President’s Message: Reports Presented at the AGM 2021

Prof Brendan O’Connell, FCMA
President, ICMA Australia & NZ

I mentioned last year that the Year 2020 was a year like no other in our lifetimes with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. The year 2021 has been almost similar in many ways. Like the rest of the world, the Institute in its 25th year, having been incorporated in 1996, continued to adapt its operations both in Australia and internationally.

Within Australia, our administrative office was intermittently closed for large parts of the year and our staff and Council continued to adapt to the new COVID-Normal mode of working.

ICMA adapted very well to the challenging Pandemic world and the constantly changing situation by

its resources towards:

  • Getting the New Zealand Government Qualification Authority (NZQA) assessment for the CMA program as being equivalent to the highest postgraduate Level 9 (Masters).
  • Rebranding CMA Australia as CMA ANZ
  • Repositioning ICMA as an educational education institute (like a university) and authorised to use an ‘’ web address.
  • Improving our website.
  • Enhancement of our member portal.
  • Holding three very successful Global CMA Zoom programs each attended by nearly 100 participants.
  • Holding regular Webinars for our members.
  • Submissions to the Government.
  • Attended industry relevant seminars and meetings
  • Sponsoring awards at universities
  • Publishing opinions pieces and media releases on important matters.

Like in the previous year I am glad to report that in 2020-21 ICMA continued to review, reimaging and recreate its operations by delivering webinars and Zoom programs.

  • As a direct result of the proactive adaptation by our executive, our revenue share recovered to within 5% over the previous year (2019-2020) in the 2020-21 year.
  • The current financial 2021-22 has already broken all previous records and the revenue is already more than 30% higher compared to the entire previous year and is expected to keep growing.

Webinars delivered internationally from Australia

The following Webinars were delivered internationally from Australia:

  • July 2, 2020 – “Finance Leadership during a Crisis: Respond, Recover and Reimagine.”
  • July 22, 2020 – “Sustainable Marketing – No longer just a “Green” word, but a Strategic Mindset.”
  • Aug 20, 2020 – “50 Shades of ‘New Normal’ (Part 1): Whipping Companies to Embrace an Alternate Societal Lifestyle.”
  • Sep 3, 2020 – “50 Shades of ‘New Normal’ (Part 2): The Emergence Of ‘Crazynomics’.”
  • Sep 10, 2020 – “50 Shades of ‘New Normal’ (Part 3): The Clash of Global Interconnections.”
  • Sep 16, 2020 – “What Organisations do in times of Crisis – What They Should Do.”
  • Oct 22, 2020 – Information Session – How to become a Certified Management Accountant.
  • Nov 19, 2020 – “Digital Marketing and Business Growth.”
  • Dec 9, 2020 – “Valuation and Distress Analysis in the Post COVID Era.”
  • March 25, 2021 – “Money Laundering: Traditional vs. Digital: Key Lessons for Bankers and Finance Professionals.”
  • April 15, 2021 – “How Accounting and Finance Professionals Can Help in Climate Action.”
  • May 5th, 2021 – “Bitcoin and Crypto: Why They Are Viable Investment Options”
  • May 13th, 2021– “Project Management in a Post-Covid World.”

A number of Webinars were also held by the Regional Branches in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Hing Kong.

Zoom CMA Programs delivered internationally from Australia

The following CMA programs were delivered internationally from Australia:

  • July 11th to 14th, 2020 – 4 day Zoom training on Strategic Business Analysis conducted for SMU University Singapore.
  • Aug 21st/22nd & Aug 28th/29th, 2020 – 4 day Zoom training for Strategic Business Analysis conducted by Hassan Associates in Dhaka Bangladesh.
  • Sept 12th to 14th, 2020- 3 days Zoom training for Strategic Cost Management conducted for SMU University Singapore.
  • Oct 2nd to 5th, 2020- 4 day Zoom training for Strategic Business Analysis conducted for SMU University Singapore.
  • Oct 10th to 12th, 2020- First Global Zoom CMA training Program – Strategic Cost Management for 90 participants from 16 countries incl. Canada, Switzerland, Middle East, Asia and ANZ.
  • Oct 17/18 & 24/25, 2020- First Global Zoom CMA training Program – Strategic Business Analysis for 90 participants from 16 countries incl. Canada, Switzerland, Middle East, Asia and ANZ.
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Strategic Cost Management, SMU Academy, Singapore (5th Intake). 16-18 Jan 2021.
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Strategic Business Analysis, SMU Academy, Singapore (5th Intake). 29-31 Jan & 1 Feb 2021.
  • Second CMA Global Zoom Program in Strategic Business Analysis, Syme Business School, Australia. March 6-8 & 13-14 & 20-21, 2021 attended by 102 participants from 20 countries.

