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My 50 Years and Counting

By Dale L. Flesher, CMA, CFM, CPA
March 1, 2019
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I recently received my IMA® 50-year pin, and it brought back memories. My first chapter meeting was in 1968. I had just completed my master’s degree from Ball State University and had been asked to stay on as a faculty member.

 

Paul Parkison, my former professor, asked me to accompany him and other faculty to the monthly meeting of the North Central Indiana Chapter of NAA (National Association of Accountants). I immediately saw several familiar faces. I had worked as a summer intern at Anaconda Wire and Cable Company, and five of the accountants were at the meeting. I felt comfortable right away.

 

A year later, I was on the board of directors as chapter manuscript director, responsible for encouraging members to submit manuscripts to the NAA journal, then called Management Accounting. No one told me that if none of the other chapter members submitted manuscripts, I had to write and submit them. For the next four years, I wrote two per year. Eventually I published about 15 articles in Management Accounting, Strategic Finance, and Management Accounting Quarterly. Five won a Lybrand Certificate of Merit. (That first directorship position was partly responsible for starting my long career of publishing articles on accounting. Now, 50 years later, I’ve published more than 500 articles in more than 100 accounting journals, and I’ve written 50 books.)

 

EARNING MY CMA

 

In 1970, I started my Ph.D. program at the University of Cincinnati and stayed on the board until I moved to Boone, N.C., in 1973 and joined the Catawba Valley Chapter. Members of the chapter were early supporters of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program and encouraged me to sit for the exam. I made plans to take the December 1974 exam, which was five parts given over two-and-a-half days via pencil and paper. I was working on my doctoral dissertation and had no time to study, so I decided to take it without studying. I wanted to take the exam before I forgot the material I had learned in my quantitative courses. Fortunately, I passed all five parts on my first try, even receiving an award for achieving one of the 10 highest scores. I became CMA No. 178. Then chapter officers asked me to teach a CMA review course, so I did. By the end of 1976, the 100-member Catawba Valley Chapter had a dozen CMAs!

 

In 1977, I moved to the University of Mississippi so my wife could get her doctorate. I immediately joined IMA’s Tupelo Chapter. I served another year as manuscript director and then became a vice president. By 1980 I was chapter president. Then I was asked to serve on various IMA committees, and eventually I joined the IMA Global Board of Directors and the Stuart Cameron McLeod Society (SCMS). I even bought a McLeod pattern plaid bowtie and cummerbund to wear to the annual dinner meetings. The start of those meetings with the bagpipers playing has always been inspirational.

 

Some of the committees I served on were the Committee on Academic Relations, National Marketing Committee, Management Accounting Committee, Education Committee, Professional Development Committee, and the Foundation for Accounting Research. (A few of those committee names changed over the years.)

 

I also conducted several research projects that were funded by IMA, the largest of which resulted in a 1984 book titled The New Product Decision, which was published jointly by IMA and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada. It explained how 17 product managers used management accounting information to make the decision to introduce a new product. (Kathy Williams edited it, and she is now editor-in-chief emeritus of Strategic Finance.)

 

I continued teaching CMA review courses, and since I had so much material, I decided to write a CMA Review textbook. After several publishers told me the market for such a book was too small, Irvin Gleim called and said he would like to coauthor the book with me and publish it under his CPA Review imprint, Gleim Publications, Inc. Gleim CPA Review was the biggest name in CPA Review providers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gleim’s publication of a CMA review book helped make the CMA a recognized professional accounting certification, comparable to the CPA. IMA has given me so much over the years, but I believe we contributed to the growth of the CMA program with an organized means of studying for the CMA exam.

 

As IMA’s centennial approaches, I’m proud to say I’ve been a member of the organization, and a contributor, for more than half that period. I truly value all my IMA experiences and service, especially what I’ve learned from everyone and everything. IMA is a place to meet great, knowledgeable people. Keep paying your dues, and maybe someday you’ll receive a 50-year pin with a diamond chip in it. I wear mine proudly.

 

Dale L. Flesher, CMA, CFM, CPA, Ph.D., is professor of accountancy and associate dean of the school of accountancy at the University of Mississippi. He also holds the Roland & Sheryl Burns Chair in Accountancy. You can reach him at acdlf@olemiss.edu.
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