Managerial accountants take to the ring!

Our friend Blackswan writes:
I came across this article which I think it’s relevant to a lot of us and may influence a lot of people’s plans.
On May 23, 2011, the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) decided to joint efforts and promote a common designation with the hopes that it will become the new standard of excellence in management accounting, the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant).
The AICPA-CIMA joint venture will  have the backing of both accounting bodies and all of their resources: the strength and resources the AICPA in North America with CIMA’s presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
According to CIMA President George Glass said: “We are delighted that management accountancy is to be given a strong new global impetus by this joint venture.  This advances our strategic aims and will ensure management accountants, committed to strict ethical standards, will receive world-class support in a fast-globalizing world.”
The designation will not ready until January of 2012, and AICPA voting members with at least three years of experience in managerial accounting or a financial management role, would qualify –presumably- without having to take the exam.
Here are some of my thoughts:
  • This is not the first time the AICPA has tried to expand and cover more industries.  The AICPA came up with PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) designation a few years ago in order to compete with the CFP (Certified Financial Planner), the golden standard for personal financial planning.
  • There is already a well established credential for cost accountants, the CMA (Certified Managerial Accountant). I looked at their curriculum, and it makes a lot of sense and it’s constantly being updated. To the surprise of many, the CMA is the golden standard for all accountants in Asia and Africa, while the CPA is usually viewed as less prestigious in those regions. The main problem with IMA, the accounting body behind the CMA, is that they have done a horrific job of promoting the designation in North America, and thus, it is relatively unknown.
  •  I spoke to a few public accounting managers and partners during two networking events last week, and 9 out of 10 said that the designation is just another way for the AICPA  to make  more money and it’s essentially useless.
What do you guys think?



About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.

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