INTERVIEW: Raising the bar on accountancy

Nahla Abul-Ezz, Thursday 7 Jul 2022

As the Institute of Management Accountants prepares to open a branch in Egypt, Chair of Directors J. Stephen McNally explains how it can strengthen on-the-job skills.

Raising the bar on accountancy


The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is finalising procedures to open a branch in Egypt, J. Stephen McNally, chair of its global board of directors, said this week.

The IMA has been targeting the move for quite some time, McNally told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that Egypt had a distinguished accounting record.

With 150 branches around the world, the IMA is the only organisation to offer the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) qualification, earned through a multi-part exam. The CMA is a globally recognised accounting credential that has been the global benchmark for management accountants and financial professionals for the past five decades.

The IMA is celebrating the graduation of 100,000 management accountants in tandem with the 50th anniversary of its accredited CMA, McNally stated.

According to McNally, the IMA supports the profession internationally through research, the CMA programme, continuing education, networking, and upholding the highest ethical business practices. The IMA has a global network and provides its services in four regions: the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.

It is cooperating with 100 universities around the world, including the American University in Cairo and the German University in Cairo. McNally added that the IMA is also conducting accredited cooperation with public universities in Egypt, such as those of Cairo, Alexandria, Ain Shams, and Tanta.

Cooperation takes the form of scholarships for students specialising in finance and accounting, McNally said.

The Egyptian market is at the forefront of those in which the institute intends to expand in the light of increases in demand for management accounting services and the increase in the number of graduates of faculties of commerce and business administration, McNally told the Weekly.   

He explained that improvements in the country’s economic performance were followed by a development in the performance of companies, a fact that increases demand for skilled and competitive labour.

The IMA, according to McNally, offers 10 scholarships to around seven Egyptian universities each year.

Some 1,700 Egyptian accountants have obtained the CMA, including 300 accredited accountants, he said, noting that a Middle East financial control member of the IMA is an Egyptian national.

The institute has partnership agreements with a number of leading Egyptian companies like Al-Sewedy for Electric Cables and the Talaat Moustafa Group to help their staff obtain the CMA certificate.

It also cooperates with Egyptian banks like the Egyptian National Bank and the Commercial International Bank.

McNally said that the accounting sphere had changed after the coronavirus pandemic. Working systems had changed to working from home, and had they not had the right technology, this would not have survived, he added.

Once the IMA opens its office in Egypt, it will offer a 50 per cent discount on its CMA qualification for Egyptians, McNally said, noting that it will also open up many fields of work for Egyptian CMA holders.

The digital economy will change the face of accounting in a positive way and in a comprehensive global framework because it allows remote access, is fast, and is devoid of the usual routines, he continued.

The IMA will also offer training courses and workshops on financial inclusion, administrative accounting for small and medium-sized enterprises, and control and governance. It will conclude bilateral agreements with various parties to enable them to benefit from the institute’s programmes, he added.

Accounting plays a major role in developing scenarios for the future and alternative plans should the original ones change, he concluded.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 7 July, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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