You likely already know that the CMA is a designation that can do wonders to advance an accountant’s career and prospects, but what about making the best of your IMA membership?
Savvy CMA candidates don’t just join the IMA to get their CMA certification, they also take advantage of the many benefits of IMA membership, both before and after passing their exam. Belonging to this association not only opens a door to networking and community support, leadership opportunities, and knowledge sharing, it also offers fantastic avenues for continuing education, recognition, and special events.
Networking—An Accounting Association Can Help You Land a Job and Leverage Support
If you join an accounting association for no other reason, join for the networking. The importance of networking opportunities, especially for accounting students and certification candidates, cannot be overstated. The job market is competitive, and in order to land that ideal job, you should be leveraging every advantage possible.
When you’re a member of an accounting association, you have the support of a diverse community of colleagues from all over the world! You’re part of an organization that actively helps its members gain access to career opportunities, establish lifelong professional relationships, and more. Local IMA chapters, for instance, provide a range of services exclusively to members, which include professional education, leadership, mentoring, and community services.
Leadership Opportunities—IMA Membership Means Getting to Demonstrate Your Abilities
Especially if you plan to earn your CMA—a designation which stands out, in part, for its emphasis on management—being able to demonstrate leadership skills and experience is key. As part of an accounting association, it’s easy to learn and demonstrate your leadership skills as well as to have them verified and recognized. If you are a student, or have not yet worked in the field, this is a great chance to find a mentor who can help you develop your leadership abilities.
To illustrate, the IMA has a volunteer program that tracks members’ leadership development, and awards digital badges which can be displayed on an online resume or CV. The association also produces a monthly webinar series covering a variety of leadership topics, and even helps members to match to regional and global volunteer opportunities.
Continued Education and Recognition—Keeping Your Credentials Polished and Visible
As with other designations, in order to maintain your CMA certification you must regularly satisfy CPE (continuing education) requirements. Of course accounting associations are well aware of this, and provide fantastic means of earning your credit hours, and the IMA is no exception.
Associations like the IMA typically offer an abundance of webinars and courses that count toward the credit hours necessary to fulfill your ongoing CPE requirements, but the benefits don’t quite end there. In the case of IMA membership, you’re also able to earn additional certifications that make your existing one(s) even more valuable!
Not only does accounting association membership bolster your continuing education, it presents ample opportunities to shine. Accounting students in particular, as association members you stand to get ahead of your peers by participating in competitions, receiving prestigious awards, and catching the attention of industry leaders early in your career!
Professional Events—Staying on the Pulse of the Industry
Last, and certainly not least, one of the best benefits of accounting association membership is being able to stay in touch with the industry through exciting, informative, in-person events. Annual conferences are where some of the biggest news and changes hit first—not just in accounting, but in all fields.
The IMA holds an Annual Conference & Expo, Regional Conferences, and a special Student Leadership Conference. These are popular events at which accountants and candidates gather to enjoy unique learning experiences as well as some incredible networking. Students, especially those who haven’t yet decided on an accounting career path, should attend the Student Leadership Conference in order to:
- Take a tour of the industry, and meet accounting and finance teams from local organizations.
- Learn more about the CMA certification and the latest trends in the profession.
- Meet recruiters from well-known companies who are offering internships.
- Network with industry experts as well as other accounting students.
Staying up-to-date on what is happening in the accounting world should always be on your mind, and should be treated as part of your ongoing education. But industry events are also opportunities for interaction, engagement, and fun. They’re a chance to get refreshed and excited for what’s going on in the accounting field, and to get a first glimpse at what great opportunities may await you in your career!
You Can Also Save a Lot of Money on Your Exam Prep!
That’s right! One of the greatest things you can do for your CMA career is reduce the cost of getting certified. Gleim CMA Review offers student discounts as well as IMA chapter member discounts on review materials, and candidates can save on membership and exam fees through the IMA!