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The finance profession is changing rapidly, earning CGMA designation will help you future-proof your career

Accounting and finance professionals have come a long way from being an organisation’s number-crunchers and bookkeepers. Today they are at the heart of the business decision-making process, actively planning their company’s strategy and future growth plans.

Because of this, every finance professional must now take steps to future-proof their career, remain relevant and tap into the opportunities the new business reality offers. They must develop a greater awareness of trends and changes in other parts of the business, as well as how regulatory or digital changes impact their work.

One professional who values career development is Asita Thakrar, Finance Director for a large private sector organisation. Despite having built a successful finance career for over two decades, and being CPA-qualified and a chartered accountant, Thakrar remains motivated to keep learning and stay relevant. The past three years have been a time of great uncertainty and disruption, as well as a period when the profession has been changed by rapid digitalisation, but Thakrar feels positive about the future. She credits The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA®) for giving her the professional advantage to push her career in the direction she wants to go.

In 2021, Thakrar earned her Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA®) designation, the most widely held management accounting qualification in the world, which was created back in 2012 by CIMA and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This signifies that she has high level finance skills, a deep understanding of technical accounting and strong leadership skills. It also shows that she is prepared to embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by digitalisation and rapid technological changes at every level across the business.

She achieved the CGMA designation by completing the Global C-Suite Programme. This is an intense but rewarding study programme open to all CFOs, CEOs and senior management staff who wish to elevate their professional standing. Through this programme, candidates attend a CIMA revision workshop to prepare for the final capstone exam of CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification, the Strategic Case Study exam. Upon successful completion of the exam and fulfilling the practical experience requirements, candidates become CIMA members and CGMA designation holders.

CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification

CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification covers three strategic pillars of learning: enterprise, performance and financial.

The enterprise pillar focuses on the finance function’s role and how it interacts with the organisation through data and technology. It covers topics including business models and managing people and projects to achieve organisational goals.

The performance pillar teaches candidates to use management accounting and risk management tools and techniques to ensure the business strategy is realistic and to monitor its implementation. It develops a learner’s understanding of costs so they can construct budgets, make decisions about prices and capital expenditure, as well as manage performance. It also teaches the skills to identify, classify, evaluate and manage risk progressively.

The financial pillar focuses on understanding an organisation’s financial accounting and reporting obligations. This includes understanding the regulatory framework and developing the ability to construct and evaluate complex financial statements. It covers business tax fundamentals and the tax implications of financing decisions.

“The programme has made me efficient in business decisions, prominent thinking and enhanced my problem-solving approach with a higher level of confidence in commercial finance business partnering”, Thakrarr said. After completing the programme, she understood “how a business runs sustainably with a 360-degree evaluation of the effects of strategic decision-making and controls”.

Layered across the three pillars are modules to help candidates become more confident in using their finance and leadership skills to steer their organisation to sustainable success. These include modules such as sustainability reporting and cyber security.

”These modules are of immense importance in today’s world”, Thakrarr said. “Compared to traditional accounting and reporting [where we report financial results for a year or any particular period], sustainable financial reporting makes more sense today because it spotlights the future and long-term viability of the business. It also focuses on non-financial aspects such as the effects on pollution and the environment for a business. The governing laws around these are very interesting!”

Future-proofing your career

Thakrar is confident that earning her CGMA designation has prepared her to take her career to new heights:

“The designation has that dynamism to allow me to cope with the rapidly changing financial professional world. I have seen organisations going through rapid transformations that are of immense importance. But, at the same time, if not carried out well, transformations can become failures, contributing not only to monetary losses but also loss of employee morale and motivations. We, as qualified CGMA designation holder, are there to make sure the right strategy is planned and implemented within the specified time frame to avoid compromises on quality and timeline.”

She added, “In a nutshell, CGMA is everything you need at the current stage of life if you are looking into a complete revamp of your career and confidence!”

Find out more about studying with CIMA here.

About The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Founded in 1919, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA®) is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. As part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants®, CIMA and its members and students operate in 196 countries and territories, working at the heart of business — in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its professional qualification and professional experience requirements to ensure it remains the employer’s choice when recruiting financially trained business leaders.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and AICPA & CIMA

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants® (the Association) represents AICPA® & CIMA®. We advance the global accounting and finance profession through our work on behalf of 689,000 AICPA and CIMA members, students and engaged professionals in 196 countries and territories. Together, we are the worldwide leader on public and management accounting issues through advocacy, support for the CPA license, the CGMA designation and specialised credentials, professional development and thought leadership. We build trust by empowering our members and engaged professionals with the knowledge and opportunities to be leaders in broadening prosperity for a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient future.


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