in the distant future; they’re here now and are impacting IMA members’ career prospects. Consider the following:

 

* The World Economic Forum predicts that 54% of today’s employees will require significant reskilling or upskilling by 2022 (see bit.ly/2O9d3P2).

 

* Research by The Hackett Group shows that, while finance professionals should be concerned about automation, it will also offer opportunities to outsource routine tasks to AI while enabling these professionals to focus on higher-level analysis, making themselves more valuable to their organizations (see bit.ly/2Z90n0U).

 

* Organizations will have vast amounts of data at their disposal that can be exploited to create value for their customers and themselves. And while accounting and finance professionals may not need the expertise of a data scientist, they will need to gain a more comprehensive understanding of data analysis to derive greater insights and enable more effective decision making. This will help them move toward the higher end of the analytics continuum—to predictive and prescriptive analytics (see bit.ly/3ede57t).

 

And this brings me to the quote by John Maxwell, and my question to you: Will you choose to grow in times of change? If so, IMA is here to help with resources such as research reports, career development tools, continuing education courses, networking and leadership opportunities, and much more.

 

I’d like to hear how IMA has helped you adapt to our “new normal” environment. I welcome your comments on this or any other topic at paul.juras@imanet.org.

 

 

Paul E. Juras, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, is the Jefferson Vander Wolk Chair of Management Accounting and Operational Performance at Babson College and Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors. Follow him on LinkedIn, bit.ly/2YHHDo1, or Twitter, @pauljuras.
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