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IMA Connections: All in the Family

By Amanda Balbi-Oeckel
June 1, 2019
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Throughout IMA’s 100-year history, the organization has served as a source of opportunities for accounting and finance professionals to grow their careers, enhance their skills, and expand their networks. It’s been a forum for members to share their passion for management accounting with other professionals in the field. For some members, that sharing also became a family affair, with that same passion for the profession being passed on from parent to child. Taking a look back, we can see the impact IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) credential have had on multiple generations within families.

 

GETTING INVOLVED

 

Al King, CMA, first joined IMA when it was the National Association of Accountants (NAA) in 1964. His involvement began in a manner typical for many members—at the urging of a coworker. “I went to my first NAA meeting in 1964 after being invited by one of my coworkers. At that time, I was new to the Racine, Wis., area and had just started a job as controller of international business at a newly started company. I met accountants from other companies at that first meeting, and my involvement in NAA—and subsequently IMA—snowballed from there.”

 

Al’s son, Thomas King, CMA, witnessed that involvement growing up and was influenced by it as well. Thomas recalls, “My dad joined NAA when I was 4 years old. We received Management Accounting, the predecessor to Strategic Finance, in the mail. I remember my dad writing articles for the magazine, noting how he worked through successive drafts to say precisely what he meant to say. I followed this approach for course papers when I went off to college. In 1974, I tagged along when my dad attended IMA’s Annual Conference in Detroit, Mich. I was impressed by the scope of the organization and of the interest members showed in managerial accounting issues.”

 

Thomas and Al King

 

Similar to Al and Thomas’s story, other members became involved with the organization through family members who were IMA members.

 

“I first became aware of NAA when I was in junior high because my dad, Dave [Van Gorp], had joined the Cedar Rapids Chapter in Iowa and attended the monthly meetings. His boss was a longtime member and leader in the chapter,” said Greg Van Gorp, CPA. “As I progressed through high school and on to college, I knew I was going to follow my dad into the accounting profession. I recall reading Management Accounting in the college library and using articles as sources for papers I had to write.”

 

Greg and Dave Van Gorp

 

Khalid Farid, CMA, CIA, shares Greg’s sentiments. “My dad [Gamaleldin Farid, CMA, CPA] is my role model in a lot of ways. He was the one to encourage me to study for the CMA certification during college. If it weren’t for him, I would not have been motivated to take this step.”

 

Khalid and Gamaleldin Farid

 

THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP

 

Seeing family members take advantage of the variety of benefits that IMA membership offers makes a lasting impact. For instance, Greg Van Gorp said that he has made many lifelong friends through IMA by following his dad’s example.

 

“It all started by watching my dad head off to dinner meetings with his accounting friends,” Greg said. “My dad was happy that I joined NAA and the Cedar Rapids Chapter. It was a big benefit for me to have my dad as a fellow member because I got to meet and know many of the members from his age group. It was a great opportunity for me to hear their stories and get to know them. I am very lucky that my dad is still around and still someone I can go to with questions.”

 

In addition to networking, IMA membership also offers a platform for knowledge sharing and continuing education. For family members, this creates another opportunity to connect and bond. Gamaleldin Farid—Khalid’s father—said, “I enjoy discussing with my son professional matters. We exchange opinions about problems that we are facing in our work. He has good judgment in addition to his professional background and exposure to international companies.”

 

Knowledge sharing also comes in the form of contributing to the IMA Chapter Competition and submitting manuscripts to the magazine. “While I was chapter president, there was great pressure for chapters to submit manuscripts on various management accounting topics,” Al King said. “Fortunately, I had a facility for writing. So, over the years, I have written many papers for IMA.” Thomas King shares that facility for writing and has written articles for Strategic Finance. His most recent article, “Evolving Investor Relations,” appeared in the February 2019 issue and earned him a bronze medal in this year’s Lybrand Awards manuscript competition.

 

CMA CERTIFICATION

 

That shared passion also extends to the desire for continuous learning and earning the CMA certification as well.

 

Al King signed up for the first-ever CMA exam in 1972 and passed, earning CMA certification No. 23. With no past exam questions to look at and little time to study, Al credits his success, in part, on the exam to having previously earned his MBA. “At that time, though, I had no idea how big of an impact the CMA exam would eventually have.”

 

Years later, Thomas King sat for the CMA exam as well: “In 1984, I sat for and passed the CMA examination, which was a proud moment. My dad’s certificate bears No. 23; mine, No. 5916.”

 

Gamaleldin Farid said he sat for the CMA to better understand product costing and pricing. His son, Khalid, sat for the exam to expand his knowledge, too. “The CMA changes the way you think and the way you handle issues either at work or in your personal life,” Khalid said. “You try to approach problems in a more scientific approach and always strive for continuous improvement. Last but not least, this created a lot of common ground between me and my dad for discussions and/or debates.”

