Is a Central Body a Must for Cost Accounting Professional Growth?

Sep 03, 2014

When you think of cost accounting as a profession, you quickly realize it is not really recognized like you would a lawyer, nurse, teacher, etc. I believe one of the items of importance related to the transition of cost accounting to a profession, has to do with the creation or utilization of an existing entity to be the central clearinghouse and sponsoring entity for cost accountants and cost accounting as a profession.

Most every profession has at the center an organization that supports, controls, overseas and provides direction for that profession and its members. Such an organization would have to be in existence and take the lead in developing any such professional status for cost accountants today. I believe that such an organization would have to be structured with a highly diverse board to assist in the oversight and to guide the direction of the profession. I believe that this board would have to be made up of individuals who work in the profession, both in industry and in government. Also included would be educators recognized for their leadership and knowledge in management reporting, particularly cost accounting. As well as, members of management who use cost information such as CFOs or CEOs. In my mind, several seats on this board would have to be reserved for consultants in the industry that see a broad base of industries and cost applications. Consultants also might be in a better position to spot trends or problems before others, who are not as widely exposed to cost accounting issues in the country.

meetingI don’t believe this organization would start out with an international flavor, so I do not see a need for International members; nor do I believe any one industry or segment of the cost accounting area of work should be the primary area of focus. By that, I mean governmental cost issues should be one of the components of the profession but not the focus. The entire organization must be balanced to address the needs of all components of the profession.

Such a board would have to be sponsored by an existing entity such as the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) or a new entity to be formed that would be solely focused on cost accounting.

I believe the IMA would be the logical pre-existing entity to be the primary focus of this conversion to being professional, due to their past works in the cost area, as well as a number of talented members of the IMA who are well-versed in the cost area. They seem to be the most logical starting place for an entity that may be interested in leading the industry to convert to be a professional.

After the naming of the board, I believe the first order of business would be to have board meetings to begin to address the various supporting infrastructure that must be in place to support the cost accounting industry. I will discuss my view of some of those support processes in subsequent blogs.

Categories: Cost Accounting