Integrated Thinking in Business

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People in the office discussing business

What can help companies adapt to the changing business environment and protect their value, and which competences managers need to make effective decisions and respond adequately to financial risks? We discussed these questions with Natalya Vovchuk, the official representative of the UK-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in Ukraine.

Natalya Vovchuk, the official representative of the UK-based CIMA in Ukraine

Natalya Vovchuk, the official representative of the UK-based CIMA in UkraineThe world economy is changing. Existing strategies no longer work, and yesterday's business models become obsolete. How does it affect business finance?

First of all, businesses need to radically change production processes and tools, and adopt new corporate culture, management and behavior. It is imperative to build trust between the management and employees in order to improve information exchange and draw attention to new perspectives for decision making. It is also necessary to find a balance between financial and non-financial information to ensure a broader understanding of all the key factors of value creation, while abandoning the exclusively traditional perception of value in the business environment.

This is called an "integrated approach", the process of active consideration by an organization of the relationship between different operational and functional units, analysis of resources and relationships that the organization uses or has impact on.

– What requirements should the modern financial management and financial strategy of a business meet to be successful?

The finance function has long gone beyond the limits of accounting and is now facilitating broader strategic thinking and application of new analytical models. This transformation allows management accounting to create value in the short, medium and long term and obliges it to take into account non-financial indicators.

– What financial risks should Ukrainian businesses take into account when entering global markets?

With a shift in the balance of global capital, many businesses take a cue from South Asia to achieve a long-term growth prospect. Such growth can be organic or through mergers and acquisitions or other forms of business alliances. In short, financial risks when entering the global markets include the risks of assessing relations with investors, the forecast of the behavior of the capital markets and assessment of financing.

Modern companies should make a comprehensive assessment of their preparedness for the international investment market using the latest world practices. So, in 2014, the world's two most influential organizations of financial expertise, CIMA and AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – Ed.), have developed the first ever Global Management Accounting Principles. Currently, they are recommendatory but there are plans to make them mandatory.

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– What impact has digital technology had on the financial accounting system?

There are currently seven technologies relevant to financiers. A report by Deloitte splits them into two categories. The category of key modernization includes technologies that improve reporting and computing as well as the efficiency of the function, including cloud technology, robotics and visualization. The exponential category includes innovations that open new directions for finance, for example, cognitive programming, blockchain, high-speed processing of big data processing, etc.

– What competencies does a management accountant need to make effective decisions and how to get them?

A management accountant should understand how a business works, how it is managed, how the team works and forms the strategy.

Requirements to professional management accountants are currently developed jointly by two global professional organizations, AICPA and CIMA, which together have more than 600,000 members and interns from 177 countries of the world.

The CIMA model of management accounting competences includes four areas: specialized skills of financial accounting and financial management; business skills depending on the context; leadership skills for building trust and effective communication for impact. But, first and foremost, all competences must be based on a single foundation: ethics, honesty and professionalism.

Where to study

In Ukraine, daytime and distance learning under the CIMA certification programs is available from:

  • Vadym Hetman Kyiv National Economic University
  • ATC Morgan Ukraine
  • Ten Ukrainian universities have accredited their programs to launch this year. Exams can be taken in the largest cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Mykolayiv and Zaporizhzhya.

Interview by Natalia Kyrylenko.
Photos provided by Natalya Vovchuk.

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