1. Get certified. If you’re already a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), take a moment to pat yourself on the back for achieving a valuable career goal. If you aren’t yet certified, make this the year you begin the process. IMA’s certification is the gold standard of management accounting, respected around the world. For practical purposes, this also means that the CMA is portable—it’s recognized whether you’re working in San Diego, Stockholm, or Shanghai.
  2. Take another part. If you’ve already taken one part of the CMA exam but have yet to take the second, make a commitment to finish the race. We all know that, in business, no one likes a job half done. Make plans to get to the finish line so that you can proudly include those prestigious three initials—CMA—after your name. You will have earned it.
  3. Strengthen your skills. All CMAs are required to take 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every year. If you’re a CMA, be sure to get this done in order to maintain your active status. And even if you aren’t a CMA, CPE provides an excellent opportunity to stay current with the profession, providing you with skills and knowledge to make you a more valuable employee and help you achieve new career heights.
  4. Give back. IMA is always looking for committed volunteers. Think about what you can do within your local chapter or regional council to give back to the profession. If you’d like more leadership experience, consider volunteering for one of IMA’s many global committees, such as Ethics, Academic Relations, and more. Explore other avenues, too: Why not write an article for Strategic Finance or Management Accounting Quarterly, for example, or help a colleague pursue his or her CMA?
  5. Become a mentor. College students and young professionals are always seeking more experienced leaders to help guide them in making future career decisions. Perhaps someone helped you when you were younger. Share that same experience by agreeing to become a mentor. Doing so enables you to mold the next generation of leaders, those who will soon enough take your place as you continue to grow in your own career.

I hope you’re encouraged by these suggestions—and I wish you all the best for a healthy and prosperous year. I invite you to reach out to me if you would like to discuss these ideas further, or especially if you are seeking a mentor. I’d be happy to help. Please contact me at mpalker@imanet.org.

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