This article is written by Christian Cuzick, chair of IMA's Global Board of Directors for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Accounting and finance teams within organizations have traditionally concentrated on value stewardship, financial reporting, and compliance. Oversight and hindsight were the focus of these roles. Oversight includes resource allocation and ensuring a healthy financial profile for future investment. Hindsight involves looking back to positively influence the future.
While oversight and hindsight will continue to remain key responsibilities, research conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants and its peers found a shift to higher-value-added, strategic activities and away from lower-value-added, day-to-day operational ones. The evolving responsibilities of finance now include value creation and serving as strategically oriented business partners. They also include providing insight, which means turning information into intelligence, and foresight, which consists of anticipating the future.
Having acknowledged the critical role of management accounting in facilitating China's efforts to restructure its economy and transit to a high-quality innovation-driven economy and in line with the central leadership's call for supply-side reforms, the Ministry of Finance of China published the Guiding Opinions on Comprehensively Promoting the Construction of the Management Accounting System in 2014. It also published the Basic Guidance for Management Accounting in 2016.
The guidance implementation has made management accounting adopted by a wider scope of organizations in China, particularly State-owned enterprises looking to "go global" and gain market share in an increasingly competitive and complex business environment with international standards. For example, IMA has partnered with Chem-China, China South Industries Group, Power Construction Corporation of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ping An Group, Haier Group and many other leading corporations in training and developing management accounting talent in the country. Locally developed advanced management accounting practices, such as Haier's Win-Win Value Added Approach, are gaining increasing popularity worldwide.
That said, the accounting and finance profession is facing tremendous challenges in the digital age with a changing business landscape and advances in disruptive technologies. It means the automation of lower-level, more routine tasks have enabled the finance function to deploy resources on higher-value-added, partnering activities. With this changing role, management accountants will need to increase their skills, acquire new competencies and proficiencies.
IMA has a long track record of research and well-proven products and services, such as the Certified Management Accountant program, the Management Accounting Competency Framework, Statements on Management Accounting and the award-winning Strategic Finance magazine, to ensure professionals and organizations deliver excellence in the digital age.
Every year on May 6, IMA celebrates International Management Accounting Day to show appreciation for the accountants and financial professionals who do their part to enable ethically sound, value-driven organizations benefiting the public interest.
With a 100-year history of management accounting innovation and insight, IMA will make every effort to prepare professionals not just for today, but also for tomorrow, and to build a better ecosystem for individuals, organizations and society in China and the rest of the world.