When I look at accounting, I see our jobs in four different stages. First, we are gatherers of information. We collect raw data, just as we might a souvenir, and most of us get very good at this over time. Second, we turn that data into useful information. Sometimes our sharing stops at this point. We simply provide management a report and go on our way. Yet the true value of a financial leader comes out in the next two stages. Third, with our information and reports, we provide insight into the decision-making process. We dive beyond the numbers and into other aspects of the business. Fourth, we become what I consider to be an effective CFO. Effective CFOs not only provide insight into the process—they provide foresight into the business. In other words, they take useful information and interpret how it will affect the business today and how to also use it to transform and drive the business into tomorrow. That’s what an effective organization does: It provides both insight and foresight into the future.

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) is always striving to do that for you as a valuable benefit of your membership. One of the most important ways is through our management accounting thought leadership and research. In fact, I’ve learned in my travels overseas that this is one of the primary things IMA is known for. When you visit our joint website with ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), www.futuretoday.com, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. There you’ll find many research studies that provide insight into today’s financial profession, including “The Changing Role of the CFO” and “The Data Revolution.” Additionally, you’ll find much of the research providing foresight—that look into the future of the profession. Studies like “SoMoClo Technologies,” “Tomorrow’s Finance Enterprise,” and “Financial Insight: Challenges and Opportunities” are focused on tomorrow’s issues, organizations, and leaders. It’s this type of research into foresight that makes IMA a thought leader around the world and a valuable resource for its members.

I challenge you to visit www.futuretoday.com and explore the wealth of knowledge and research at your fingertips. Only you can make yourself take that next step to becoming a better leader and a better you. It’s only a few clicks away, so be sure to take advantage of it today.

Please share your thoughts with me at bmulling@imanet.org.

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