Archive for ‘CMA Profiles’

August 17, 2012

Working abroad as a CMA

by Scott Roehl

The CMA designation is a nationally recognized Canadian designation. It is often inspiring for those entering the CMA program to be aware of the vast choice of industries a CMA can work in. The holistic perspective and versatility provides CMAs opportunities to work in Manitoba, across Canada and around the world.

CMAs Across The Globe

Currently, CMA Members are actively living and applying their unique skill set in more than 90 countries around the world. Many other CMA Members work for organizations that require regular global travel.

CMA also holds mutual recognition agreements (MRA) with other accounting bodies such as CPA Australia, CIPFA Members (UK) and CIMA (UK). Under a MRA, there is a reciprocal granting of professional designations for qualifying members of CMA Canada and the other body.

Read up on a few CMA globetrotters from this recent CMA Magazine article. You can also watch this video or read a profile on Mark Mandzik, CMA who is based in Manitoba and works globally.

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June 1, 2012

Update: A Look From Within The CMA Program

by Scott Roehl

Back at the beginning of the year (January 9, 2012 to be exact), I wrote a post that introduced three individuals who are currently at different stages in completing their CMA designation. With summer quickly approaching, it is a good time to check back with them for an update.

  • Adrian Ong (CMA Student – 18 Month Accelerated Program)
    “Hard work, diligence and self-discipline remain to be the basic components of effective learning. Make sure to have done all the assignments before attending classes. As much as possible attend real time webinars and participate actively in discussions.”
  • Jarrod Falk (CMA Candidate, Year 2 – Strategic Leadership Program)
    “Be an active participant throughout your SLP experience. Push yourself in the interactive sessions. Your moderators and classmates are an incredible resource at your disposal. Engage them and learn from them to make yourself a better student, employee and person.The road ahead of you may seem long but the things you will learn will enrich your career for your entire life. Don’t forget to take some time, step back, and appreciate the incredible journey you are on.”
  • Jennifer Lee (CMA Candidate – CMA Executive Program)
    “Leadership is multi-faceted, requiring an ability to maintain a strategic focus while simultaneously communicating that vision in a manner to which all can relate. Incorporating strategic governance, ethics, risk and performance, leadership also requires a strong understanding of team dynamics and the motivating factors that compel personnel to achieve organizational goals.”

Click here to read a Question & Answer interview with each participant.

January 9, 2012

A Look From Within The CMA Program

by Scott Roehl

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Confucius

Over the last couple of weeks, a group of aspiring CMAs took their first step here in Manitoba on the journey towards attaining a CMA designation by beginning study in the 18 Month Accelerated Program. Many steps will be taken on this journey and though at times it might be challenging, those who have attained a CMA designation before them will say that the journey is well worth it.

In my continued effort in 2012 to provide useful information and commentary to students (as well as other individuals) considering the CMA designation, I want to start my first post of the New Year by sharing perspective from within the CMA Program.

Highlighted below are three individuals who are at different points on their journey to attaining the CMA designation (an 18 Month Accelerated Program Student, a Year 2 Strategic Leadership Program CMA Candidate and a CMA Executive Program Candidate). While the Executive Program is specialized for senior leaders only, all profiles can provide some valuable insight in to their experiences.

I invite you to read the short bios below and then click on the Question & Answer link at the end of this post to read what each individual has to share. As they proceed through the CMA Program,  follow-ups will be shared to provide even greater insight. A special thank you goes out to Adrian Ong, Jarrod Falk and Jennifer Lee for their time, as well as Nicole Trunzo at the CMA Manitoba Office for compiling the interviews.

