Five years ago CIMA® and AICPA® members voted for the two organisations to come together and form the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants®, the Association. As management accountants, we see change as essentially neither negative nor positive but forward-looking.
I was one of the many members who recognised the additional strength that working together as one Association brings. Additional value for all our members, and additional influence in and for our profession as a whole. The founding bodies had the foresight to realise that, to stay ahead of change and disruption, they had to evolve, and that prudence paid off when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
In recognition of the power of working together, my CIMA presidential platform this year will be ‘Dare Together’ because, as we rebuild our world, we must travel forward collectively. Caution has its place, but we live in a time when we need to be bold. So, we mustn’t shy away from making big decisions where they are needed.
By ‘daring together’ as management and public accountants, we can use our combined experiences to enhance the value our profession provides, support economic recovery and use our wisdom and expertise to tackle other emerging issues facing society such as climate change.
Having experienced a global pandemic, we have seen clearly that it’s a sign of strength to work together. Daring together is the best, most effective way forward.
We, AICPA & CIMA, are not daunted by what lies ahead because we have built one of, if not the, most powerful collaborations in any profession worldwide. That means we are able to use our increased resources to help you, our members and students.
These provide you with the training and learning experiences that will enable you to be more knowledgeable, more confident, bolder and able to dare more. For example, tools and techniques for strategic thinking, which accompanied our Future of Finance Strategic Thinking supplement.
I’m inviting members and fellow finance professionals to dare with me as CIMA President and Chair of the Association. I want to show why what we do today goes far beyond us as individuals, or us as AICPA & CIMA.
As a membership body and as professionals, we must be seen to act in the wider public interest, not against our stakeholders in our businesses — but with them.
- As finance professionals we are at the heart of business; we are the architects of financial strategy and authors of the information published on our businesses.
- We know what we bring to the boardroom table. We know that with our counsel, our scenario-planning, and data skills, businesses will be more successful than without them.
- The Association, as our champion, is our global cheerleader and has influence around the world at the highest levels of business and government.
So, which area should be our focus over the next few years? As management accountants, we have always looked beyond the numbers to describe the value chain across the business. Using tools such as integrated thinking and reporting, we should prioritise finding where Environment Social and Governance (ESG) principles can be applied and implemented. If you need support, the Association recently published guides such as Putting the E into ESG and a useful overview of the topic, Sustainability and business: Frameworks and standards — Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
Being one organisation makes us more sustainable as an influential force for members. I want us — as AICPA & CIMA — to dare together. We, as management accountants with our colleagues in public accounting, can’t navigate the future path on our own, nor should we have to.
As the Association moves into its next five years, let’s work together to build on the last five and make AICPA & CIMA the most dynamic force in our profession.
Paul Ash was elected 88th CIMA President and 6th Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants on 3 June 2021.
Paul began his career in the industrial manufacturing sector before moving into the financial services, where one of his roles was as Chief Accountant at the London Stock Exchange.
Following more than a decade in the City, Paul returned to industry and commerce undertaking corporate finance roles with British Gas plc among others, and becoming Group Finance Director at Institute for International Research.
More recently Paul has founded, financed, and developed several businesses in the energy, media, and property services sectors.