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Taking Our Own Advice

By Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE
July 1, 2022

Children of a shoemaker walking barefoot: That’s an apt metaphor for someone who works in a profession yet who fails to exercise the same care toward their own circumstances.

 

For accountants, the metaphor might apply to those who mismanage their personal finances, neglect to save for retirement, or spend recklessly. We wouldn’t want that for our organizations, so why would we allow it for ourselves? Good advice and practice apply to all.

 

Recently, IMA® released a report offering insights and guidelines that we as an organization need to heed. This report, Thriving Amidst Challenges: A Guide to Small Business Resilience, was developed and written by IMA’s Small Business Committee in response to the hardships many small businesses have faced and are facing during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Based on interviews with members of the small business community, the report reveals that those organizations that have succeeded and proved resilient during these times are focused on three areas: visionary leadership, business focus, and a people-centric culture. Sharing real-world case studies and stories, the report serves as a guidebook for management accountants in leading their organizations forward—by reimagining the future, reevaluating and reinventing offerings, reconnecting to stakeholders, and recharging themselves.

 

The report also explores the importance of fostering a culture that’s inclusive, creative, and innovative, one in which an organization can achieve its goals and profitability, even during economic disruption. Creativity, defined as out-of-the-box thinking and approaches to problem solving, is one of the key means by which an organization can maintain its resiliency.

 

The advice offered in the report is directed at the small business community, of which IMA is a part. We, indeed, are aiming as an organization to continue to innovate. Our new website, which should be launched later this summer, is a prime example. We also continue to offer new products in the area of continuing education and to innovate our CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, with the introduction of remote testing earlier this year.

 

IMA has shown itself to be resilient through these challenges over the past two years, adapting as we met members where they were, shifting our events to a virtual (and later hybrid) format, and offering discounted and free member benefits when we were able. IMA’s Accounting & Finance Conference, for example, also demonstrates our ability to be agile. The event last month was a resounding success, offering opportunities to both those who could join us in person and those who joined remotely to engage in deeply meaningful networking, valuable professional education, and a shared sense of camaraderie and purpose.

 

We’ll need to continue to seek out new ways to respond to the changes that are afoot. Being resilient doesn’t mean simply holding yourself up against a door as the windstorm swirls outside. It means going outdoors and braving the elements, fighting against the forces that threaten you. The business landscape is changing, and so must we. We need to be the children of shoemakers with the sturdiest shoes on our feet.

 

Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, is IMA president and CEO. He also is a member of IMA’s Bergen-Rockland-Meadowlands Chapter. You can reach Jeff at jthomson@imanet.org or follow him on Twitter: @IMA_JeffThomson.
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