An Accounting Professionals Tribute to ICMA Australia – Dr Chris D’Souza, Honorary Treasurer of ICMA
‘When the student is ready the master appears’ – is an eastern saying. In the spring of 2004, I was ready to take the next step in my life of learning when Prof. Janek and ICMA Australia appeared in the form of the 7-day CMA course. Strategic Cost Management & Strategic Business Analysis. I do not exaggerate when I say that those seven days transformed my knowledge of Accounting and consequently my career. It is with deep gratitude that I stand before you today to acknowledge and pay tribute to ICMA Australia.
In 2004 I had already had a lot of Accounting education both at the Graduate and post-graduate level over 25 years in the accounting profession. This includes the very tough Indian Chartered Accountancy as well as Masters level studies at Monash University. But the seven-day course of ICMA stands out as I learned more in those seven days than in the previous two decades of Accounting studies. In nearly 4 decades of learning formal & informal CMA stands out as the most powerful educational experience There is another eastern saying – the teacher and taught together create the teaching. That is what happens to students in the 7-day course – the excellent course material put together by Prof. Janek along with his wealth of experience together with the knowledge and experience of students (most of whom are senior professionals – CFO’s & Financial controllers included) creates a powerful and potent learning mechanism.
But amazing as the course was it was just the beginning of my learning in the field. In the decade since then, the knowledge I gained at the course applied in various organizations has helped me grow that knowledge in the light of experience. My membership with CMA brought me in touch with the then CEO of CMA Australia Dr. Leon Duval who was the Chairman of the Board of the company which appointed me as their management accounting centric CFO. This company had Five Revenue earning Departments across Five Locations across Australia and New Zealand. When I joined the company it was in deep trouble it was making a loss but its financial accounts did not give the management any clue as to the reason for the loss or how to turn the company around. We introduced Activity based Cost Accounting and Management techniques – changed the accounting system from MYOB to Netsuite and within three months were able to provide the Board with accurate department wise location wise reports which helped them to take appropriate action to turn the company around in six months. That was just the beginning – the management with the help of these reports grew the value of the business and a couple of years later was able to sell the business for millions. The Managing Director credited our Management Accounting reporting with this turnaround.
In over four decades in the accounting profession I have worn every possible hat the profession has to offer – from Accounting Professor to Auditor to Financial Accountant to Tax Accountant to Financial Controller to CFO. And of all these I must say that Management Accounting is the one that adds maximum value to a business. Therefore, I am in a position to appreciate the importance of Management Accounting and the great work that CMA Australia is doing in spreading this knowledge across the world. I have had the good fortune of being closely associated with CMA Australia for the last 12 years. CMA Australia has played an important role in shaping me as a professional. So today I stand before you to salute all those visionaries responsible for founding this organisation which has had a profound impact on the lives & careers of accounting professionals across the world.
Dr Chris D’Souza
Honorary Treasurer of ICMA