In April 2023, Mike DePrisco took the helm of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) as president and CEO. Since that time, the association has introduced a new certification program, reaffirmed its commitment to member value, and defined a new strategy to ensure IMA remains the go-to source for individuals in need of relevant and timely knowledge and skills.

In the following Q&A, DePrisco reflects on the first 12 months of his tenure. He also provides an update on some of IMA’s new strategic initiatives that he, IMA staff, and the IMA Global Board of Directors have planned.

Strategic Finance: What have you found to be the most rewarding part of your first year at IMA?

Mike DePrisco: By far the most rewarding part of my job has been meeting members and practitioners from around the world. It’s been a privilege to attend our global events and to get to know those who are driving our vision. The passion and dedication of our Global Board and volunteer leaders—and the commitment they have to the profession and IMA—continues to energize me and fill me with optimism about the future of our organization and the profession.

Mike DePrisco standing with attendees in China
Mike DePrisco at the 10th Annual China Conference in November 2023.

And it’s a profession that’s dynamic, one that’s evolving right before our eyes. In our role as leaders, IMA gets to play a pivotal role in shaping what the future state of the profession will look like: how emerging technology can improve outcomes, the importance of leveraging data to improve and create new value, and how organizations can best meet their responsibilities for sustaining the planet. It’s an exciting time to lead this organization because it’s an exciting time for the profession.

SF: What have been some of IMA’s key accomplishments in your first year?

DePrisco: One of the things I’m most proud of is the way IMA has renewed its focus on member value. Everything we do at IMA starts with the question “How will this add value to our members?” We exist to enable and equip our members for career success, to gain new skills, grow as leaders, and drive their organization’s success.

To support this, we introduced a number of robust educational products—on topics like sustainability reporting; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I); data analytics and visualization; and AI—that provide participants with timely, relevant knowledge. For example, our new IMA Cybersecurity & Data Practices Certificate™ program educates accounting and finance professionals about their evolving role in managing the risks and regulatory compliance related to cyber threats. Similarly, we’ve published research reports on a variety of subject areas that we know matter greatly to members and the profession, topics including blockchain and cryptocurrency, AI, design thinking, and talent retention.

We’re also committed to meeting members “where they are,” and one of the ways we did that this year is through high-quality in-person and virtual events offered around the globe. These events enable practitioners to enjoy the benefits of learning and networking through IMA but without the need for costly travel. Events like the IMA European Accounting & Finance Conference in Amsterdam, the 10th Annual China Conference in Beijing, the IMA Academic Summit in Egypt, the India Regional Conference in Mumbai, and the Middle East Regional Conference in Riyadh, plus our Women’s Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tenn., and our student leadership conferences hosted worldwide, reflected this new local emphasis.

Mike Deprisco standing with other IMA members at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
Mike DePrisco with Global Board member Jay Semwal, Chair-Elect Sunil Deshmukh, and IMA staff at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in India in August 2023.

We’ve deepened our partnerships with our approved publishers and training providers, helping to ensure that we’re offering those who take our certification exams the best chance of success. We also forged and continued to nurture strategic relationships with global corporate partners, including IBM, Cummins, Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes-Benz, Haier Group, Decathlon, Cargill, Caterpillar, Masco, KLM, Continental Automotive, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Saudi Industrial Development Fund, and more. And we continue to build alliances with academic institutions around the world, with more than 100 schools now part of our IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program and recently signed partnerships with George Mason University, Cebu Institute of Technology – University, and College of Business of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, to name a few.

By working with these partners to bring our globally respected CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification to students and accounting and finance teams, we’re empowering the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Mike DePrisco hanging out with students and academics
Mike DePrisco hanging out with students and academics at the IMA Student Leadership Conference in Detroit in November 2023.

SF: How has IMA responded successfully to some of the external challenges facing the profession?

DePrisco: Our efforts in the areas of research, professional development, and thought leadership are key here. We’re working to address the challenges of the talent pipeline, for example, with the introduction of our new FMAA™ (Financial and Managerial Accounting Associate) certification, with our student programs such as our student leadership conferences, scholarship programs, and our Higher Education Endorsement Program.

We’ve also moved the needle forward on sustainable business management, publishing research on this topic to help organizations navigate the complexity of standards and the “how” of meeting evolving requirements. And we continue to focus on efforts to advance DE&I within the profession.

Mike DePrisco stands on stage with award winning IMA members
Mike DePrisco with award-winning IMA members from the Philippines at IMA’s Accounting & Finance Conference in June 2023.

We’ve also demonstrated our commitment to emerging technology, especially AI, which is reshaping how work is being done. The booming popularity of AI poses many critical challenges and opportunities for our profession—and I’m glad that IMA is at the forefront here, asking the right questions and challenging our members and practitioners to examine all the implications that have arisen.

SF: What changes have you implemented to better position IMA to meet the needs of accounting and finance professionals globally?

DePrisco: I’m excited that the IMA Global Board of Directors has recently approved a new strategy, one that will enable us to achieve sustainable growth, increase volunteer and member engagement, and expand our audience and impact. We’ve reimagined our aspiration to widen our reach beyond management accountants: to empower and connect business professionals to build a positive future (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: IMA's New Strategic Plan

IMA strategy chart
Learn more about IMA’s vision, winning aspiration, and strategic pathways at IMA Vision.

This represents a significant shift for IMA, from a narrow scope of management accounting professionals to a wider audience of business professionals—individuals who enter the profession through nontraditional pathways and seek out the skills and knowledge that accounting and finance provides to their career success. That’s one of the reasons why we launched our new FMAA certification this year: to provide a certification that not only is appropriate for early-career professionals and students but also for those in other areas of the enterprise who are looking to gain foundational financial and managerial accounting skills.

Mike Deprisco standing with attendees at the Middle East Regional Conference
Mike DePrisco at the Middle East Regional Conference in November 2023.

SF: What are the most significant challenges facing IMA in the immediate future?

DePrisco: One of the biggest challenges I see us facing is the reality of changing demographics. As a profession, we’ve got to remain relevant to students and younger professionals. We must meet them where they are and how they want to be met with digital resources and experiences that can help support their career decisions and journey. The fact is that there is a premium on individuals’ time—there are lots of options for individuals to explore from a career standpoint. As a professional association, we must be able to demonstrate our compelling value proposition to these individuals through the quality of our offerings and their relevance to our members’ careers.

SF: How is IMA prepared to meet these challenges?

DePrisco: We must seek out partners to help us address the challenges before us. I said when I first joined IMA that we don’t need to go it alone. We can partner with other organizations that have complementary expertise and work together to develop positive solutions. We’re already doing that with our publisher and training providers. We need to do more, and I think you can expect to see more from IMA in this area in the next year.

About the Authors