Is joining a professional association worth the investment?Posted on May 14, 2014

In May 2014, Laimoon attended the 6th Annual CFO conference, hosted by IMA Middle East. The conference touched on many of the issues facing the role of the CFO of today, with particular focus on the challenges facing finance and accounting professionals in the MENA region.


Being invited to attend conferences and events of this nature is just one of the many reasons why it makes sense to join a professional association like the IMA. Attending the conference were 70 senior finance and accounting professionals from some of the region’s most well-known and influential companies. For many of you reading this, your current or future boss was very likely to have been present either on stage or in the audience. Aside from the great conversation, presentations, debates and workshops that were taking place to learn from, the ability to network with these individuals is incredibly powerful. Laimoon was fortunate enough to spend some time with Jeffrey C Thomson, President and CEO of the IMA to discuss the benefits of professional associations and how they can move your career along the right track.

When asked why an individual should join a professional association like the IMA, Jeffrey was very keen to start by explaining why you shouldn’t join a professional association. Jeffrey wanted to make it very clear that joining a professional association does not mean placing the responsibility for your career development in their hands. He explained that you and only you are the driving force behind your career success and at no stage should you place that responsibility upon your boss, your company, your career advisor or indeed your professional association. The role of these figures is to support your career development but not to make it happen…only you truly have the power to do that.

Laimoon asked in what ways does a professional association support your career development. Jeffrey listed a number of factors:

  • Credibility
  • Global networking
  • Conferences and Events
  • Informal learning opportunities through research and articles developed by the association
  • Formal learning opportunities including professional qualifications like the CMA and workshops such as the IMA’s Leadership Academy
  • To gain a mentor and also to mentor other lesser experienced members
  • To share global best practice
  • To learn of global job opportunities

In short, professional associations help you do your current job more effectively and open doors for your future. At just a few $ each year, not joining a professional association could be a costly oversight that allows your competition to gain the competitive advantage and stay ahead of the curve.

As always, Laimoon wanted to take a regional look at the role of the professional association and asked Jeffrey to comment on why professional associations are particularly important in the GCC and ME? The answer was two-fold.

  1. With such a high proportion of family-owned and family-run businesses in the region, professional associations can help professionals to maintain their company’s governance standards, transparency and ethics and thus create and maintain their value through their values. C-Suite professionals in particular face unique challenges within the family-owned business and professional associations are able to offer them support and guidance to negotiate these challenges effectively.
  1. Youth unemployment is particularly rife here in the GCC and ME region and the professional qualifications and education opportunities that professional associations offer can really enable young people to move along a successful and guaranteed career path. They provide a solid vocational foundation and they enable the individual to differentiate themselves from their peers as well as demonstrate their skills, knowledge and commitment to their subject and career.

These two issues, unique to this region simply magnify the value of the professional associations and give greater return on investment to those who join.

For those in management accounting roles the IMA could be the perfect professional association for you. You can find out more about them and how to join from their website.

Don’t forget Laimoon can assist you in finding finance jobs, finance and accounting qualifications, leadership and management training and other great insight to help you build a successful career.

Our thanks go to Jeffrey C Thomson, IMA Middle East and Marcus Evans for allowing us to gather and share this invaluable insight with the Laimoon audience.

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