Since AICPA & CIMA came together five years ago, I have been a strong supporter and advocate for our Association. From the beginning, I saw how each founding body could empower the other and could become greater than the sum of our parts. We are now ready to move forward and build on what we have achieved. This year's Association theme of "Adapt + Thrive" fits perfectly with my own theme of "Dare Together".
Following the challenges we have experienced over the past 18 months, I am confident that we are not being too ambitious. We should not be afraid of new challenges. By "daring together", I am certain we will be even more successful in the future. Having been through an experience such as a global pandemic, we have learned the strength of working together. Being able to collaborate on the new challenges we face will help us succeed.
AICPA & CIMA came together because we, as individual members of those founding bodies, chose to do so through a democratic process. Any doubts some may have had as to whether we would be stronger together have been answered in how, as a joint Association, we have not only endured the pandemic but thrived.
When we began our relationship, there was no precedent to work from and no rule book, but our joint resources represent powerful assets. They enabled us, almost overnight, to pivot to support our members and students throughout the world. We were able to move our examinations to a remote testing platform. That meant students' learning did not have to stop. The Association redoubled its efforts to keep members in work at a time when job security was nonexistent. The Association's Global Career Hub contains a huge range of roles to help members find their next opportunity. More than 1.25 million jobs were posted in 2020, despite many work opportunities being greatly diminished due to the crisis.
AICPA & CIMA's 200-plus years' combined experience is vital to our Association as we embark on our new five-year strategy. We aim to grow even more organically to ensure our Association maintains its ability to influence and remain relevant to all it serves. Strategic initiatives have been updated in response to the changing environment and provide the framework to make strategic investments in, for example, technology, people, and resources, and make alliances with partners who share common interests.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures now require a greater level of public disclosure, based upon the collection and analysis of data and a clear ESG strategy. As management accountants, we have always looked beyond the numbers to describe the value chain across the business. Using tools such as integrated thinking and reporting, we should prioritise finding where ESG principles can be applied and implemented. If you need support, AICPA & CIMA recently published guides such as Putting the E in ESG and a useful overview of the topic, Sustainability Frameworks and Standards (find the reports and others at cgma.org/resources/reports).
The challenges ahead of us are likely to change, but be confident that you are ready to face them. Use them as opportunities for positive transformation, with the resources and support of AICPA & CIMA in your toolkit. I want us as finance leaders to build a reputation for daring to be bold on the transition required. We are ready and able to make the next step in reimagining our profession and making our Association even more successful than it has been over our first five years.
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