CPD Programs

The following CPD and micro-credentialling certifications were delivered to ICMA members, in association with the Academy of Finance Australia (AFMA) and Mercu Buana University, Jakarta.

  • Certified Analyst in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Analyst in Project Finance (CAPF)
  • Certified International Business Analyst (CIBA)
  • Certified Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA)
  • Certified Business Analyst (CBV)
  • Certified Digital Marketing Specialist (CDMS)

Syme Business School

Syme Business School continued to organise Zoom programs for ICMA as listed above and this proved to be profitable and efficient for Syme Business School.

As a result of this, ICMA is happy to announce that Syme Business school made a profit for the second consecutive financial year in 2020-21 and is continuing to operate profitably in 2021-22. Consequently, they continue to reduce the accumulated past losses.

Publications, Research and Library


The eNewsletter On Target continued to be published and the web-analytics indicates that it gets on average 5,000 visits and 6,000-page views per month. Management Accounting Frontiers (MAF) continued to be published in 2020.  The Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research (JAMAR) which changed editorial direction in 2017 to publish peer-reviewed practice oriented applied papers for the management accounting profession, continued to publish two issues in 2020.


Research and professional development also continued in the two organizations set up by the ICMA:

  • The Institute of Certified Carbon Analysts and Auditors (ICCAA) and
  • The Institute for the Advancement of Corporate Reporting and Assurance (IACRA).


The library now has over 12,200 texts and professional and academic publications, and has now one of the best libraries in Australia in the professional areas of management accounting and risk management. Unfortunately, the physical library could not be used for most of the year due to Covid-19 related lockdowns. Arrangements were made to secure the use of  digital library services for members via Topiau Library Services

Committees & Boards

The ICMA has a number of Committees and Boards for its Governance.

Education Committee

  • Education Advisory Board
  • Professional Education Sub-Committee
  • Continuing Education Sub-Committee
  • Academic Education Sub-Committee

Membership Committee

  • Membership Advisory Board
  • Membership Services Sub-Committee
  • Industry and Government Engagement Sub-Committee
  • Ethics Sub-Committee

Finance Committee

  • Finance, Audit & Risk Advisory Board

The Council thanks all who voluntarily served on these Committees and Boards for their time and dedication.

Services Provided by the Secretariat.

  • CPD: Providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities to members via Calwest University in the USA and the Academy of Finance and Management Australia (AFMA). Special arrangements were made with these two organisations to provide education programs at discount prices to members due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Website: Maintaining the corporate website that is in keeping with the enhanced international profile of ICMA (ANZ).
  • Member’s Only Area: Maintaining a Member’s Only area on the website.
  • CMA Updates: Emailing monthly the Members Update, and Publishing in pdf format 6 copies of the On-Target newsletter.
  • Library: Due to Covid-19 lockdowns the holdings of the library could not be increased in terms of books. However, professional and academic publications obtained by subscriptions continued to be delivered during the year.
  • CRM: Having a world-class Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to handle the membership, invoicing, examinations and accounts.
  • Assessments: Due to Covid-19 lockdowns assessments were mainly online and digital. The conducting of physical examinations in all Branch locations and in over 20 countries where students undertake the CMA program online will hopefully re-commence in 2022.
  • Social Media: Continued with the CEO Blog, with links to Facebook and Twitter.


My colleagues will agree that the input of our CEO and Education Committee Chairman, Prof Janek Ratnatunga, our Treasurer, Dr Chris D’Souza; and our Editor of On Target Direct, Dr. Chintan Bharwada.

The Editors and the international panel of referees for their work in publishing Management Accounting Frontiers (MAF) and Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research (JAMAR).

Special thanks also go to:

  • Prof Michael Tse, our Global Chairman
  • David Cartney, our Vice-President
  • Hans Ferdinands, our Secretary
  • Roshani Perera, our Membership Committee Chair.
  • Jehan Ratnatunga, our webmaster
  • Chris Perera, our Executive Officer
  • Finally, a vote of thanks to our auditor Ben Kaplan (still no relation of Robert) who has once given his time to discharge his duties very professionally.

Membership Committee Chairman’s Report

Ms Roshani Perera took over as Membership Committee Chairman during the year on the retirement of John Donald. Her report was as follows:

Membership Growth

Membership recovered dramatically after being significantly impacted by Covid19 last year.  2020-21 saw a rise of membership renewals as well as new memberships. The revenue from these numbers will reflect in the revenue for 2021-22.

