Gnanamani Antony Pio ACMA, CGMA, a management consultant at Guardian Management Services, has been a CIMA member for more than 15 years, and his status has enabled him to achieve great success at a range of companies across Africa and Asia.
After ten years working in Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd, Chennai, he moved to Zambia to work for the United Bus Company as a management accountant; and, two rapid promotions later, as chief accountant. He subsequently moved to Bahrain as financial controller of United Commercial Agencies, a reputed retail organisation, and later to Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, Bahrain, where he spent eight successful years as the company’s management accountant.
Following a period as finance head of Oman Plants Services Company, he returned to his hometown of Chennai at the end of 2010 to join a consultancy firm. In this interview, he explains how being an associate member of CIMA and the skills he developed through the professional qualification have been vital in his successful career path.
Why did you choose CIMA as your financial qualification and how did you hear about it?
CIMA has an edge over other accounting qualifications in business. Its focus on scientific decision making in a commercial environment is very distinct. Since I have been working as part of management teams responsible for commercial undertakings from the very beginning of my career, CIMA was the clear choice.
What skills have you gained or developed through studying the professional qualification?
I already had my ICWA (India) qualification when I began studying CIMA. However, CIMA further sharpened my analytical and presentation skills. Its position as the leading management accounting qualification in the world enables its members to have access to wider knowledge and the latest developments in the science. Its CPD programmes are very useful in this regard.
In what ways you have helped add value to your companies over the years?
There are numerous examples, but one particular success that stands out is from my time working in Zambia at the United Bus Company. I triggered and managed successful commercialisation of the company’s technical services division using available surplus capacity, using the findings of market research that showed that after servicing bus operating divisions internally, quality manpower and machinery were being underutilised.
How has CIMA membership helped you professionally?
The CIMA magazine Financial Management has been a source of valuable information for day to day functions throughout my career: I have taken several concepts on management and control systems discussed in the magazines and successfully introduced them into my own organisations. I have also used liberally tips from magazine articles for presentations I have prepared for management teams / boards. This has always earned me an excellent reputation for knowledge and innovation.
How did getting your CIMA qualification make you feel?
Extremely contented, because I felt it was necessary to obtain an internationally recognised accounting qualification in order to become more attractive in the job market. I went for CIMA since I always felt that it is a qualification that assists employees in enhancing their value to their organisation.
I believe CIMA did indeed impart the knowledge and skills I required to become a key part of the decision making processes of all the companies I have worked for.
How is CPD of value in keeping your qualification relevant to the constantly changing business environment?
CPD, by continually updating your knowledge and skills, enables CIMA members to ensure that they remain involved in business critical decisions at the organisations they work for.
Do you actively support your staff to study the CIMA professional qualification?
Yes, I do.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
The best aspect of my role is that I am always able to make a contribution to my organisation in the strategic decision making process, which means I am involved in successfully driving growth. This is always followed by recognition and appreciation.
How have your family and friends benefited from you having a CIMA qualification?
I am the first accountant in my family. However some of my friends, having seen my success, have started studying CIMA.
In one sentence, please describe how CIMA members add value to your business.
Since CIMA members fully understand business, they are in a position to use their knowledge and skills and put forward practical solutions acceptable to all stakeholders.