  • Adrian Ong (CMA Student – 18 Month Accelerated Program)
    Adrian Ong and his family immigrated to Canada in 2009 from the Philippines. Like most people, he was in search of more opportunities for himself and his family. Before immigrating, Adrian held mostly senior managerial positions focusing on the Treasury and Comptrollership functions of the companies he worked for. His degrees include a Bachelor’s Degree (BSBA – Accounting) and Master’s Degree (MBA) from the Philippines. Currently, he is working as a Senior Capital Management Analyst at The Great West Life Assurance Company. One of his happiest moments has been securing a job in Canada, allowing him to support his family.
  • Jarrod Falk (CMA Candidate, Year 2 – Strategic Leadership Program)
    Jarrod Falk graduated from the Asper School of Business in 2007 with a major in accounting. After school he spent a year in Asia before starting down his career path. Upon returning to Canada he began working at Griffin Wheel; a steel foundry in Transcona. Shortly into his time at Griffin, he began the Accelerated Program to hone his accounting skills that he hadn’t used in several years. Jarrod believes that the program, while intense, was incredibly effective at preparing him for the National Entrance Exam. Today, he is the Assistant Plant Controller, supporting the company’s operations and a candidate in year two of the Strategic Leadership Program.
  • Jennifer Lee (CMA Candidate – CMA Executive Program)
    Jennifer Lee has served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for over 18 years, having held a number of positions across the world – specifically in strategic and operational Comptrollership. She recognizes her work with the United Nations Mission in Sudan and in the NATO Headquarters in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where she held the position of Deputy Chief of Finance, as two highlights of her career. Currently, she is the Deputy Comptroller, 1 Canadian Air Division for the Department of National Defence. When free, she enjoys spending time with her family – twin six year-olds, Carson and Elliott, and her partner Scott.

Click here to read a Question & Answer interview with each participant.

September 26, 2011

Meet Steve Blunt, CMA

by Scott Roehl

Behind each of our CMAs in Manitoba is a unique story. This week I would like to introduce you to Steve Blunt, CMA who has made the move from Manitoba to living and working in Australia. If you have any questions for Steve, please leave them in the comments.

Which University or College did you attend?
I attended the University of Manitoba and attained my BComm (Hons) in 2001 from the Asper School of Business, with a major in Finance.

What drew you to your current field of work?
My current job came about from my wife’s decision to pursue a Master’s degree abroad. Moving from Winnipeg to Sydney, Australia provided a great opportunity to start fresh and gain experience in another business sector (to that point, all of my experience had been within the manufacturing sector). In Sydney, I took a great opportunity within the government sector. I now work for the New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment as the Senior Management Accountant for the Office of Water.

What do you enjoy most about being a CMA?
What I enjoy most is being able to apply the CMA skills in senior business functions, such as developing and implementing business strategies. The broader business mindset of the CMA enables me to act and think like a business owner rather than simply as an accountant. As a result, I’m more engaged and better able to contribute to my organization’s overall success.

What attracted you to the CMA designation?
After graduating with a major in finance, I quickly found that most finance related jobs in Manitoba were hard to get if you didn’t also have an accounting major. I was then offered a job on the condition that I pursue an accounting designation, and the best fit for me was the CMA. It was strongly recommended by several colleagues and allowed me to take the accelerated program, which saved several years of potential evening classes. The CMA Strategic Leadership Program was also more suited to my interests, and enabled me to avoid tax and auditing!

Which skills did you develop in the CMA program that have impacted your career the most?
The most important skills I’ve developed include confidence in my ideas, critical analysis of issues, and the importance of separating operational and strategic issues. Understanding the strategic issues faced in our workplace changed my attitudes towards the business decisions being made, and enabled me to develop and take on a management role. The CMA truly prepared me for that role. It also led the way for an opportunity on a senior strategic planning team, which determined and presented viable recommendations for the future direction of the company. This has been my most valuable work experience thus far.

Where do you think the CMA designation will take you in the future?
The most beneficial aspect of having an accounting designation is that there is no limit to my future potential: It will take me as far as I am motivated to go. My current goal to is gain experience to prepare myself for a senior management role, where I can apply my skills and directly affect company change.

What advice do you have for students considering an accounting designation?
Talk with people with different designations in detail about their experiences, and what limitations they see in each designation. Every designation has strengths and limitations, and most people don’t know much about the others until they’ve already completed the one program they chose. Really think about where you want your career path to go, and which designation is best suited for you.

Lastly, be realistic about the effort required to achieve your designation. Working and studying at the same time is a continuous challenge: you need to be fully committed if you want to pass.

[Note from Scott Roehl: I would like to thank Steve who graciously provided his time from across the world to answer these questions.]

