Institute of Management Accountants (Encyclopedia of Business and Finance)
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is the largest educational, nonprofit association in the world devoted exclusively to management accounting, finance, and information management. It was founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York, as the National Association of Cost Accountants by a group of businesspeople to expand the knowledge and professionalism of people specifically interested in cost accounting.
Subsequently its name was changed to the National Association of Accountants and then in 1991 to the current name. These changes were made to reflect its broadened mission to disseminate the latest knowledge in accounting and finance to all those professionals employed in public and private companies as well as governmental and educational organizations. In its statement of mission, the IMA states that it will "provide to members personal and professional development opportunities through education, association with business professionals, and certification in management accounting and financial management skills and ensure that IMA is globally recognized by the financial community as a respected institution influencing the concepts and ethical practices of management accounting and financial management."
As an international educational organization, the IMA sponsors two certification programs: certified management accountant (CMA) and certified in financial management (CFM). [See certified management accountant (CMA)]. These certification programs are administered by an affiliate, the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, which was established in 1972.
The flagship publication of the Institute is a monthly magazine, Strategic Finance. The IMA also publishes Management Accounting Quarterly four times a year and a quarterly newsletter, Focus, which goes to all members. Through another affiliate, the IMA Foundation for Applied Research (FAR), it conducts research and publishes field-based research and analysis. It also publishes, in conjunction with other organizations, a series of guides called Statements on Management Accounting. As part of its professional responsibilities, the IMA contributes to and comments on the accounting rule-making process through a senior-level committee.
The IMA offers its 65,000 members an opportunity to join three member interest groupshe Controllers Council, Cost Management Group, and Small-Business Council. Each group publishes a newsletter ten times per year featuring information on industry trends and practices, emerging technologies, and financial and management reporting issues. Members' surveys are conducted to keep members apprised of how their colleagues in other industries and organizations are handling key issues. In addition, members can join Internet-based groups that enable them to network and exchange information on-line dealing with their particular industry or special interests.
The IMA requires certified members to obtain a certain number of Continuing Professional Education credits every year. It offers a number of methods to achieve this objective, including an annual conference, chapter/council education programs, Regional Education Assistance Programs, self-study courses (including on-line offerings), a monthly video-subscription program, and national seminars. It also offers in-house education programs for companies, focusing on current trends, industry-specific developments, and continuing skills enhancement.
The IMA is governed by a volunteer president, executive committee, and board of directors. A salaried, full-time executive director directs the day-to-day operations of the Institute based on policy guidelines promulgated by the executive committee and board of directors. Activities also are conducted by approximately three hundred local chapters and twenty-four regional councils, which hold regular technical meetings and other functions. The IMA's headquarters is located at 10 Paragon Drive, Montvale, New Jersey. Its Internet addresses are www.imanet.org and