We had a 14% increase in CMAs and AMA’s and a lower 6% increase in the lower levels of membership (CAT/RCA/GMA) – overall financial membership increased by +24% . The new Membership Designation of Student Membership which should enable us to have a feeder group for future growth in Memberships grew by nearly 500% albeit from a low base.

Although membership growth is not a KPI of ICMA, which instead aims for quality by positioning itself as the only specialist professional body for senior executives with education programs at the master’s degree level, members represent the lifeblood of the Institute.

The overall membership of the ICMA now stands at approximately 10,172 members in 104 countries.

Education Committee Chairman’s Report

Prof Janek Ratnatunga, the Education Committee chairman provided an overview of the Education Program of CMA Australia. The Program has Nine Levels and in this financial year, the New Zealand Government Qualification Authority (NZQA) provided equivalency assessments for the different levels of the GMA & CMA programs.

  • Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) (Level 4 – Certificate)
  • Registered Cost Accountant (RCA) (Level 5 – Diploma)
  • Registered Business Accountant (RBA) (Level 6 – Advanced Diploma)
  • Graduate Program (For School Leavers) – GMA & AMA (Level 7 – Degree)
  • Graduate Conversion Program (For Non-Accounting Graduates/ Professionals) – GMA& AMA.
  • CMA Program (For Accounting Graduates/Professionals) –CMA (Level 9 – Masters Year 2)
  • CGBA – For Non-accounting Graduates
  • MBA, CMA program for Global Leaders
  • DBA, CMA program for Applied Research

The Program can be undertaken via:

  • University Degree (Undergraduate/Masters)
  • Recognised Provider Institution
  • Corporate In-House

Prof Ratnatunga also reported that to facilitate its educational objectives in addition to its own nine-level CMA education program, the Institute has accredited a number of universities which have master’s degree subjects that are equivalent to the CMA program. Some of these universities also provide in-house training and examinations of the CMA program. Accounting graduates can do CMA accredited units at these universities to qualify for CMA status.  The details of these universities and the subjects accredited are listed on the CMA Website.

CMA Australia also has Recognised providers in Australia and in many different countries the details of which are listed on our website.

Certificates of Proficiency

The following Certificates of Proficiency Programs were designed and offered in 2020-2021.

  • International Financial Reporting Standards
  • Risk Management (online)
  • Islamic Banking and Finance
  • Family Business.
  • Foreign Exchange Management
  • Transport and Shipping
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Project Management (online)
  • Project Finance (online)
  • Takaful (Islamic) Insurance
  • International Business Analysis (online)
  • Logistics Management
  • Wealth Management
  • Telecommunications Pricing
  • Company Secretarial Practice
  • Crisis Management
  • Forensic Accounting and Auditing
  • Human Resource Management
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Cross-Cultural Negotiations
  • Performance Budgeting
  • VAT Law & Practice (UAE)
  • Performance and Valuation
  • Accounting Practice (Vietnam)
  • Performance & Valuation
  • Business Valuation (online)
  • Digital Marketing (online)

Membership Pathways

The Institute of Certified Management Accountant (ICMA) offers a number of membership pathways as follows:

  • University Graduates in Accounting
  • University Graduates in Finance
  • MBA Degree Holders
  • University Graduates with Non-Accounting Degrees
  • Diploma and Advanced Diploma Holders in Accounting
  • Members of Other Professional Accounting Bodies
  • Members of Other Professional Non-Accounting Bodies
  • Part Qualified Students of Other Professional Accounting Bodies
  • School Leavers
  • Academics
  • Distance Education Scholarship Program
  • Emerging Professional Scholarship Program

Treasurer’s Report

Dr Chris D’Souza presented the Treasurer report which stated that as a direct result of the proactive adaptation of covid mitigation strategies by our executive, our revenue collections recovered to within 5% over the previous years in 2020-21. The drop in revenue was offset by various government assistance which made up for the Pandemic setback to our operations.

He also reported that during the current financial 2021-22 we have already broken all previous revenue collection records and our revenue is already more than 30% higher compared to the entire previous year and is expected to keep growing, potentially making 2021-22 our best year on record.

Prudent financial management has left our association well placed to confront the aftereffects of the Pandemic with overall members’ funds recording an increase of 11% over the previous year.


Professor Brendan O’Connell, FCMA

President, ICMA Australia & NZ