IMA releases Management Accounting Competency Framework at conference

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The Institute of Management Accountants unveiled an exposure draft of its enhanced Management Accounting Competency Framework at the kickoff of its annual conference Sunday in Indianapolis.

The IMA is improving its Competency Framework to reflect the skills that management accountants will need to stay relevant in the future, by demonstrating familiarity with technologies such as blockchain, machine learning and robotics process automation.

To demonstrate the importance of robotic technologies, a robot appeared onstage alongside IMA president and CEO Jeff Thomson. The conference kicked off the IMA’s year-long 100th anniversary celebration.

“The framework update is part of our 100th anniversary focus to look ahead and prepare for the future,” said Thomson. “We now know that today’s management accounting professional will be tasked with making decisions outside the realm of what once were traditional competencies. We believe this upgraded Competency Framework will provide a map for management accountants.”

The Framework includes six domains of core skills the IMA believes finance and accounting professionals will need for the future, many of which are already included in the curriculum for the IMA’s Certified Management Accountant credential: strategic management; reporting and control; technology and analytics; leadership; business acumen and operations; and professional values and ethics.

Some other new competencies added to the framework include strategic management, data analytics, data governance, data visualization, professional ethics and values.

“Our profession is undergoing significant change,” said Thomson. “As some tasks traditionally done by accountants are automated, there’s a significant opportunity for management accountants to take on strategic roles within their organizations. This Framework can help organizations steer talent management and hiring decisions, while professionals can prepare to reach their full potential.”

The Competency Framework is open for comment. The IMA is encouraging practitioners, academics and other constituents to provide feedback on it through Sept. 17, 2018 by visiting

Also on Sunday at the conference, the IMA announced its Century Student Scholarship Fund to support high-achieving students who are pursuing an education in accounting and finance careers. The IMA’s 100th anniversary celebration will culminate at the next annual conference, which will be held in San Diego in 2019. More information about the IMA's year-long centennial celebration can be found at

“When I reflect on how far we've come, it's clear that IMA’s longevity and strength come from continuously innovating new programs and services that benefit members,” said Thomson. “It’s inspiring that many of these innovations are owed to the engagement and expertise of our vibrant IMA community.”

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Certified Management Accountants Training Robotics Jeff Thomson IMA