Take the Guesswork Out of Creating a Development Plan

In my role at IMA©, I oversee the creation of management accounting educational products that help our members expand their professional knowledge and skills. These products include webinars, online self-development courses, and live events such as IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo and Leadership Academy workshops.

Before selecting educational products, it’s important to first take stock of your professional development needs for your current situation as well as your career aspirations, and then put together a plan. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some ideas.

Take Stock in Your Professional Knowledge and Skills

Young businesswoman thinking and cloud of mind with quiestionsThe first step in creating a professional development plan is to assess your management accounting skills and knowledge. There are various ways to do this. You can ask your colleagues or manager for their perspective, consider feedback received during your performance reviews, talk with a mentor or coach, or do a self-assessment. After obtaining feedback and results, you can then determine which areas for growth you want to focus on when building your development plan.

Plan Your Development

Once you’ve benchmarked your skills and prioritized areas for improvement, you can start building a development plan that is customized to your particular needs. This involves considering the extent of what you need to learn, how much time you have to devote to expanding your skills, and what types of education you find most attractive. Remember to consider various options for development, including self-study online courses and webinars, relevant books and publications by thought leaders, blended learning solutions involving classes and online courseware, live events such as conferences or specific training sessions, networking with others, and on-the-job activities.

After researching the various learning opportunities, select those which you feel best meet your needs and record them on your development plan. Also, determine the date you want to start each of your selections as well as a completion date.

Commit to Your Plan

A critical next step is to “work” your development plan by starting and completing the activities you’ve identified to close your skill gaps. As you progress with your activities, it will also be important to update your development plan with actual results. This will keep you motivated to continue on your professional development path. Then, at certain intervals (such as quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly), you should take stock regarding the broader progress made against areas for improvement to ensure you are successfully closing your skills gap. If diligent about your efforts, you will be proud to see your progress.

Continue Your Professional Development Progress

careerdriverIMA’s CareerDriver ™ career planning tool is designed to help members assess their management accounting competencies and create personalized development plans. Whether you are looking to transition into a new role, strengthen your skills, or discover new professional possibilities, Career Driver has the right personalized approach for you.

Gaining new knowledge and skills is a lifelong adventure as well as critical to professional success in your current and future positions. The personal assessment and development plan process is a continuous discipline in which you will reap many benefits. Enjoy this important professional journey!

Written by Debbie Warner, CPLP

 

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What Exactly Is a Professor In Residence?

If you’re asking yourself, “What is a Professor in Residence (PIR)?” you aren’t alone. I get this question often, as my role is a bit more ambiguous than, say, a lawyer’s or teacher’s job. Typically, a PIR works at a university or college and facilitates research, teaching, public service, and other activities. But my position within a nonprofit organization is unique, dynamic, and provides so much more.

spider's web with dew drops backgroundAcademic Liaison
I joined IMA in 2006 as Director of Research after having been a college professor for quite a number of years. Three years later, I was asked to also assume the role of IMA’s PIR. I accepted, as this was an opportunity to advance the management accounting profession by connecting with students and faculty around the world and draw on my extensive academic experience to design programs aimed at meeting this market’s very unique needs.

I work with IMA to achieve these goals by helping prepare the next generation of finance and accounting professionals who will work in business. One way we do that is through our CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program. Another is by supporting faculty teaching and research efforts.

With that in mind, one program I created that helps academics stay connected is IMA’s Campus Advocate program. Having taught at a school where I was essentially the only faculty member interested in teaching management accounting, I saw a need for a program that enabled faculty interested in management accounting education to network, ask questions, and share best practices.

Student Development
Of course, students – the future of our profession – are a key part of the picture. I’ve been able to develop several programs with the goal of ensuring that students are adequately prepared for their future roles. A key consideration has been the realization that every school has differing programs, goals, and resources, so it’s important that IMA offer a variety of programs from which to choose.fresh springs isolated

The IMA Accounting Honor Society, to be launched in March, will recognize high-achieving accounting students. Not solely restricted to students interested in management accounting, I see this society as a way of recognizing and encouraging students to pursue the diverse and rewarding careers available in the accounting profession.

Advocate for the Profession
Being IMA’s PIR has enabled me to advocate for IMA and the management accounting profession. I get to interact with people all over the world who are passionate about the future of the organization and the profession. I find this aspect of the position very rewarding, in addition to the ability to help students find the career path that is best for them.

Regardless of whether or not a student initially pursues a public accounting career, more than 75% of all accountants end up pursuing careers in management accounting. To this end I formed a Joint Curriculum Task Force with the Management Accounting Section (MAS) of the American Accounting Association (AAA), which I chair. Our Task Force has developed an Accounting Education Framework that addresses these diverse education needs and has helped inform other curricular initiatives.

Changing Your Role
The combination of passion and talent led me to my position at IMA. You, too, could get so much more out of your position. Don’t be afraid to add to your job description or expand your perspective. There’s a wide variety of career options out there for you, many of which you may never have even considered!

What aspects of your current role would you change if you had the opportunity?

Written by Dr. Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA
Follow me on Twitter @RaefLawson

 

 

Related Links:

IMA Student and Academic Members Page – IMA
Faculty Titles Directory – Temporary Non-Track Positions – University of Connecticut