At the Annual Meeting of Members, which opened the Conference, Ginger White, IMA Chair for 2018-2019, welcomed special guests and acknowledged all the hard work of the 100-Year Anniversary Committee (comprised of Kim Wallin, Bud Kulesza, John Pollara, Priscilla Payne, Sue Bos, Marc Palker, and Bob Krogh) and the Annual Conference & Expo Program Committee. She shared her experiences traveling this year to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE; Mumbai and Bangalore, India; and Jordan, where management accounting is growing.
White talked about the Women’s Accounting Leadership Series events in Jordan and India that she attended, as well as the young professionals she met at the Global Board of Directors meeting in October 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, and the Student Leadership Experience at the Board meeting in Orlando, Fla., in February 2019.
Jeff Thomson, IMA’s president and CEO, elaborated on the strong financial health of IMA, which will enable the organization to continue fulfilling its mission of nurturing the next generation of leaders. In fiscal year 2019, more than 100,000 CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exams were registered, and the total number of CMA candidates exceeded 80,000. IMA has awarded 10,000 CMAs so far this year and counts more than 70,000 CMAs since the inception of the program. IMA members grew by 20% year over year, reaching 138,000 with expectations of surpassing 140,000 by fiscal year-end.
Thomson emphasized that the success of IMA translates directly into the organization’s ability to reinvest in products and services that are meaningful to members. He stressed the importance of education in a knowledge economy and noted that IMA offers a host of ways to learn the competencies required in the Digital Age.
Ginger White conferred the Presidential Badge to Christian Cuzick, IMA Chair for 2019-2020, who shared his vision for leading IMA in its 100th year with a focus on serving members and spreading the word about the benefits of the CMA certification to corporate entities and individuals.
“IMA has been the thought leader I turn to for insights that helped me do my job better at each successive stage of my own career development,” Cuzick said. “It’s very meaningful to me to be IMA Chair during its 100-Year Anniversary.”
ACE2019 featured 80 different educational sessions over four days, with experts sharing their insights on a range of topics from corporate governance to technology. Before attendees waded into these topics, they were treated to a comedy show by former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, sponsored by Deloitte, a diamond-level sponsor.
Technology’s impact on the profession was a continuous theme at the Conference. Weston “Indiana” Jones, partner and global intelligent automation leader at EY Advisory, gave an overview of emerging technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), AI, and blockchain, while futurist Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, presented a vivid portrait of a future orchestrated by machines in his keynote session.
Sue Hohenleitner, vice president of finance, acquisition, and divestiture operations at Johnson & Johnson; Tom Hood, president and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute; Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half; and Thomson engaged in a panel discussion on the critical competencies that every accounting and finance professional needs for success in the Digital Age.
Another Conference highlight was Joseph J. Wolk, executive vice president and CFO of Johnson & Johnson, discussing how to maintain a start-up mentality to spur innovation and creativity at a company that’s 133 years old.
ACE2019 also celebrated the accomplishments of IMA’s local chapters and global volunteers. At the Annual Awards Luncheon, Ron Luther was presented with IMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and dedication to the organization, and IMA chapters from around the world were recognized for their work.
On the last night of the Conference, attendees were treated to a special Centennial Celebration, where they enjoyed food and drinks from various global regions and a performance by the iLuminate dance troupe.
The Conference’s final keynote speaker was Matthew Luhn, a former Pixar Animation Studios animator, story artist, and author, who shared his experiences creating stories and characters at Pixar and offered tips for how to use narratives to better connect with audiences on an emotional level.
Ginger White and Paul Juras, IMA’s Chair-Elect for 2019-2020, closed out the Conference by thanking attendees and giving them a sneak peek of ACE2020, which will be held June 21-24, 2020, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, go to bit.ly/30tKnV9.