IMA® has adapted seamlessly to the new virtual learning environment, as evidenced by the many virtual activities and events we’ve held since the pandemic first hit. Most recently, I was honored to offer opening remarks at a panel session during IMA’s “Shape Your Tomorrow” Virtual Series learning event, which attracted approximately 1,200 registrants. That panel explored the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the U.S. accounting and finance profession. It came in advance of a multipart research study we’re conducting in partnership with CalCPA (California Society of Certified Public Accountants).

The session proved exciting and engaging, with provocative information shared by panelists and great questions from members. The panel and the research we’re conducting starkly reveal an uncomfortable truth: Inadequate progress has been made in attracting, retaining, and promoting diverse talent in the accounting and finance profession, especially in senior leadership positions. Yet I remain encouraged by stories of inspiration—from members and across the profession—to accelerate the path to progress.

Learning about the important topic of DE&I and much more can continue at IMA’s upcoming 2021 Annual Conference & Expo (ACE), to be held June 14-16, 2021, in an entirely virtual format. Although the format is changing, this year’s Conference will continue to offer high-level insights on key topic areas through eight specialized tracks, which have become one of the most popular features of our Conference.

This year’s tracks closely align with key “megatrends” I’ve predicted for the accounting and finance profession in 2021—one of which is that DE&I will become more of a competitive differentiator and not just the right thing to do. Other trends to be covered in the 50-plus live and bonus sessions at the Conference include the increasing amount of automation; how remote work is becoming the norm for finance teams; the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance reporting; finance professionals being held more accountable for enterprise risk management; and the need for upskilling and continuous education.

Check out the ACE schedule and agenda. You’ll find many sessions (if not all of them) that will provide engaging, actionable information that will help you to thrive professionally. There’s even a special registration rate for the first 500 members who sign up, and you’ll be able to access all Conference sessions on demand for a full 30 days after the event. I look forward to seeing you, virtually, in June.

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