 

Ann Keller, CMA, was encouraged to join IMA by her father, Ralph Rohde, CMA, but it was an unlikely source who sparked her interest in the CMA: “I was a staff accountant at a paper company in 2003 when the vice president of human resources asked me to become a CMA. I did not know what that was at the time but told him I would look into it. After doing some research, I found out that IMA was the organization that my father had been a member of for years. I found an online review course I could take to prepare for the examination. There were classroom review sessions right before the examination, and one of the professors spoke highly of the benefits of joining the local IMA chapter. Boy, was she right!”

 

Ann Keller and Ralph Rohde

 

ANOTHER 100 YEARS

 

The most valuable takeaway from the past 100 years of IMA history is that anyone can be a successful management accountant or business professional. You just have to listen to your mentors!

 

Ann Keller said, “Personally, I am grateful that my father encouraged me to give accounting a try. I went back to school for two years full time to get my associate degree, and then I took night classes until I received my bachelor’s degree. While it wasn’t always easy, I always felt support from my parents and have felt that my accounting career has given me the freedom to enjoy what I do at work and feel like I really make a difference!”

 

Finally, take their advice: “What I learned from my dad is that there is no one way to value something,” Thomas King said. “Accounting measurement is context-specific. What I took away from my dad is that accounting is a process to help us make better decisions, not to find a precise answer to an imaginary textbook problem. This interaction led me to want to become part of the IMA community.”


Three Generations Strong

 

For former IMA Chair Brian McGuire, CMA, membership in the organization is a family matter that spans three generations. It began with his father, Frank McGuire, who joined IMA in 1961 and was involved with multiple Birmingham, Ala., chapters.

 

Then Brian got involved while studying for his undergraduate degree: “My father had been a member for a number of years, and I was getting ready to graduate. He suggested I join IMA as a way of increasing my network in the business world. So I did; I joined as a student, and when I graduated, I was elected to the board of the IMA Mobile Chapter. I made a lot of successful contacts.”

 

One of his new contacts encouraged him to get more involved in the organization: “One of my friends from the IMA Mobile Chapter was a professor at the university where I received my undergraduate degree, so he got me more active in the board. I became president of my local chapter within five years of getting my undergraduate degree. We went on that year to win the Remington Rand Award, which is given to the runner-up in the Stevenson Division competition.”

 

After holding these chapter positions, Brian went on to sit on numerous committees and worked his way up to Chair of IMA’s Global Board of Directors for the 2011-2012 year—the same year that Frank celebrated 50 years of membership: “I actually was able to give my dad his 50-year membership certificate when I was incoming Chair in 2011, which was neat to be a part of.”

 

In terms of passing on his legacy and commitment to IMA, Brian then turned to his son Andrew McGuire. Though Andrew received his undergraduate degree in computer information systems, he was encouraged to join IMA after returning to school for an MBA. Brian said, “When he came back to get his MBA, he joined both Beta Alpha Psi and our IMA student chapter. He’s also planning to sit for the CMA® exam. From a leadership perspective, I know a lot of our graduates have gotten their accounting degrees and then get involved in the local chapter. Before you know it, they’re officers in their local chapters. They say in hindsight, that’s really helped them throughout their career to be able to have those leadership opportunities at an early age, where they might not get it elsewhere.”

 

Brian and Andrew McGuire

 

Though Andrew might not remember it, he attended his first IMA Annual Conference when he was only 3 years old. Brian and his wife often attended the Conference together, and in 1998 they brought along their young son as well.

 

“He’s the third generation of my family to be an IMA member. My wife, my son, and I will all be attending the 100th Anniversary Conference this year.

 

“IMA has been such a great organization for not only me, but my whole family. One of the great things about IMA compared with other organizations I’m involved with is that IMA is more than a professional organization, it’s more than just a CMA exam—it’s almost like a family. I’ve made many friendships through the networking process that end up lasting for years, decades. And I think that’s true with a lot of our members,” Brian said.

 

For some members he knows, those friendships have developed into more: “I know of a few different couples who’ve met their future spouses at an IMA meeting. I don’t know if you see that at other professional organizations, at least not to the extent I’ve seen it at IMA. So there’s a personal aspect of membership.”

 

Over the years and through the generations, IMA has grown from a small organization into a global association and will continue to raise the standard for the management accounting profession.

 

“IMA is a great organization. Not many organizations make it to 100 years. And if you look at our accomplishments over the last 100 years, it’s been amazing. It’s a credit to the organization, it’s a benefit to the profession, and I look forward to the next 100 years. IMA’s best days are ahead. We have a lot of great opportunities that I hope others will be able to take advantage of,” Brian concluded.

 

From Frank to Brian to Andrew, the McGuires have been a part of IMA for more than half its history, and they look to continue that involvement for many years to come. It’s been a memorable legacy for both the family and the organization.


 

Amanda Balbi-Oeckel is a freelance author and frequent contributor to Strategic Finance. She can be reached at aoeckel.ima@gmail.com.
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