As CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants, Thomson is helping to lead the profession and his members through transformational changes, from steward of value to creator of value requiring upskilling in non-traditional competencies such as data analytics and technology applications. Twice named Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, IMA has a global network of about 140,000 members in 150 countries and 350 professional and student chapters.
Under his guidance, IMA has also been involved in diversity advocacy, through such efforts as a February report — the first in a multi-part global series — examining race and ethnicity, gender, and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) orientation in the U.S. accounting profession. It encompassed public accounting and management accounting, and examined the role of ethics in the profession’s overall progress around diversity, equity and inclusion, presenting solutions to drive expansive change.
Among other conclusions, the study found a significant diversity gap between those in executive leadership ranks and the broader accounting profession, as well as the U.S. population. For example, African Americans make up 8.5% of the profession but only 1% of partners at U.S. CPA firms and 1.5% of CFOs of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies. The survey revealed talented individuals believe they aren’t advancing in the profession because of a lack of equity and inclusion, and that up to 18% of respondents from diverse demographic groups left the profession altogether due to these kinds of factors.
Thomson’s achievements have been recognized by the industry: he has been named in Accounting Today’s “Top 100 Most Influential People List” for the past 12 years and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Trust Across America. He’s also a sought-after speaker and writer on Enterprise Risk Management, data analytics, ethical leadership, sustainability, and integrated reporting.