IMA Life: CMA: Elevating my CareerBy
I was living in Campinas, Brazil, when I graduated college with an economics degree and started working in cost accounting for AB InBev. For almost six years I performed a variety of activities, including month-end close, managerial and cost accounting, intercompany and transfer pricing, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and internal control implementations while also managing budgeting, forecasting, and reporting for manufacturing operations.
As I progressed in my career, I realized that colleagues who had achieved great success had completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree abroad. This led me to pursue an MBA in the United States. Upon graduation, I accepted a job in the U.S. with Deloitte & Touche LLP in its Risk and Financial Advisory controllership practice focusing on costs and profitability.
The MBA contributed to aspects of my development and personal growth, such as exposure to marketing, IT, logistics, communication; networking with people from all over the world; and living in two countries (U.S. and China). But my work as a consultant required additional finance and accounting skills.
Many individuals encouraged me to sit for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam, but I had no aspiration to become a public accountant. The CPA wasn’t a good fit for my long-term career plan. At the same time, I became aware of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, which was an ideal fit for me as it provided the technical skills I was looking for and was in line with my long-term career goals. While studying for the exam, I was able to immediately apply the CMA content in my day-to-day work, and this gave me confidence that I was on the right path.
There are two major instances in which the CMA enabled me to carry out my work more effectively and at a higher standard. The first was a project with a multinational manufacturing company that was seeking to increase its profitability through cost transparency and cost reduction. We assisted this company in its selection of the best cost method (actual costing, activity-based costing, job order costing, or standard costing) and with the proper allocation of costs, expenses, and overhead.
The second instance was a project where we advised a company in the implementation of the new lease standard by recording the off-balance-sheet lease obligations on the balance sheet. In both situations, the CMA provided me with the skills to deliver a wider range of projects covering a broader spectrum of my needs as a consultant from financial transformation through technical accounting.
To go full circle, I come from a family of teachers and have always wanted to do some volunteer work in the education space. With that in mind, I joined the Exam Review Committee of ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) where I’ll be assisting with testing and validation of new questions for the CMA exam.
The CMA has positively affected many aspects of my life. Now I’m excited to see what the future holds.