During a recent business trip to the US, I attended CIMA's first ever networking event held for members in New York. One of the subjects we discussed was the merits of being a lawyer compared with those of being an accountant. Although there was little debate about which profession was more socially useful, we all agreed that lawyers are far more forthright when it comes to giving their opinions. The conversation reinforced my belief that management accountants must ensure that they aren't the shrinking violets of the professional classes.
CIMA members spend a great deal of time and effort gaining skills that can add enormous value to our organisations, but we should make a point of promoting our own worth--all too often we hide our light under a bushel. Management accountants may be extremely talented, but, perversely, they often fail to ensure that their ideas go beyond the walls of the finance department.
The institute does its utmost to promote the value of management accounting. But to provide real evidence of this value, its members also need to step up to the plate. They must not be afraid to give their opinion and demonstrate how they can make a difference. If a company is blind to the true value that management accounting can bring to an organisation, then surely it is up to CIMA members to help employers see the light.
Recent research from the CIMA Centre of Excellence has concluded that business partnering is the future for many management accountants. As business partners, CIMA members will need to think even more about lead indicators and predictive information. These roles require not only strong analytical skills but also the confidence to comment, provide insight and model the future. That's where our greatest strengths come in. In predicting future trends, we can quantify risk and improve performance and risk management. But we also risk losing our status as true business partners if these skills are not used to their full effect.
Of course, the development of business partnering isn't to everyone's...