IMA Life: A Life-Changing TourBy
There’s one clear moment in my life that definitively contributed to who I am as an accounting professional. It came during my sophomore year at Murray State University, where I participated in our school’s International Experience in Accounting in the United Kingdom.
The program aimed to expose accounting students to the global opportunities available within public accounting. As part of the program, we had a joint activity with the engineering department to visit and tour a manufacturing plant. From this tour, a passion for the manufacturing industry and my interest in a different career path were born.
After that “epiphany experience,” I had two career goals I wanted to achieve: (1) to work for an international manufacturing company, and (2) to skip the “required” two- to five-year stint in public accounting. To find out more about how to achieve these goals, I researched senior-level accounting and finance job descriptions. During this research, I kept coming across references to the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.
The more I learned about the CMA, the more it intrigued me, as financial planning, decision analysis, and strategic financial management were areas that had always interested me. I also learned that IMA® was an internationally recognized organization, something that appealed to me, given my experience in the U.K. These two components confirmed my new career path in management accounting and my confidence in my chosen career plan.
It’s been 10 years since that manufacturing tour, and I’m happy to say I’ve achieved my initial career goals. Currently, I work for a global bus manufacturer as a key partner to operations. In this role, I help my organization achieve its mission to be an adaptable parts company that can “Move the People” both in good and bad economic times.
IMA continues to be a key driver in my success as a professional due to its emphasis on continuing education and volunteering within the many layers of the organization. I especially appreciate IMA’s focus on developing new certificates and courses for accounting and financial management professionals, such as the new certificate course on data analytics and visualization. IMA courses have prepared me to take advantage of new career paths and navigate my organization’s strategic goals.
I’ve also enjoyed opportunities to volunteer with IMA at the local chapter and council levels. My experiences as treasurer and now president of the Louisville Chapter have developed my leadership skills and exposed me to working with a diverse group of individuals who not only have a different personal background from me, but different careers as well.
As an IMA member, I can confidently work to achieve my personal career goals and also understand how changes in a process will not only affect financial statements but also how these decisions will impact the company as it works to achieve current and new strategic goals. Thanks, IMA.