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Driving Change through Continuous Learning

By Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE
September 1, 2021

Despite the massive challenges—on economic, social, political, and personal levels—that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the positives that has emerged is the surge in continuous learning and growth.

 

This interest in learning shows no signs of abating. According to a recent LinkedIn study, which surveyed more than 5,100 professionals from 27 countries, two-thirds of respondents said they will use learning and development to rebuild their organizations. Sixty-four percent agreed that learning has shifted from “nice to have” to a “must-have.”

 

Continuous learning and upskilling will drive change within organizations, requiring inventive approaches to existing and upcoming challenges. IMA® is, and has been, equipping our members to succeed in this new environment of continuous learning, providing comprehensive and innovative learning when our members need it the most.

 

IMA members enjoy a multitude of options to ensure they remain ahead of the curve in this new “culture of learning.” Over the past year, we’ve grown our educational offerings in critical management accounting competencies such as technology and analytics, strategy management, leadership, ethics, and other accounting-relevant topics. Recognizing our members’ need for professional guidance in a remote environment, we’ve increased our career service and leadership events, many of them offered virtually for the foreseeable future. We’ve also maintained our laser focus on increasing the value of membership by offering a growing number of complimentary educational products. This past fiscal year we offered 155 free continuing professional education (CPE) credits, nearly 50% more than last year. And starting July 2021, all ethics courses became complimentary member benefits.

 

The array of options we provide to support members on their learning journey keeps growing. Our Education and Career Services team developed and launched more than 70 new English-language products this past fiscal year, including 66 online courses and six IMA Leadership Academy programs, as well as dozens of free new podcasts and webinars. Our China Education Team continues to expand its online courses, now totaling nearly 200, with new WeChat courses, and events and courses through a network of approved review course providers and IMA Elite Clubs. Other regional highlights include CPE and leadership events in Europe, the Middle East, India, and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

At the heart of driving change through continuous learning is IMA’s CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), the globally respected and recognized certification that, among other things, demonstrates a commitment to professional growth. CMAs are required to earn 30 hours of CPE every year, including two in ethics. Continuous learning has always been at the center of what we do at IMA.

 

What areas of continuous learning can you explore that will both improve your own career outlook and drive change within your organization? I encourage you to make continuous learning part of your personal new normal. The world needs leaders like you more than ever.

 

Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, is IMA president and CEO. He also is a member of IMA’s Bergen-Rockland-Meadowlands Chapter. You can reach Jeff at jthomson@imanet.org or follow him on Twitter: @IMA_JeffThomson.
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