BFAN Member Helen Berhane elected first female Chair of CIMA Canada, in its 40+ year history

Helen Berhane CPA, CMA, CGMA, FCMA(UK), Chair, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA-Canada Branch)

Helen headshot

I was appointed as the Chair of the CIMA Canada Board at this year’s Annual Members Meeting on 25 May 2017.  It is a great honor to be the next Chair and I am more delighted to be the first female chair of the board.

Helen 3

I attended my 1st, CIMA members network event a couple of months after arriving in Toronto, that was the Christmas social, back in 2004.  It was great to meet with a network of individuals that I can immediately relate to, as I was new in Canada and didn’t know many people here at the time.  Ever since then, I became a regular attendee of the CIMA member events. Joined the board a couple of years later, volunteering at various capacities as Secretary, CPD Lead and as a general board member assisting at events.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the world’s largest and leading professional body of management accountants.  CIMA partnered with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 2012.  The CGMA designation was then formed as a result of the joint venture.   Today, through this partnership, more than 150,000 accounting and finance professionals around the world hold the CGMA designation.

Helen podium

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is now formed in 2017 as a governing body for the joint venture.  The main purpose for the Association is to ‘empower the world’s most highly skilled accountant’.  Over the past few years, we had been in transition to see how the joint venture will benefit members.  We now have the Association and we should start seeing the benefits of the joint venture through the shared platform for professional development.

CIMA Canada is an established branch, set up over 40 years ago to serve members in Canada.  It is fully run by highly dedicated volunteers.  We have such a diverse group of members ranging from new arrivals to Canada, members at all levels of their career (managers, directors, CFOs…) members in other regions and also students.  The main events we do include the ‘Business Conference’ in the Fall, that is attended by about 500 people and the ‘CGMA Mayor’s Trophy’ arranged with partnership with the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation during the spring months with the finals in June.  For more information on CIMA Canada and events please click here

Besides my role at CIMA (Canada),  I currently support small businesses and entrepreneurs providing accounting and business services working as an independent contractor.  Previously at Deloitte, both in the UK and Canada.  My 15-year career at Deloitte began as a Management Accountant and moved up to a Finance Manager role reporting to the Director of Finance and the Managing Partner. Over the years, I took on various roles within Deloitte and progressed internally.  Supported the Consulting group and then Tax group providing financial analysis and business support for multiple business units  and regions.

I joined BFAN (Black Female Accountants Network) in December 2016, pretty soon after its launch, attending its very first meeting as a live new network, the Inaugural Roundtable.  When I first heard of the network being formed I was very excited.  I am a true believer of networks as a powering engine as it will bring people together, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to connect or network.  It will be a great medium to meet other female accountants and will allow information sharing.  It may also be encouraging for others in the field to learn what industries and what level of responsibilities others are working in.  I also see it being a forum for connecting with the youth community.  Especially in today’s highly competitive environment, it will provide immediate access to a whole range of professionals in the field that they can come to for advice or mentoring options.






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