IMA CEO Thomson foresees ‘megatrends’ for accountants this 12 months

Institute of Management Accountants president and CEO Jeff Thomson is predicting six megatrends in the finance and accounting profession this calendar year.

They consist of:

  • An raising total of automation
  • Distant function becoming the norm for finance groups
  • Environmental, social and governance reporting developing in great importance
  • Finance professionals becoming held accountable for company chance management
  • Variety, equity and inclusion starting to be a lot more of a competitive differentiator, in addition to currently being the right detail to do and,
  • Escalating demand for upskilling and continuing instruction for pros.

Quite a few of the developments are kinds found in years past, but are probably to grow in great importance this year as corporations offer with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and face problems in implementing engineering and responding to needs for a assorted workforce and the threats posed by local weather adjust, he stated.

Institute of Management Accountants president and CEO Jeff Thomson

Courtesy of the IMA

“Organizations and their CFOs have to go on to develop their balance sheets, proceed to commit in the potential, develop their talent pipeline, make investments in automation and analytics, and assistance that pent up demand from customers,” stated Thomson. “Continue to build their teams and company that need. Invest in technologies, RPA and automation instruments.”

Above the previous 12 months, he has viewed distant do the job consider hold as a way to cope with the pandemic, but some organizations are incorporating hybrid versions combining two or three days of get the job done in the business office and two or three days of get the job done from household.

“That implies you have the automation instruments, collaboration equipment, discipline and taxonomies to make sure that people today kind of understand the protocols,” explained Thomson.

ESG reporting has grown in reputation as much more organizations consider to show how they are responding to weather modify and social troubles in reaction to trader needs for larger accountability. Thomson sees price in strategies for some of the standard-setters in this region, like the Sustainability Accounting Specifications Board and the Worldwide Built-in Reporting Council, to merge together into a single business that will be named the Worth Reporting Foundation. SASB and the IIRC have also announced programs to perform with other groups like the Global Reporting Initiative, the Carbon Disclosure Challenge, and the Climate Standards Disclosure Board to harmonize their requirements. The Intercontinental Economic Reporting Expectations Foundation is also taking into consideration a proposal to create an Intercontinental Sustainability Expectations Board that it would oversee alongside the Global Accounting Expectations Board (see tale).

“There have been so lots of companies overlapping and overstepping just about every other, so that could convey some extra clarity and consolidation to this,” claimed Thomson. “IMA has been calling for that for very a prolonged time.”

The reporting needs need to not be extremely burdensome, having said that. “I am actually confident that the U.S. is commencing to understand the worth devoid of building an overbearing disclosure procedure,” explained Thomson. “We do not automatically want to make this required. We will not want to build as well considerably force or excess weight on the disclosures process in the U.S. We want to make it meaningful for traders, significant for corporates, devoid of putting an frustrating reporting burden on preparers. We want to uncover the proper equilibrium in the U.S. and all-around the globe.”

Alongside with ESG problems, accountants will also be working far more with organization hazard administration as they cope with problems like the effect of COVID-19 and other disasters on their businesses.

“With enterprise danger administration, corporations are striving to be extra anticipatory of disasters,” said Thomson. “You won’t be able to foresee a certain disaster, but you definitely ought to be making small business continuity preparing, catastrophe recovery and remote do the job policies.”

With the development of the Black Lives Matter motion last calendar year, organizations are viewing a bigger will need to boost their range attempts as they upskill their employees.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are important differentiators for companies in the race for relevance of our career,” explained Thomson. “Technology is transferring so speedily. It could result in some suppression of careers at the low conclusion. As positions get automated absent, transaction processing or routine repetitive styles of work perhaps get changed by increased benefit-extra analytics form of careers, but only if we commit to upskilling and reskilling and diversifying our expertise pool. That’s wherever that diversification of the expertise pool will come into engage in. We have a great deal of options to leverage these megatrends in automation, remote perform, ESG and DE&I in the over-all talent pool.”

The IMA will be presenting a examine Thursday that it conducted with the California Society of CPAs on range, equity and inclusion throughout a virtual event.

Thomson is hopeful about the calendar year ahead. “I believe 2021 will be a excellent 12 months for our individual sake as human beings, but I feel 2021 is likely to be a good calendar year for the occupation in lots of, numerous ways,” he stated. “There are important hazards, but I consider the job has an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate its mettle, its resilience and its adaptability.”