The Institute of Management Accountants has appointed Alex C. Eng, vice president of U.S. corporate finance at EDF Renewable Energy in San Diego, as the new chair of its global board of directors for fiscal year 2017-2018.

Eng has been a member of the IMA since 2003 and has already served two terms on the IMA’s board of directors, including the Performance Oversight and Audit Committee. He also chaired the Audit Subcommittee. He plans to get more involved internationally.

“In general I think we are in an interesting time in the evolution of the management accounting industry,” he told Accounting Today. “The traditional models of not only education, but of professional credentialing are continually changing. Students and professionals now have various options that extend beyond national boundaries. Businesses are becoming a lot more global, and our membership is becoming a lot more global, so my primary objective over the next 12 months is continuing to encourage our senior leadership team and assisting them in whatever way I can as the ultimate representative of our members, to continue building on our successes of our global organization, building on the successes of every member.”

IMA chair Alex Eng
IMA chair Alex Eng Courtesy of the Institute of Management Accountants

Before joining EDF Renewable Energy, Eng worked as controller at a telecommunications service company and a defense contractor. He has also worked as a tax manager and auditor. Eng is also an attorney, and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and the U.S. Tax Court.

As the new chair, Eng plans to participate in IMA member events both locally and abroad. He recently visited the IMA’s office in the Middle East.

“Management accounting is at a critical juncture,” said IMA president and CEO Jeff Thomson in a statement. “Digital innovations are rapidly changing the skills professionals need to provide value in business. There’s no better person to lead IMA in this time of change than Alex. His global background and dedication to management accounting are unmatched, and we’re looking forward to leveraging his expertise.”

The IMA is now competing against the American Institute of CPAs more on an international level, now that the AICPA has teamed up with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants to form the Association of International CPAs. But Eng sees ways in which the IMA and the AICPA can work hand in hand.

“With all accounting organizations we promote the joint cause of our profession together,” he said. “We are first and foremost in the same space to serve the accounting profession and the accounting industry. As to where and how that collaboration takes place, I personally defer that to our CEO and his senior leadership team. We do common things with the AIPCA. Both of us are the U.S.-based members of IFAC [the International Federation of Accountants], so there are a lot of complementary events and objectives that we share, but at the same time we also are in a place where we go after similar members, and we offer values to our members in different and similar ways. In some ways, we are competitors, but first and foremost we’re organizations and associations that serve our members and serve the management accounting profession. I think there are a lot of complementary attributes between both organizations that we can maximize and share in.”

Eng’s work in the renewable energy industry could also advance the IMA’s involvement in sustainability accounting.

“I know our CEO is personally involved and I support his involvement with various sustainability reporting thought papers and initiatives,” said Eng. “I know we have an ongoing relationship with various industry and public standard setting boards, SASB [the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board] and COSO [the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission], although that relationship is more on the professional side where we are working on behalf of our members to provide some visibility into where the market is going, or where reporting trends are going.”

He sees financial reporting increasingly growing to embrace sustainability information. “At the end of the day, financial reporting is not financial reporting as we know of 10 or 20 years ago,” said Eng. “Financial reporting is continually evolving, and what we’ve seen with statutory evolution in the last 10 years or so, especially in European jurisdictions, but in some North American jurisdictions as well, is that sustainability reporting, and sustainability as a whole, is becoming more and more relevant on management accountants’ minds and companies.”

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.