Holders of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification should know the answer to that question, not only for those who ask it but for themselves. The CMA body of knowledge equips you with valuable skills that are most in demand by today’s accounting and finance employers—skills like decision support, planning, and analysis. Your CMA credential brings value to your employer and provides external affirmation that you can navigate essential areas of accounting and finance. Equally important, it affirms that you can provide, analyze, and synthesize information that can help drive critical business decisions.

If you’d like to see a very realistic affirmation of the value of the CMA, I encourage you to check out IMA’s CareerDriver® tool. This free resource is available only to IMA members, and it benchmarks the competencies in your current position as well as the position you want to achieve. Even if you’re happy in your current post or career trajectory, you’ll find this tool valuable and most certainly informative. Not surprisingly, the skills CareerDriver assesses align very closely with the CMA body of knowledge because those are the skills, as IMA research affirms, that are most in demand by today’s employers.

In my own career, I’ve certainly reaped the benefits of being a CMA. Most organizations I work with don’t have large or complex accounting and finance departments, and they appreciate the value I bring, not only in preparing management reports but also in being able to interpret those reports to aid in decision making.

For those who have experienced or know the power of being a CMA, I encourage you to share the benefits of the certification with your peers and colleagues. If you’re a manager, why not encourage your staff to get certified? The advantages will be immediate and will also yield rewards in the future because having the CMA will require them to earn continuing professional education (CPE) hours in order to maintain it.

In fact, in this season of giving, I’d like to propose something you may not have considered: a gift of IMA membership or CMA program enrollment to an accounting or finance professional in your life. Or maybe you’ll be lucky and be on the receiving end of such a gift. Either way, I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season. Share your thoughts with me about this or anything else on your mind at mpalker@imanet.org.

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