New Research Identifies 45 Competency Areas Businesses Value in Finance Professionals

CIMA and the AICPA competency map aligns with global business needs

London and New York – Businesses around the world seek enhanced competencies among their finance professionals to better address the challenges and opportunities of today's complex business environment.  Based on extensive global research among employers and other stakeholders, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), two of the world’s largest accounting organisations, have identified a competency framework with 45 areas where employers such as IBM and Unilever expect proficiency.

The framework is comprised of four knowledge areas — technical, business, people and leadership — with competencies defined at four levels: foundational, intermediate, advanced and expert. It was developed through research that included a survey of nearly 3,400 members, students and educators; roundtable discussions in 13 countries; and in-person interviews with representatives from 67 organisations, including IBM, Unilever, Microsoft and Shell. The CGMA Competency Framework was created to assist Chartered Global Management Accountants – including CFOs, controllers and treasurers – in identifying the broad skills employers expect from their finance professionals. The framework helps management accountants assess their current competency level and provides insight on steps they can take to expand their skills while meeting their commitment to lifelong learning.  It is publicly available to any employer or educator to benchmark their team’s capability, create job profiles or design curriculum.

Expected capabilities include risk management and internal controls, macroeconomic analysis, communication and negotiation along with strategic understanding in a global context. Technical financial competencies include financial accounting and reporting, management reporting and analysis, and risk management. The number of competencies and proficiency expected varies by functional area and level of seniority.

Charles Tilley FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive, CIMA, said: “With the role of finance constantly developing it can be hard for employers to know the standard to expect of their management accountants. The CGMA Competency Framework is research-led and informed by those on the front line of business and it will show employers the new knowledge requirements and skills needed for both current and future management accountancy roles. In addition, it will help accountants to become more employable by guiding them through their professional development, as well as helping educators to better prepare students to become well-grounded management accountants.”

The competency framework underpins the updated CIMA Syllabus that will be examined from January 2015, and underscores the commitment of both CIMA and the AICPA to meeting the needs of business. The organisations, through a global joint venture, created the CGMA designation in January 2012 so employers anywhere in the world can easily identify management accountants with the highest levels of technical knowledge, business acumen and ethical integrity.

In addition to helping organisations find and develop high quality talent, CIMA and the AICPA are also working to help improve the decision-making and forecasting processes that businesses use. They are developing a set of Global Management Accounting Principles that will provide businesses with the first set of globally applicable management accounting best practices to more effectively manage the complexity that defines modern business.

“Today’s CEOs need a partner at the helm – a co-pilot to help steer clear of obstacles and toward opportunities,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA. “They are turning to their management accountants to provide this guidance, to pull insight from information and connect it to operations in new ways to position their businesses for long-term, sustainable success. The CGMA Competency Framework ensures management accountants’ skills remain aligned with the demands of an increasingly complex and constantly changing business environment.”