IMA revamps competency framework for accountants to stress tech skills

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The Institute of Management Accountants has updated its Management Accounting Competency Framework to keep pace with changing technology and business skills.

The framework includes six domains of knowledge, skills and abilities that finance and accounting professionals need to stay relevant in the digital age. The IMA has been updating its training curriculum and exam for its Certified Management Accountant credential to reflect greater demand for technology skills in the accounting field (see IMA plans to update CMA exam with more of a tech focus).

To develop the enhanced framework, the IMA analyzed the emerging competencies needed by management accountants and developed a draft of an enhanced Management Accounting Competency Framework. A draft version of the enhanced framework was available for public comment from June through September of last year. After reviewing the feedback it received, the IMA has now published a final version of the updated framework, offering it as guidance for skills assessment, career development and talent management within the profession.

“At IMA, we are excited to lead the industry in identifying and publishing critical competencies for the finance and accounting profession,” said IMA president and CEO Jeff Thomson in a statement. “We analyzed existing and emerging competencies needed by management accountants today in order to update the Competency Framework. This work was fully vetted and validated by industry professionals to ensure accuracy and relevancy.”

Some of the domains in the Competency Framework were renamed to reflect a wider array of skills:

Strategy, planning and performance: This domain's eight competencies guide professionals in leading strategic planning performance, assessing the current state of the business and planning for the future.

Reporting and control: The seven competencies in this domain give accountants the tools to measure and report their organization's performance in compliance with relevant standards and obligations.

Technology and analytics: The four competencies in this domain demonstrate how data can help improve a business's analytics and how technology can move the organization forward.

Business acumen and operations: This domain's four competencies display how professionals can work cross-functionally across the business to transform operations throughout the organization

Leadership: This domain's seven competencies help professionals become leaders and build and guide their teams to reach personal and organizational goals.

Professional ethics and values: This new domain has three competencies asking accountants to demonstrate their professional values, ethical behavior and legal compliance for their careers and businesses to be ethical and sustainable.

"It is important for management accountants to have the proper skills to do their jobs,” stated Debbie Warner, vice president of education and career services at IMA. “It is even more important that they do their jobs in an ethical manner in line with their core values, which is why the Professional Ethics and Values domain was added to the Competency Framework."

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Certified Management Accountants Accounting education Professional development Jeff Thomson IMA