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Back to the Boathouse

By J. Stephen McNally, CMA, CPA
August 1, 2021

August, in my part of the world, is a time for “heading back.” For my son, daughter, and our many IMA® student members, they’ll be headed back to college after summer break.

 

Likewise, their college professors and other educators will be headed back to school, too—although they’ve probably been working throughout the summer to ensure they’re fully prepared to deliver their students a quality education this fall. After 12 to 18 months of employees working remotely, many companies also are making plans for “heading back” to their physical offices in cautious hope that vaccination levels continue to rise and infection rates decline. Finally, many in the U.S. rowing community, like me, will be headed back to the boathouse to train for the fall racing season.

 

If you’re an IMA student member, August is a great time to think about your career goals and how IMA can support your journey. IMA’s CareerDriver® assessment tool, for example, is a great resource to assess your skills and explore your career options. You can also discuss these options and request other advice from a seasoned professional via the IMA Leadership Academy’s mentoring program. To hear from inspiring speakers, create a network of contacts, and connect with industry leaders in a dynamic, friendly environment, mark your calendar for this year’s virtual IMA Student Leadership Conference, scheduled for November 5, 2021. And if you’re a rising senior, it’s a great time to begin preparing for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam.

 

For those teaching finance and accounting students, it’s an important time to ensure your students are aware of the management accounting profession. I started my career as an auditor for Price Waterhouse (now PwC) and earned my CPA. While that path worked for me, in truth, I didn’t know there was another option. I fear many of today’s students face the same issue. This concern was underscored a few years ago while attending a college career fair on behalf of Campbell Soup Company. Many students expressed interest in working for Campbell’s and then proceeded to tell me they were preparing to sit for the CPA exam, unaware that the CMA body of knowledge is more closely aligned with the skills they’ll need to be successful in industry.

 

If you’re an IMA professional member, it’s a great time to take advantage of IMA’s many great webinars, podcasts, certifications, and other educational opportunities, whether you’re a young or seasoned professional. For example, if you haven’t done so already, consider completing the IMA Data Analytics & Visualization Fundamentals Certificate course. And if you’re already a CMA, consider expanding your strategic planning and analysis skills by earning IMA’s CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) certification. Finally, I hope you have the opportunity soon to once again participate in chapter activities, conferences, and other live events.

 

All the best as you head back to your university, your workplace, and/or your boathouse, as the case may be!

 

J. Stephen McNally, CMA, CPA, is CFO of Plastic Technologies Inc. (PTI) Group of Companies and Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors. He’s also a member of IMA’s Toledo Chapter. Contact Steve at steve.mcnally@imanet.org, or follow him on LinkedIn.
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