An update from the European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants on the revised CIMA Syllabus and Competency Framework for 2019, DCU Business School, 20 September 2019
The European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants* – the global organisation formed by The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) – held its annual meeting at DCU Business School on Friday, 20 September. The focus of the meeting was the Future of Finance work, specifically looking at the updated CIMA syllabus and the enhanced CGMA competency framework. We asked the Panel members what this means for students.
By the profession for the profession
The main change is the inclusion of more digital finance material in the syllabus and the movement of certain topics between F1 (Financial Accounting) and F2 (Advanced Financial Reporting) & P2 (Advanced Management Accounting) and P3 (Risk Management). The syllabus is based on the findings of the research – particularly on the competencies required for each level. Over 18 months of research has been done to update the CIMA professional qualification and CIMA consulted with:
•Over 5500 finance professionals •From over 2000 organisations •In over 150 countries
“Having listened to stakeholders and carried out research on the future of the finance function, the new syllabus reflects the need for finance professionals to acquire new digital skills to succeed in the modern business world. This is why the updated CIMA Professional Qualification and CGMA Competency Framework have a stronger emphasis on digital skills and new technologies. For example, E1, formerly called Organisational Management, has been renamed Managing Finance in the Digital World; and digital content has also been spread across the different pillars. Assessments still comprise of Objective Tests and holistic Case Study exams and follow the same format,” – said Jakub Bejnarowicz, Secretary of the European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) and Regional Director, Europe, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.
Relevance of the CIMA Professional Qualification to the working world
It is good to see that the new syllabus explicitly mentions the work roles in the finance function, what they involve and correlates these roles to the three levels (Operational, Managerial and Strategic) of the CIMA syllabus plus the fourth level- that of continuing professional development (CPD). The skillset goes from the more basic tasks of assembling and extracting data and applying the technology to more analytical interpretation and providing insights, then to strategic business partnering linking strategy to the business model and acting as business strategists, right through to the fourth or C-suite executive level that is about strategic leadership. “The Competency Framework also ensures that digital skills are to the fore and are central to the whole framework,” – said Jaroslaw Chrupek, Chairman of the European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.
When asked, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges shaping the future for accounting graduates, from a European perspective, Jakub Bejnarowicz said: “To grow their market shares, meet customer needs and stay ahead of the competition, international businesses need the right talent. For finance professionals, this means having a strong digital skillset and adopting a growth mindset so they can embrace and make the most of technology to lead their organisation’s digital transformation, become strategic business partners, provide key business insights and create value for stakeholders in the modern business world. The changing environment represents a huge opportunity for finance professionals to go beyond their core technical role.”
“However, to rise to the challenge, they will need to hone new skills and competencies to stay relevant for a digital world. Understanding emerging areas such as digital costing and digital strategy, automation, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity will be critical to support them through the fast-paced changes affecting finance and how it supports business and business performance,” – added Bejnarowicz.
Seeing disruption as an opportunity
“With Brexit fears unsettling the world, it is both an opportunity and a challenge for Ireland. Advances in technology mean that skills have shifted from doing to designing, from execution to process control and optimisation. Also, there is greater mobility for qualified professionals and less bonding to the land of birth,” – said Jaroslaw Chrupek.
“There are numerous developments happening in the world of business that will influence the shape of the finance profession in a short timeframe. This means that the classic approach to knowledge acquisition is going to be under massive pressure. Accounting graduates must be prepared to diversify their education and complement mainstream accounting knowledge with new competencies such as data science, data analytics, robotic process automation, agile project practices and other related topics. Finance professionals must now constantly learn, unlearn and relearn and commit to integrate continuous professional development in their professional lives.
With the automation of most of finance professionals’ routine tasks, this means that future finance professionals must always be anticipating change, map out how they can add value to their team and organisation, and become strategic business partners to build successful careers and deliver long-term benefits to their organisation,” – said Jakub Bejnarowicz.
L-R: Dr Ruth Mattimoe, CIMA Advocate, Assistant Professor in Accounting, DCU Business School; Jakub Bejnarowicz, Secretary of the European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) and Regional Director, Europe, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants; Robert Cahill, CFO- Finance and Administration Director, Automobiles Dangel, Alsace, France; Olga Utkina, Business Analytics and Strategic Projects, Sanofi, Paris; Anita Ruether, Group CFO Business Manager, UBS, Zurich, Switzerland; Jaroslaw Chrupek, Chairman of the European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants; Gary Gormley, Management Accountant, Belfast City Council; Ian Hartery, Director, Premier Capital and DCU Business School MBA Graduate; Marie Large, Head of Strategy and Commercial Management, Ericsson, Stockholm, Sweden.
*Two of the world’s most prestigious accounting bodies – AICPA and CIMA – collaborated to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA®) designation to elevate and build recognition of the profession of management accounting. CGMA® designation holders are either American CPAs with qualifying management accounting experience, or associates or fellow members of CIMA.
Want to find out more?
If you are thinking about pursuing a CIMA Professional Qualification at DCU Business School, you can earn significant exemptions from the Operational and Management levels for our B.A. in Accounting and Finance programme and our Bachelor of Business Studies degree. Further information can be found through the following links:
The BBS International degree is a four-year course which includes an optional 11-month paid work placement that gives you the opportunity to experience working in a real business environment. Alternatively, you can opt to spend a year studying at one of our partner universities in Europe.
For those students who have already graduated with a non-business degree from any university, we have a one-year full time conversion programme – the Masters in Management (Business stream) which has been granted significant exemptions, particularly along the Enterprise Pillar of the CIMA Professional Qualification. For those who have an undergraduate degree in business, but who don’t want to enter the traditional audit and assurance or taxation service lines of accountancy firms, we have the Masters in Management (Strategy), which also carries significant exemptions from the CIMA exams and can lead to a career in consultancy in the Big 4 accounting practices or in other firms.
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