Archive for ‘CMA’

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.

June 27, 2012

Becoming an Associate of CMA Manitoba

by Scott Roehl

Throughout the various presentations and information sessions CMA Manitoba hosts, we will often talk about the opportunity to become an Associate of CMA Manitoba. Let me share with you more about why this could be an important step on the path to pursuing a CMA designation.

The decision to pursue a CMA requires careful consideration both from a professional and personal perspective. Becoming an Associate forges a link or as my colleague puts it, establishes you as a friend of CMA Manitoba. This free program allows students & working professionals to receive some great perks while considering CMA. These include:

• Access to CMA Manitoba’s jobs.cma-manitoba.com job board

• Invitations to CMA Manitoba networking events

• CMA Magazine & monthly eNews

• Exam Invigilation at reduced fees

Signing up is as simple as completing the Associate Application Form found at the end of the CMA Path Brochure and submitting along with a copy of your academic transcripts (originals not required).

Having this relationship with CMA Manitoba will ensure that you  know what is happening in the CMA Community and receive the latest updates.

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.

April 30, 2012

The Importance of a CMA Counselling Session

by Scott Roehl

Congratulations, you are interested in the CMA accounting designation. Now what?

The decision to pursue an accounting designation is filled with careful consideration and an eye to future goals both professionally and personally. Knowing this, it is important that you get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Perhaps you have read through a CMA Path Brochure, visited the CMA Manitoba website, attended a CMA Information Session or talked to a family member or friend who is a CMA. These are all good sources to start your research and obtain more information about the designation.

The next step is to arrange a CMA Counselling Session which will further educate you on the program requirements, expectations and support provided. During this step, we will ask to receive a copy of your academic transcripts so that a transcript evaluation can be prepared for the counselling session.

During the session which usually lasts about an hour, Petra Noack Menzies (Program Administrator) will sit down with you to get to know you better, provide an overview of the program requirements, and most importantly answer your questions. A review of your transcript will also be provided such that if any missing requirements are identified, helpful guidance will be provided.

There is a lot to consider with a decision to pursue a CMA designation and a counselling session will help you make sense of it all.

March 2, 2012

No Student Left Behind

by Scott Roehl

If there is a theme to some of the questions I have received from students since late last fall, it has been one of concern about what happens during the transition period if the accounting profession becomes unified. One principle of the merger discussions as stated in the Guiding Principles for Unification is that the combined accounting body would evolve in to a single designation with a new Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Certification Program. So what happens if you have focused studies to meet the requirements for the CMA Program?

First, it is important to note that further information on the merger discussions has been released over the last couple of months which will help ease some concerns. If you haven’t had the opportunity, I encourage you to read the following documents (they can also be accessed at www.cpacanada.ca):

With the magnitude of such a change, you can be assured that a transition would be carefully managed and communicated so that no student gets left behind. Stated in the CPA Certification Program document, “we believe it would take at least 18 months to create the new CPA certification program. This would mean at the earliest, transition timing would be:

  • September 2013: The new CPA Certification Program would be launched. All new candidates would start in this program
  • Fall 2015: The first CPA final examination would be offered.”

In the short-term while a CPA certification program is implemented, the CMA Strategic Leadership Program and its entrance requirements would continue to exist. So long as the CMA Program is offered, students who have an interest in completing the designation would follow the entrance requirements and complete program components. At the time of the CPA Program introduction, future students would enter the CPA Certification Program. Those individuals already in the CMA Program would complete studies and attain the CMA designation.

Students are recognized as important stakeholders in this process and CMA Manitoba will continue to provide updates and important information as it becomes available.

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.

December 2, 2011

Balancing the technical mindset

by Scott Roehl

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak before a group of aspiring engineers at the University of Manitoba. This might come as a bit of surprise. Why would CMA, an accounting designation, be talking with engineering students?

The key to the answer is professional diversity.

The CMA designation complements an engineer’s technical base with an added financial and strategic focus. Combining these skill sets provides a strong foundation for business leadership roles and an enhanced perspective, especially in multi-disciplinary meetings.

In opening a dialogue with engineering students, we are able to provide clarity on how the CMA goes hand-in-hand with a P.Eng. Additionally, students can complete some elective studies through a business or accounting minor which will be an asset in entering the CMA Program in the future.

For another perspective on this topic, please read the CMA Profile of Dave Wardrop, CMA.

October 25, 2011

Managing That Student Stress

by Scott Roehl

It’s tough being a student. Your time is stretched in every direction and sometimes it can almost seem too much. I am reminded of the stress in being a student especially at this time of the year when midterm exams are occurring at many of the post-secondary institutions in Manitoba.

While I have no magic solution for making all that stress disappear, I do want to take a moment to offer some ideas on how to manage (perhaps even minimize) some of it. Feel free to share your tips in the comments!

  • Exercise – As @TypeACubed suggested on our @cmamb Twitter Account, “Boxing and Pan Am Boxing Club! There is nothing like hitting the bag and sweating out the stresses of the day.” Whether it is boxing, running or playing team sports, exercise is a great way to release stress and re-energize.
  • Get More Sleep – What is that? I realize it is easier said then done as a student. but take care of yourself and make sure you are getting adequate rest.
  • Take time for Friends – When opportunities arise, take time in your schedule to meet up with friends. Friends are there for you and can be a sounding board for the stress and challenges you are experiencing.
  • Tune in to something else – Put some music on or put on that favourite TV show to watch. These little “breaks” can help you in coping with all that stress.
  • “Staycation” – If you ever watched the show Corner Gas you might recall actor Brent Butt taking a “staycation” – essentially dreaming about vacationing in an exotic location without actually going anywhere. Reality is, not all students are in a position to take vacations away during school. Instead, have a mini-vacation and find some fun activities you can do locally to get out, have fun and relax.
October 21, 2011

Accredited University Graduate Explained

by Scott Roehl

A popular question I have received this fall has been in regards to what the CMA Accredited University Graduate means and how to achieve it? Let me explain.

For most students interested in pursuing a CMA designation, a recognized Canadian university degree (or an approved international equivalent) in conjunction with the successful completion of CMA pre-requisites in accounting and management topics is required to challenge the CMA Entrance Exam. Graduates who have not completed all of the CMA prerequisites can complete the CMA Accelerated Program in order to challenge the CMA Entrance Exam.

In Manitoba, the B.Comm. (Hons.) accounting major program delivered at the Asper School of Business is a program accredited by CMA Canada. This means that students at the Asper School of Business who successfully complete their degree program including all CMA pre-requisite topics while maintaining a high GPA over their course work may be eligible to be waived from the CMA Entrance Exam. If approved as an Accredited University Graduate, the student would be able to proceed directly in to the CMA Strategic Leadership Program.

Students who are considering the Accredited University Graduate path need to consult with the CMA Manitoba Office while completing studies at the Asper School of Business to ensure understanding of what is required to apply for the waiver.

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.]