Past President - Malcolm Furber FCMA, CGMA
This year I am proud to be celebrating my 40th anniversary as a CIMA member – a journey I started in 1978. Without doubt, CIMA has helped me get where I am today. So let me tell you why I am so passionate about it.
I studied marketing and strategic management in the US (Bradford University and Princeton), South Africa (Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership) and the UK (London Business School). I started my career as a management accountant Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) for its agrochemicals operations in Asia Pacific, where I was responsible for evaluating new business operations and business performance for the region.
In 1980, I relocated to South Africa and joined Afrox as Senior Financial Manager. I have also worked for two of the Big Four and now run my own consulting business where we focus on improving business assignments in both the private and publics sectors.
In fact, the CIMA qualification armed me with the knowledge and skills to make the most of my career. Over the years I have noticed how business is changing due to new technologies, trends, world events, and tough economies. Having been involved in reviewing the syllabus, I know that the syllabus equips students with the skills they need to lead the finance function of the future.
Over the years, I have become more and more convinced that the CIMA designation is the global standard for business and finance. I worked with two of the BIG4 and within their ranks CIMA-CGMA was seen as the global badge for management accounting.
Further, in my international travels and assignments, the CGMA designation has shown recognition on a global stage where prior to this people would not know how my qualification compared to others. This has convinced me to retain my membership. In addition, CIMA is committed to advancing the accounting profession globally by advocating ethical business practices, continuous learning and quality research.
This is especially important as the business landscape is rapidly changing – new technologies and trends, world events and tough economies affect the way we work and our business practices. All of us need to think differently and CIMA is working on our behalf to consider implications for our careers and advance the profession as a whole.
We need to look beyond the immediate and think about what the future of finance looks like and how this will impact us:
- What will the business landscape look like in the future?
- How will this affect the finance function?
- What skills and knowledge will be needed to remain competent and add value?
- What impact will technology have on jobs roles, the finance function and on the business environment?
The future of finance compels professionals to become more influential in their organisations by going beyond their core finance roles and partnering with different stakeholders in the business.
I think that the current economic uncertainty actually presents management accountants with an opportunity to collaborate with different teams across their organisations and share knowledge to implement solutions collectively. To do this, however, finance professionals must better integrate within their organisations.
My advice to finance professionals? Get up from your desks, leave the spreadsheets behind for a bit and go talk to other teams – in short, be a true business partner. Learn the language of the business and drop the accounting jargon. This is where the future of our profession lies.