May 3, 2011

Meet Shawn Eni, CMA

by Scott Roehl

Thanks to Shawn Eni who provided some great insight on his path to becoming a CMA. If you have an additional question for Shawn, please post it in the comments section and I’ll work on getting a response.

Which University or College did you attend?

I majored in Administrative Studies at the University of Winnipeg, graduating in 2003.

What drew you to your current field of work?
I spent 10 years employed with Canada Revenue Agency, 5 years as an agent for individual tax returns and 5 years as an auditor for income tax and GST.

After achieving the  CMA designation, I decided there is better use for all the creative, out-of-the-box thinking I developed in the CMA Program, so I looked for another job… in Israel. I am now the Financial Manager for Nalco Israel Industrial Services Ltd.

What do you enjoy most about being a CMA?
The most interesting thing about being a CMA so far has been the fact that I am the only CMA in Israel. At my job interview with Nalco, I explained what a CMA is and why it’s different than other accounting designations. I think my explanation may have been a big factor in their decision to hire me.

Now in my job I perform all those things a CMA does over and above an “ordinary accountant”. This includes strategic decision making and management analysis to support decision-making.

What I enjoy about this is the feeling of personal accomplishment when my work has a noticeable positive impact on the company. Something they probably wouldn’t get if they hired an “ordinary” accountant.

What attracted you to the CMA designation?
I left high school with dreams of a career scoring for films. I attended University of Manitoba School of Music for one year before I felt that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I should be. After a lengthy talk with a friend who was then going through the CA School of Business, he pointed out the many benefits of a career in accounting. While I never wanted to be a “number cruncher”, I researched different types of accounting careers. I then read up on CMA which instantly drew me in because it’s not only “number crunching”. It’s everything a business needs: strategy, creativity and a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. This instantly drew me in and way back in 1999 I began attending university part-time with the intention of completing all the prerequisite courses required for CMA.

Which skills did you develop in the CMA program that have impacted your career the most?
The ability to negotiate, the ability to look for important strategies in unexpected places, and the ability to present myself in a confident manner. In negotiations, it’s now second nature to look for win-wins. I experience this when dealing with customers, suppliers and banks. I also gained the ability to present findings confidently in a manner which is understandable to all managers in my company. Even with language barriers which are inherent in a multi-national company such as Nalco.

Where do you think the CMA designation will take you in the future?
While Nalco Company is a billion-dollar global corporation with over 11,000 employees worldwide, I am the only member of the financial team at Nalco Israel. The Israeli company is still young and is growing rapidly. Therefore it is expected that within the year, I will be leading my own financial team here in Israel. CMA has given me the tools to be an effective leader. My future goal is to be an influential team leader not only within Nalco, but internationally as well.

What advice do you have for students considering an accounting designation?
While studies leading up to the CMA Program and for the program itself are challenging, there is definitely an element of fun. The interactive sessions are very informative and allow each student to apply what they learn in their current job.

My advice is to choose an accounting designation where its theories are easily applicable to one’s current position as well as everyday life. While in the CMA Program, one can almost go into their jobs the following Monday and immediately apply what they learned at the interactive sessions and in the readings.

April 25, 2011

Meet a CMA

by Scott Roehl

The possibilities of what you can do with a CMA designation are almost limitless. But what does that really mean to a student? It is hard enough sometimes just getting through your university or college program, never mind planning for another 2 – 3 years of part-time study after to attain the CMA designation. And then where do you want to go with your CMA designation? That is a lot to think about.

One reason I enjoy working with the CMA office in Manitoba is the large number of CMAs working in all different types of roles and industries who are very willing to take time often from demanding schedules to speak with students. Any student whether in first or last year of studies can take advantage of the opportunity to be connected up with a CMA to speak with. From the feedback I receive, students really value this interaction to ask questions and learn directly from a CMA about why they chose the designation and where it has taken them. This can be quite helpful when you are deciding whether CMA is a good fit for your future.

To provide further assistance, I will begin to connect CMAs in to this blog regularly as an added way for you to hear their story and insights. If you have an additional question for the CMA, you will be able to post it in the comments and I’ll make sure to get a response for all to see and benefit from.

The inaugural CMA Profile post will feature a CMA who has taken his designation and creative thinking globally to work with a mult-billion dollar international corporation. Stay tuned for his story!