Understanding that two is greater than one is not just a mastery of simple mathematics; it’s also a smart business practice. Forming partnerships gives organizations the opportunity to collectively grow a business purpose. This allows companies to leverage individual strengths to create a stronger brand that will ultimately offer added value to the public. In a challenging market, two is obviously better than one, and who would be more well-versed with this formula than the field of accounting?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2010 to 2020 there is a 16 percent predicted growth in employment for accountants. And with growth, come job openings. In an effort to put highly qualified people in the field and expand awareness of the certified management accountant (CMA) credential, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and Wiley, a publisher for professionals, recently formed a partnership.
“It’s not just about what you have done for me today; it’s about what you can deliver in the future in the areas of innovation, new products, mobile and social media,” said Jeff Thomson, CMA, CEO and president of IMA. “The reason we’re excited to work with Wiley is because we can envision future brands together.”
As with every partnership, there are two sides. IMA is a worldwide association for developing, certifying and connecting the world's best accountants and financial professionals working in business, and Wiley is in the publishing business with a focus on professional education. Together, they can provide the public with self-study books, study questions and expand IMA’s CMA learning system to aid in the preparation for the robust CMA exam. The learning system is essentially a portfolio of learning options that takes the content and it assigns learning outcome statements, text and questions. In other words, it’s a means to the end, the end being certification through whatever process that suits your needs.
“Graduates have lots of courses on tax, auditing and compliance, which are more backward-looking activities that are very important, but graduates don’t come out with enough forward-looking activities of planning, analysis and budgeting,” said Thomson. “That’s where certification comes into play. Certification is an additional differentiator that demonstrates competency in a certain body of knowledge like our CMA program. Quite frankly, if we want to have more qualified accountants in business helping to protect investors and drive future value then this is an additional and very critical way to assure we have the right skill sets.”
Fundamentally, this partnership is about helping individuals achieve the CMA certification. The coursework supports the learning process by preparing professionals to pass this robust rigorous exam. Wiley is on the same page as IMA in terms of reaching a broader audience and expanding the knowledge and awareness of the CMA credential to put more qualified professionals in the field.
“We’re looking forward to growing this program with the help of IMA,” said David Pugh, vice president and publisher at Wiley. “We want to get the CMA designation on the minds of students as they’re coming out of school and on the minds of early accountants as they’re looking at their career and moving forward. Setting the CMA down as an obvious marker in an accountant’s career is the end goal for us.”
The beauty of this partnership is not just about the co-marketing that is taking place, but it’s about envisioning and delivering brand new products to learners and the marketplace. This future-forward mindset is essentially guiding the two companies in their quest to decrease the skills gap in the accounting industry. Through continuing education and certification, accounting professionals will be better prepared to guide businesses through the turbulent economic market.
“We genuinely believe that having more CMAs in the world results in more investors that are better protected and organizations who are able to create greater value in very competitive and challenging economic times,” said Thomson. “We want more certified and qualified people ethically guiding organizations, but we can’t get there unless we expand our footprint. We’re going to work really hard putting structures in place to make this an incredible success. Time will tell, this is the world of business after all. But we believe that growth, respect and influence kind of all go together. I think we will see some steady progress once we’ve laid the foundation.”
Michelle Eggleston is associate editor at TrainingIndustry.com.
Written for TrainingIndustry.com