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Competencies Client Stories

How associations can leverage competencies to better serve their members

By Sarah Beckett on March, 20 2017
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Sarah Beckett

In the US alone, there are tens of thousands of associations, professional bodies or trade groups representing different industry sectors or professions.

Many of these organizations have the mandate of serving their members’ in areas related to career development through networking opportunities, learning and development, and industry events.

With the changes going on in the workforce today, many associations and professional bodies are finding that they need to evolve the services they are offering to their members, and many are turning to competencies as a way of enhancing those offerings.

For instance, associations who offer training programs can leverage competencies to ensure that the content of their courses are actually aligned with the needs of the job market.

Members can access assessment tools that identify skill or competency gaps, and could choose appropriate learning resources to address these deficiencies. Members could even able to plan and identify potential career paths, and tailor learning plans to their goals.

Let’s take a look at how one association is using competencies as a key component in their current member offerings.


Case study: The Institute of Management Accountants

IMA®(Institute of Management Accountants) is the worldwide association of accountants and financial professionals in business. IMA is committed to empowering its 85,000 members, and those in the rest of the profession to strengthen on-the-job skills, better manage companies, and accelerate careers.


Finance groups are becoming increasingly involved in the strategic growth of the organizations they work for. This means that accounting and finance professionals must constantly work to develop and expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities (competencies) in order to succeed.

While IMA already offered a vast portfolio of continuing education resources, they wanted to offer their members a method of assessing their competencies to identify areas for improvement.

This in turn means members are better positioned to select the best educational opportunities available.

“We wanted to put them in the driver’s seat to understand where they are in their professional development,” explains Deborah Warner, CAE, CPLP, and VP of IMA’s Education and Career Services team. Overall, IMA wanted to pair their educational offerings with specific skill deficiencies. All they needed was a way to get there.



IMA used CompetencyCore to help members evaluate critical professional competencies and build development plans to support their career journeys. By analyzing members’ job requirements and building a detailed competency framework, IMA was able to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed at various levels of financial and management accounting jobs.

Working with an HRSG competency expert, the IMA validated their competency framework, collaborating with senior professionals in the accounting industry to ensure accuracy.

“It was important to us to ensure that we captured everything correctly,” explains Warner.” Once the framework was validated, IMA worked with our team to create CareerDriver®. CareerDriver was built from IMA’s Management Accounting Competency Framework, and filled with customized, industry specific career development tools.



IMA members are now able to assess their skill-sets, identify gaps, explore new career paths, and create personalized development plans. “CareerDriver gives our members the ability to measure themselves against our competency framework, and to identify skill deficiencies for their current job or aspirational jobs,” says Warner.

IMA now has an engaging and effective tool that enables members to manage their professional development more effectively. Since CareerDriver launched, nearly 1,300 members have completed assessments, with 79% of those building development plans.  

“The reviews of CareerDriver have been fantastic,” says Warner. “Anybody who uses it loves it, and they are impressed with how thorough it is.” IMA is looking forward to continuing to promote the tool and looking at different ways of leveraging the application.

Read the full case study here