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The view from the President: The silent heroes

CIMA President Steven Swientozielskyj, FCMA, CGMA

I am humbled by how members go beyond for our Institute.

I set out in my first FM column in July that as CIMA president, I will be championing our 2019 centenary year and also our Future of Finance research. This rigorous piece of work feeds into the CGMA Competency Framework, Syllabus, and, ultimately, learning for members. It will prepare students and members for working in an increasingly fast-paced digital workplace.

In that future workplace, with many yet-to-be-imagined processes and technologies, our members will continue to work in a wide range of organisations and roles. In common, however, each have their hard-earned CIMA professional qualification and the CGMA designation. I am convinced of the substantial value of both — for individuals and for their businesses. For employers, our qualification and designations are clear marks of quality; they also facilitate members' careers in different companies, sectors, and countries.

Early in my career as an ambitious financial controller in the agricultural machinery sector, I was unable to take a role in the US because of the lack of recognition for our ACMA qualification there. That situation is changing — we have made considerable progress since the CGMA designation was introduced in 2012, and we work hard to explain its value and promote it across the world's markets.

In my first column, I also set out how engaging with students is a key strand of my work this year — I enjoy encouraging and mentoring those on the route to membership. I also coach and mentor those who have got to that point and beyond. I am keen to develop people's capability and stretch them so that they can achieve their full career potential, and I am far from being alone in this work. I am continually humbled by how members around the world go beyond for our Institute in many ways — locally, regionally, and globally. These are the silent heroes who put in hours of work beyond the factory gates and corporate office doors. Where possible, we should also opt in to support less fortunate members by donating to CIMA's Benevolent Fund. This ability to give back is in our DNA — the golden thread that runs throughout CIMA. There may be no easy set of KPIs or metrics to measure it, but its value is enormous.

For me, giving back includes my involvement with CIMA's North West Business Group in the UK. In July I presented there on business partnering, one of my specialist areas of knowledge. I also, however, lecture and have an input in other parts of the UK and abroad.

Continuing to learn — and the ability to work in an agile way with a growth mindset — are key for successful and enjoyable careers. As much of the transactional and repetitive work is automated, we need to continue to build our human skills — including the skills of complex problem-solving, creativity, and emotional intelligence, all of which the World Economic Forum identifies within its top ten skills for 2020. Our Association has a particular role in delivering learning resources in this area — to prepare you for tomorrow's workplace.

Finally, please do get in touch by email at Steve.Swientozielskyj@aicpa-cima.com if you would like to comment on any of these issues. In my next column I will focus on a further strand of my work during this year as CIMA president.


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