The AICPA and the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) are proposing the formation of a joint venture to develop and promote a new global management accounting designation. The new not-for-profit organization would be called the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and would be the accreditation body for the new designation.
The initiative is subject to approval by the governing bodies of both organizations and will be voted on separately by the CIMA and AICPA councils in May, according to a press release. If approved, the joint venture would launch in 2012. The joint venture would combine the strength of the AICPA in North America with CIMA's presence in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.
Members would remain with their respective bodies. The joint venture would authorize issuance of the designation on behalf of each membership organization.
Existing CIMA members could use the new designation or add it to their current "FCMA" or "ACMA" letters after their names.
AICPA members will gain two pathways to the global management accounting designation. AICPA voting members working in management accounting or a financial management role for three years or more would qualify for an accelerated route to obtaining the new designation. Non-voting AICPA members would enter a rigorous training program through their employer or on their own consistent with that undertaken by other CIMA members and people who are studying for the CIMA professional qualification.
"We are delighted and fortunate to be able to work with CIMA as an established global partner that brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this exciting new proposal," said AICPA Chairman Paul Stahlin in a press release. "If approved, this joint venture promises to create long-term strategic value for our members and the companies they work for."
"This agreement would give CIMA and AICPA truly global reach," said CIMA President George Glass. "The new venture would have an unrivaled depth of resources to meet the needs of both organizations and their individual members around the world."
Approximately 45 percent of AICPA members practice in business, industry, or government. The Institute's Business and Industry Executive Committee has long supported some form of recognition to further underscore the unique competencies of CPAs working in business, the AICPA said in a statement.
Those holding the new designation would commit to an ongoing, self-directed program of developing and maintaining competency in management accounting as well as leadership and strategy. This continuous career development model would be based on a contemporary, technology-enabled approach and would focus on competency maintenance versus required hours in coursework.
The AICPA said it used a long-standing decision-tree model developed by the National Accreditation Commission to assess whether to build such a designation in-house. Based on the analysis, the preferred option was to form an accreditation alliance, and CIMA was identified as the most credible partner, given it is already recognized for issuing world-leading designations in management accounting.
Jeff Thomson, CMA, president and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), said in a statement provided to AccountingWEB that IMA recognizes that the AICPA and CIMA have announced a proposed joint venture to create a new management accounting designation. "This is positive news for management accountants and their organizations. As the business world faces increasing challenges, ensuring the qualifications of accountants and financial professionals in business is more important than ever."
The IMA, a global association with members in more than 120 countries, offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential. Applicants are tested for their mastery of financial management knowledge in financial planning, analysis, control, and decision support. The IMA, founded in 1972, currently has 60,000 members, including CMAs and CPAs who are also certified as management accountants.
CIMA members are expected to benefit from the widespread recognition the new designation would gain in the United States. AICPA members will have access to a global management accounting designation and the knowledge and experience base of the CIMA.