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Management accountants ‘better placed’ to lead

Those who have worked in advisory or management accountancy roles are more likely to climb the leadership ladder faster, according to a leading professional body.

In its latest global report, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), stated that recent research it had commissioned had revealed that the level of technical and business competencies required in advisory and management accounting roles were closely linked to those needed in leadership roles.

The report, supported by Hays Senior Finance, also provided insight into the mindset of companies when recruiting for finance positions. It found that professional qualifications were very highly rated and in demand for finance roles.

"Candidates with a professional qualification and a solid mix of soft skills and experience are highly sought after by employers," said Hays Senior Finance national director, Teresa Thorrington-Allen said. "Demand for CIMA professionals currently outstrips supply, particularly in larger blue chip companies, but little is being done to rectify this growing problem," she added.

The report also highlighted the need for companies to encourage their employees to take extra professional qualifications, but more support would be needed. CIMA executive director, Robert Jelly said: "Little financial support is offered to professionals undertaking these exams and until this changes, there will continue to be a dearth of strong professionals who are well equipped to become future leaders in finance."

CIMA said that only 29% of respondents said their employers had paid for their exams and course fees, despite more than three-quarters of all senior finance management claiming they would encourage such a programme.

"The results show that bridging the gap between policy and implementation when it comes to the training of staff is critical for organisations to ensure that key staff are retained and that training opportunities are cascaded throughout the organisation," added Mr Jelly.

"Finance professionals wanting to get ahead must not neglect the strength of good interpersonal skills, and with a professional qualification such as CIMA under their belt, they will be best placed to take on finance leadership roles in the future."

CIMA was established in 1919 and acts as a professional body offering training and qualifications in management accountancy and related subjects, focused on accounting for business; together with ongoing support for members.

News were correct at time of online publication