Last summer, IMA Chair Marc Palker, VP of Education and Career Services Debbie Warner, and I took on a new challenge for IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo (ACE). We wanted to further elevate the value of ACE’s content—our program tracks—for this year’s event in Denver, Colo., June 17-21. While previous program tracks served many educational needs, we thought the topics could relate more to practitioners in attendance and any employers who sponsored and funded them. The new tracks should align better with the work management accountants actually do.

Our first step was to use the “greenfield approach.” We wiped the slate clean and restarted with the fundamentals. IMA’s Master Guide to Controllers’ Best Practices, published last year in our new and expanding book line, served as a focal point. Its research, tips, and case studies helped us identify management accounting content in practical, day-to-day terms. We also leveraged our career management tool CareerDriver® and the IMA Competency Framework, which are based on five key disciplines that capture the 28 critical skills needed to excel in the finance and accounting profession.

From these resources, we formed an initial set of specialty tracks with a diverse group of representatives from the IMA team, including Dennis Whitney, Doreen Remmen, Terry Mormile, and LeighAnn Tobia. But the work wasn’t over. Conference Program Chair Steve McNally, finance director/controller at Campbell Soup, brought a fresh lens to the project. As an award-winning new CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), he asked a critical question: Why not align the specialty tracks further with the leading certification for management accounting? He fine-tuned the program to more directly reflect what’s on the CMA exam.

Our final lineup now includes eight job- and CMA-relevant specialty tracks: Governance, Risk Management, and Internal Controls; Small Business and M&A; Financial Close and Reporting; Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting; Ethics; Technology; Leadership and Professional Development; and Accounting Hot Topics.

When you attend ACE, you’ll find valuable job resources and expertise that you can immediately take back to work, and you’ll become better prepared to take the CMA exam. If you’re already a CMA, the Conference will strengthen your skill set and keep you current with the latest trends in the ­profession.

You’re committed to self-improvement, and we’ll make sure we’re the same with our programs. We hope we’ll truly fulfill this year’s ACE theme and “elevate your perspective.” Take advantage of early bird registration by visiting today!

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