How, when and why did you join IMA and become a CMA?
I became an IMA member in 2006. My boss was from the UK and a strong supporter of accounting certifications. The CMA exam offered it all: a relevant curriculum, accessible as well as flexible exam dates and locations and being an IFAC member body. I thought that this exam should be a fine thing to do. I was definitely right. I finished my CMA in 2008 and recommend it to anyone in a relevant professional role.
How has your membership and CMA certification impacted your career/life?
IMA and the CMA certification have opened many doors to me. I was able to establish a great network of professional contacts: from IMA’s local partner, the Controller Institut to universities as well as to IMA’s global board of which I am currently a member. Being active in this associations pays off in many ways.
In my professional life I use the CMA body of knowledge on a daily basis and my employers value this knowledge highly. I was recently promoted to the role of commercial director and I contribute to that also the knowledge and skills I gained from taking the CMA exam.
Why did you choose a global certification instead of pursuing a local one? And what have been your experiences with this certification here in Europe?
One reason was that accounting certifications in my home country (Austria) have strict access requirements. You can go down that route only if you have work experience either with an officially registered tax consultant or auditor. As I started a corporate career right out of business school I could not access any local certifications.
Another reason was that it is really important to look beyond what is being done locally. I do appreciate the local and high standards of cost accounting / controlling but knowing both international and local standards gives you an edge in your financial competence.
You are the vice-president of the Austrian Chapter and, furthermore, since June, you are also on IMA's Global Board of Directors. What has been your motivation and what is your vision for IMA in Europe? Tell us a little bit about your work as a volunteer for IMA.
I strongly believe in the formula: degree + work experience + professional certification = great finance professional. The CMA’s exam content is highly relevant to any financial expert and makes you a well rounded professional. If you want to move your competencies to the next level sitting for the CMA exam is exactly the right thing for you. As finance professionals we have a great responsibility with regards to society and shareholders so we better make sure to live up to the highest standards.
CMAs are the thought leaders in financial management. In the medium term I see the CMA program as the de facto standard for high caliber finance professionals in Europe. In my daily work I really get to see the difference between certified vs. non certified accountants and believe me: there is a gap between them.
IMA is an amazing organization with great staff and an incredible spirit. I can only recommend to anyone: get active and involved! IMA is a great networking platform so be sure to make the best use out of.