IMAS helps students take 4IR by the horns with courses to fit busy lives and schedules

IMAS CEO Nkosinathi Thela says finance professionals must reskill to co-exist with evolving technology.

The world is changing and Institute of Management Accounting and Strategy (IMAS) CEO Nkosinathi Thela together with his team are positioning themselves to guide finance companies into the new digital era. IMAS has geared itself to be a ‘co-pilot’ to leaders and companies as they adapt to digitisation. 

IMAS put its money where its mouth is when it launched a world-first mobile CIMA learning app for IOS and Android. The app contains among other key features, video lectures that can be downloaded and stored within the app for later use. 

The information era has brought knowledge to our fingertips. The New Global Digital Statshot report from Hootsuite and We Are Social shows that over five billion people now use mobile phone technology and over four billion consume video and multimedia content, which equates to more than half of the global population. 

Education in the information age has become cheaper, more cost effective and easier. The nature of online learning can be highly effective for career advancement especially for those who are already committed to a full-time job. Mobile learning enables students to access their lectures at their own pace. The APP courses are charged at R1,000 per subject, which costs a sixth of normal class-based courses.

IMAS’s leap into mobile learning is a far jump from where it began in 2013. The institute was born to address a gap in the higher learning market, the need for a specialised institution that will offer the CIMA qualification on a full-time and part-time basis. IMAS wanted to provide matriculants a way to achieve this prestigious qualification. 

“Many people didn’t know you can study the CIMA qualification with just a matric by going through the foundational level which is known as the CIMA Certificate in Business and Accounting,” says Nkosinathi.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is one of the most recognised and respected qualifications for finance professionals worldwide. It’s one of the world’s largest professional bodies for management accountants - with more than 229,000 members and students spanning across 176 countries. 

While the goal was to educate youngsters fresh out of school in finance, IMAS began to attract graduates already in the workplace. “These are people who want to reposition themselves in their companies and improve their salaries, therefore there is no better way than studying toward an international recognised qualification like the CIMA qualification.”

IMAS’s most distinguishing factor is the pace of the lessons. Lectures are designed to accommodate students from diverse backgrounds. In fact Nkosinathi drew on his own experience when designing the courses to fit into busy lives and schedules. “I remember when I studied the CIMA qualification myself, I was with one of my competitors, and the pace in which the lessons were delivered were unbearable.”

Traditionally large amounts of content are taught over a few hours during evening classes, and one of the main factors IMAS addresses is the pace of classes and being accessible to students in all areas. 

“We are running classes that are easily accessible in places like Braamfontein, Sandton, Pretoria, East London, PE, Durban and there’s been increased interest in distance learning where we’re attracting people from places like India, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe,” Nkosinathi says. 

While decentralised applications and distributed ledger technologies can be seen as disruptive for the finance industry and related professions, Nkosinathi believes financial professionals can co-exist alongside technology. 

“We fully understand that there are certain jobs that technology can do better than us, but there are certain elements where we as finance professionals can come in where technology will not be able to come in, therefore we want to ensure that professionals are equipped with necessary skills to co-exist along with technology.”

IMAS will be available to discuss how to enroll for 2020 CIMA Qualifications at the Finance Indaba Africa on 16 and 17 October at the Sandton Convention Centre.