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Accounting program earns Institute of Management Accountants endorsement

As first in state to earn the endorsement, Lipscomb grads will be better prepared to enter into accounting management.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078  | 

Calculator and computer on desk

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

The Lipscomb College of Business’ accounting program recently became the first one in the state to achieve an endorsement from the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA®), a designation signifying that Lipscomb’s accounting curriculum meets the rigorous standards needed for students to prepare for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam and successful careers in management accounting.

This is the latest in accomplishments for the accounting program, which became the first in the state, and the fourth in the nation, to achieve accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) in 2012. The IMA endorsement, created five years ago, has been achieved by a short list of colleges of business worldwide, including Michigan State, Penn State, Baylor and Clemson universities in the U.S.

The IMA is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. To qualify for endorsement by IMA, schools must substantially cover the CMA exam content in their curriculum; have adequate faculty resources to deliver this content; be accredited by a recognized accreditation organization and designate a faculty member as an IMA Campus Advocate.

Marcy Binkley

Marcy Binkley

Through a new curriculum approach implemented in the 2020-21 school year under the direction of Marcy Binkley, chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Lipscomb accounting students now have the opportunity to prepare for and take the dual CMA/CPA credential exams while still in undergraduate and graduate school.

The Certified Management Accountant/Certified Public Accountant dual certification requires a bachelor’s degree and work experience to fully earn the credentials, but Lipscomb’s curriculum now prepares students to pass the CMA certification exam while still in undergraduate school and to pass the CPA certification exam while in the Master of Accountancy program.

In addition to getting the toughest part of the process behind them before entering the working world, this approach allows graduates to be better prepared to take the CPA exam in graduate school, said Tim Creel (MBA ’02), assistant professor of accounting. The CMA certification had proven to be a predictor of better salaries and more career advancement for accountants, he said.

Tim Creel

Tim Creel

“Having the CMA credentials will make our graduates more attractive to employers. In addition, the curriculum to meet CMA standards provides graduates with leadership, decision-making and ethics skills that will help them move into accounting management and leadership,” Creel said. “These are skills that will benefit our graduates regardless of the path their career takes them.”

The IMA provides up to 10 scholarships a year for Lipscomb students to take the CMA exam for free and to enjoy three years of IMA membership for free, Creel said. Lipscomb is seeing a steady increase in the number of students interested in taking the exam, he said. 

“There is a growing need for well-equipped accounting professionals in the Nashville market as the local economy continues to grow,” Creel said. “Having certifications such as the CMA/CPA demonstrates a higher level of knowledge of accounting concepts and principles and helps them advance in their future careers.”

IMA’s globally-recognized CMA program is a relevant assessment of advanced accounting and financial management knowledge in areas such as financial planning, analysis, control and decision support.

Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 125,000 members in 150 countries and 300 professional and student chapters.