Accounting and finance professionals have come a long way from being an organisation’s number-crunchers and bookkeepers. Today, they are actively planning their company’s strategy and future growth plans.
Because of this evolution, they need a greater awareness of trends and changes in other parts of the business and how regulatory or digital changes impact their work. As technology continues to evolve, it’s up to the individual to future-proof their career, remain relevant and tap into opportunities to advance beyond finance.
One professional who values career development is Asita Thakrar, Finance Director for a confidential oraganization. Despite having a successful finance career of over two decades and being CPA-qualified and a chartered accountant, Asita remains motivated to keep learning to stay relevant. In 2022, during a time of rapid digitalisation across the industry and during uncertainty, she is positive and inspired for her career’s future.
Asita credits The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA®) for giving her the professional advantage to push her career in the direction she aims.
In 2021, she achieved the CIMA-qualified CGMA® (Chartered Global Management Accountant®), designation. This signifies that Thakar deeply understands technical accounting and finance skills and how digitalisation and rapid technological changes create challenges and opportunities at every level across the business.
She did this by completing the CIMA Professional Qualification through the Global C-Suite Programme, an intense but rewarding programme of study and exam open to all CFOs, CEOs and senior management who wish to elevate their professional standing.
CIMA is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. Founded in 1919, CIMA has evolved to help professionals gain a deep working knowledge of management accounting. CIMA courses complement existing career experience and help finance executives stay at the cutting edge of their profession. Students and members who achieve the CIMA qualification often go on to great success in both business and finance.
CIMA courses cover 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. Topics cover business models and managing people and projects to achieve organisational goals.
The performance pillar uses management accounting and risk management tools and techniques to ensure the strategy is realistic and to monitor its implementation. It shows an understanding of costs to construct budgets, make decisions about prices and capital expenditure, manage costs and manage performance. It also develops the skills to identify, classify, evaluate and manage risk progressively.
The financial pillar focuses on the organisation’s financial accounting and reporting obligations. This includes understanding the regulatory framework and external reporting requirements and the ability to construct and evaluate complex financial statements. It covers business tax fundamentals and the tax implications of financing decisions.
‘The course 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’, Asita said. 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 those on the course become more confident in using their financial insight to steer the wider business of their organisation to sustainable success in 2022 and beyond. These include modules such as sustainability reporting and cyber security.
‘These modules are of immense importance in today’s world’, Asita 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!’
Asita's confidence and enthusiasm for her role, her professional future, and all she’s learned through CIMA are apparent. Despite the world being in a state of rapid change and uncertainty, she’s positive, thanks to her knowledge.
‘CIMA has that dynamism to allow me to cope with the rapidly changing financial professional world’, she said. ‘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 CIMA members, are there to make sure the right strategy is planned and implemented within the specified time frame to avoid compromises on quality and timeline’.
Studying alongside work and personal commitments is no easy feat. But Asita said that ‘CIMA is worth all the effort you put into it. CIMA will convert your hard work into confidence, expertise, financial and technical career growth and more. In the current times of diversity and dynamism, CIMA comes as a complete package to boost knowledge and expand your thinking. It gives you the best opportunity to grow financially and as a complete career advancement’.
She added, ‘In a nutshell, CIMA is everything you need at the current stage of life if you are looking into a complete revamp of your career and confidence!’