The undergraduate accounting programs at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, received the endorsement of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) as higher education programs that provide management accounting curriculum and skills for students.
In an effort to help ensure undergraduate accounting programs and teaching resources that support the CMA exam program achieve a consistent standard of excellence, the IMA recently launched a new initiative, the Higher Education Endorsement Program, which recognizes university business programs that enable students to pursue the CMA credential.
“Recognition by the IMA as an endorsed program is a wonderful acknowledgement that our accounting program prepares students for professional certifications that serve them well in corporate and industry accounting careers, as well as public accounting,” Susan Convery, PhD, a professor of practice in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at the Michigan State Broad College of Business, told AccountingWEB.
“The broad set of accounting knowledge and business competencies tested on the CMA exam reflect the goals and learning objectives of Michigan State University’s accounting program,” she added.
The undergraduate accounting programs at Pennsylvania State (Penn State) University in University Park, Pennsylvania, and Washington State University-Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington, were the first to be recognized during the pilot phase of the endorsement program, which ended in late June 2013.
The intent of the endorsement program is not to produce a standardized accounting or business curriculum, but to encourage a variety of approaches for course design and delivery, Raef Lawson, PhD, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA, vice president of research and professor-in-residence for the IMA, told AccountingWEB this past August.
Endorsement by the IMA offers universities a measurement process that is based on self-evaluation and peer review, coupled with external evaluation by the IMA. Interested universities must first complete an application and provide any supplemental information that is required. There is no fee involved in the process.
Under the program, the IMA will endorse higher education programs that meet the following four criteria:
- The program must substantially cover the CMA exam content.
- The program must have adequate faculty resources to deliver this content.
- The program must be accredited by a recognized accreditation organization, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the European Quality Improvement System.
- A faculty member must be designated as an IMA campus advocate.
The IMA Campus Advocate program helps professors mentor students and encourage CMA certification. According to the IMA, academics are required to accomplish the following four steps to become a campus advocate:
- Receive and disseminate IMA/CMA marketing materials.
- Promote IMA benefits, student membership, the formation of student chapters, and the CMA credential.
- Invite managerial finance and accounting practitioners to speak on campus.
- Leverage IMA resources to advance the relevancy of the accounting curriculum.
The Higher Education Endorsement Program offers two tiers of endorsement:
- Full endorsement, for those university programs that meet all endorsement criteria.
- Provisional endorsement, for programs with some minor-to-moderate shortcomings in meeting all the criteria for full endorsement.
Lawson said university accounting programs that receive a provisional endorsement one year could be given a full endorsement the next year if they achieve all the criteria.
“Educational programs that are aligned with the needs of business are crucial in addressing the competency crisis in the accounting profession,” Lawson recently said in a written statement. “IMA encourages other universities to open the channels of communication between higher education and finance professionals by joining the IMA Campus Advocate program and seeking IMA endorsement.”