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IMA Life: Filling the Gap

By Li Gong, CMA, CPA, PMP
November 1, 2020
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The last decade has seen the tremendous growth of management accounting consulting in China, and I’m very lucky and proud to be a part of it.

 

Ten years ago, after I finished my master’s degree in economics, I entered one of the Big 4 accounting firms and started my career. Working in public accounting equipped me with sufficient professional knowledge, courage, and confidence to face any challenge in front of me. As an auditor, however, I found that I couldn’t impact the deeper demands of my clients in their management operations. I wanted to help my clients be more effective and efficient when allocating or utilizing resources, not just ensure they abide by laws and regulations.

 

As a result, I joined a leading local management consulting firm, where I worked on projects in various industries, encountered organizations with different needs, and grew with my clients. I discovered that management accounting skills, such as performance measurement, procedure optimization, budgeting, and cost control, are critical to improving the overall management level of so many organizations. In 2018, I founded my own consulting company, which specializes in management accounting and where I have even more opportunities to use these skills.

 

I was motivated in part to start my own firm after becoming a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) in 2016. Traditional accounting practices in China rely almost solely on financial accounting. In most small and medium enterprises, accountants are simply “numbers people” with no role in formulating strategy or improving operational efficiency.

 

When I first learned about the knowledge structure of the CMA exam, I immediately realized that this certification could perfectly fill the gap between financial accounting and these other, more strategic skills. IMA was among the earliest to bring the idea of management accounting to China, and although there are now several local and international competitors, it’s still the first brand when people think of management accounting.

 

During my consulting career, I’ve utilized nearly every competency that the CMA exam covers, including cash flow planning, budgeting, cost control, decision making, and more. I tell my clients to train their employees with the CMA because the skills they learn will be valuable to their companies. One of my clients, in fact, sent its entire accounting staff to learn the CMA curriculum, and more than 90% of them have passed the exams.

 

I even require all of my firm’s employees to earn the certification, and I use the IMA Management Accounting Competency Framework as a training guide and evaluation tool to help my staff with their career development. I also recommend to college students that they prepare for the CMA exam because management accounting is the “blue ocean”—something with seemingly infinite possibilities—in an accounting career.

 

I’m grateful not only for the knowledge provided by the CMA, but also for the opportunity to be a part of China’s nationwide Elite Club network. I believe management accounting is my lifelong passion, and IMA will prove to be my lifelong friend.

 

Li Gong, CMA, CPA, PMP, is the founder of Longtruth Consulting. She’s also a member of CMA Nanjing Elite Club. You can reach her at alicia.gong@longtruth.com.
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