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IMA Life: Growth through Learning

By Mike Schellin, CMA
February 1, 2019
1 comments

My accounting career began in the winter of 2002 when I went to work for a small occupational medical facility as a bookkeeper. Little did I know that this was the start of an incredible journey that would lead me where I am today.

 

In this job, I would process payroll, post the cash receipts, make all the payables payments and month-end adjusting entries, and produce financial statements. I was trained by the outside CPA firm for the small company, but since I really didn’t know much about accounting and the theory behind it all, I began taking courses to become a Certified Bookkeeper through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. I eventually started to really love the profession.

 

In my next position, I went to work for a much larger organization, an international mechanical engineering company. I was working for the company during the day and had returned to school to finish my bachelor’s degree in accountancy at Sacramento State University.

 

I really enjoyed the challenges of the work, as I started to get familiar with international accounting standards, multicurrency, translation, and revaluation concepts. We also had to produce information based on jobs, and job costing became important. I was learning about these concepts in school, but I wanted to hone my skills in this area. This led to a discussion with my boss about the importance of management accounting and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants).

 

In 2015, I took a position with an even larger company, Workday, and it became apparent that I needed to have a much more solid foundation in management accounting. Workday is a cloud-based software company that produced an ERP system for some of the largest organizations in the world.

 

I joined IMA that year and heard about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. I started studying for the CMA exam in 2016, and I passed both parts and became a CMA in 2017. That has really propelled my career.

 

The core concepts I learned as part of the CMA program are fundamental to the work I do in communicating with top executives at global companies. I was able to hone my skills on financial reporting standards, both GAAP and IFRS. I also am now well versed in multicurrency, translation, and revaluation, and I gained the knowledge of consolidation and equity method.

 

The most important aspect of my being involved with IMA and the CMA program is the confidence I gained through studying. In my work as a consultant, I have the confidence to articulate information properly and with composure to make sure customers really understand how to configure the Workday software. The fundamental accounting concepts are the core of being able to do this, and that comes from my CMA program training.

 

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in management information systems at the University of Utah. As part of my program, I will take the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification exam. These additional skills are so useful in my work for the software company because I am focused on implementation projects. I have found that project management methodology is useful in making sure that projects are successful.

 

Mike Schellin, CMA, is a financials consultant at Workday and a member of IMA’s Salt Lake Area Chapter. He can be reached at mike.schellin@workday.com.
1 + Show Comments

1 comment.
    Leslie Merker February 2, 2019 AT 9:37 am

    Very impressive!

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