IMA LIfe: Going for GoldBy
Near the end of my senior year at the National University of Singapore in mid-2017, I was selected for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Singapore’s highly competitive Finance Leadership Development Program (FLDP), a two-year rotational program that exposes participants to different accounting and finance roles within the company.
I was initially assigned to the Financial Planning & Analytics team, which oversees department budgeting, forecasting, and analysis. This was the first time I realized the importance of management accounting and the value-added impact it has on business. It was also the first time I heard about IMA® and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.
J&J is a longtime supporter of the CMA program, and all members of the Financial Planning & Analytics team were encouraged to pursue the certification. The company makes it easy: It subsidizes our exam fees and publicly recognizes when we earn our CMA, both for which I’m very grateful. So, after only about six months with J&J, I signed up to take both parts of the exam. I expected it would be difficult to study while holding a full-time job, so I selected exam dates that gave me six months to prepare.
As I began studying for the exam, I quickly realized that the topics tested were very much related to the work that I performed daily. Studying for the CMA enhanced my budgeting and forecasting skills as well as helped me extract more information from the numbers, resulting in more meaningful interpretations of the data. My interest in management accounting definitely grew throughout the process. And the hard work paid off, as I received the ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) Gold Medal for earning the highest exam score during my testing period.
Attaining the CMA certification opened new doors for my career. In addition to being publicly recognized for my achievement, I became more sought after by other teams’ managers when I was due for internal rotation. More importantly, with a better understanding of management accounting, I was able to perform better at work, provide more in-depth analysis of financial data, and have more influence over budget-related decision making.
I’ve also discovered that IMA isn’t just about the CMA. I can participate in so many online webinars, courses, and networking events to broaden my knowledge of this discipline. I’ve especially found the IMA MicroCPE courses to be valuable, helping me to stay current with management accounting skills and knowledge amidst my busy work schedule.
As an ICMA award winner, I received complimentary attendance to IMA’s Centennial Celebration in San Diego, Calif., in June 2019. Not only did I meet fellow IMA members and enhance my knowledge of management accounting, but I also had the opportunity to speak with Christian Cuzick, IMA’s Global Board Chair for 2019-2020 (and VP of finance at J&J Vision), as well as Joseph Wolk, J&J’s CFO.
I’m glad I became an IMA member so early in my career. Being part of this organization has helped to broaden my professional network and ensures that I keep up with continuous learning. I look forward to many more years of learning and discovery.