IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) celebrates 100 years at Middle East and India Regional Conference

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New Delhi: India’s rapid digital transformation and its impact on the management accounting profession was the backdrop of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) celebrating its centennial year at the seventh Middle East and India Regional Conference in Bangalore. The global leadership team, led by Jeff Thomson, IMA President & CEO and Hanadi Khalife, Director, Middle East and India Operations, were present at the event and highlighted that this transformation was a call-to-action for professionals while encapsulating IMA’s role in advancing competencies in a digital age.

A key focus of the conference was the relevance and application of data science and the need for finance professionals to use such applications to deliver better business insights and forecasts. This would enable them to evolve up the value chain to become business partners and eventually, strategic enablers. But for that to happen, finance professionals would need to move beyond the realm of Excel spreadsheets and become business solvers. To highlight this, data from a recent IMA Pulse survey was shared that highlighted that almost half (45%) of the respondents had indicated that their company now takes a “strong” or “very strong” data-centric approach to information technology.

Speaking on the occasion, Thomson said, “These are interesting times for CFOs to be in. As the globalized economy becomes more disruptive, there’s greater pressure on finance to behave as both value stewards and value creators – moving beyond the numbers to offer insights and foresights for value and growth. We also believe that with the advent of automation and other disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, it is imperative for finance professionals to upskill themselves to be future ready – where the future of automation enabled by intelligent machines is now. At IMA, we’re seeing this transformation beginning to happen across the globe and it’s very heartening to see this happen in India as well, which has one of the largest populations of data and computer scientists anywhere in the world.”

“IMA remains committed towards the comprehensive development of finance and accounting professionals in India. We believe that there is huge growth potential for management accounting professionals across India, Middle East, and Africa as they let transformative technologies embrace the industry. Putting digital at the heart of their operations will revitalize the overall finance profession and make it future ready. As India’s ecosystem becomes more start-up driven and embraces a more disruptive model of business, it is imperative for finance and accounting professionals to upskill themselves to be future ready,” said Khalife.

During the centennial event, Thomson shared insights on the evolution of finance and accounting professionals and how global value chains are going digital and how this is impacting operations. He also moderated a panel discussion around Data Analysis & Tech in Corporate Finance/Management Accounting along with five panelists from Wipro, FOAA IN, Unilever, Founder Verso Holdings and HPE.

Kabir Ahmed Shakir, Former CFO, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd, Dr. Jai Ganesh, Senior Vice President & Head, Mphasis NEXT Labs, and Sandhya Sriram, Global Head of Audit & Risks, Wipro Enterprises, were a few industry luminaries also present on the occasion. Kabir Ahmed Shakir shared interesting insights on the expanding role of CFOs in the age of digital technologies, specifically around how technology is making the finance profession more effective while Dr. Jai Ganesh spoke about artificial

intelligence (AI) as an enabler for decision analysis and enhanced due diligence using deep learning and natural language processing. In her address, Sriram shed light on the emerging trends of AI and machine Learning specific to the finance and accounting domains.

The conference also highlighted IMA’s leadership in advancing professionals globally over the last 100 years and how IMA has been working towards shaping the future for the next century.

The conference was sponsored by International Skill Development Corporation (ISDC), Vidyarupa School of Management Studies, Gleim, CareerGraph, EduPristine, NorthStar Academy, and Logic School of Management.