Industry and Academia Build Bridges
Gary A. Luoma, CPA, CFM, CMA, DBA, professor of accounting at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, has just finished his one-year term as the Institute of Management Accountants first professor-in-residence, a position designed to introduce accounting students to career options in management accounting and financial management. "Public accounting firms, especially the large national firms, are usually a big recruiting presence on campuses. But corporate America hires fewer accountants and is thus less visible," Luoma told the Journal . The IMA hopes to educate students, especially as many firms cut back on their entry-level hires, forcing students to consider other options.
"We held some focus groups with students and found that many wanted to be in corporate accounting rather than in public accounting. However, they thought their only route was through a CPA firm," said Luoma. He helped set up academic mentor programs on college campuses, identifying a faculty member at each school who is committed to talking to students about careers in management accounting, financial management and public accounting, too. "We want to find avenues where the IMA, the American Institute of CPAs through its new Center for Excellence in Financial Management and the CPA profession generally can work better with academia." The IMA is aiming to send a representative to all academic conferences, such as those sponsored by the American Accounting Association.
The IMA plans to rotate the job every year; academics will take a leave of absence from their universities to fill the spot. Succeeding Luoma is Keith Russell, CMA, PhD, from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, who has recently served as chairman of the IMAs committee on academic relations.