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Change agent: during the last six years, Bob Dye, President and CEO of CMA Canada, has been a key player in charting a dynamic strategic course for CMA Canada and the management accounting profession. As he prepares to retire, CMA Management highlights the career of this respected and highly influential leader.

Visionary. Leader. Innovator. If there was ever an individual who embodies these qualities, Bob Dye is that person. Retiring as President and CEO of CMA Canada at the end of September, Dye has been the driving force in shaping the strategic direction of the only Canadian organization solely dedicated to the profession of management accounting.


Dye joined CMA Canada as its President and CEO in October 1997, after serving as executive director of The Society of Management Accountants of Ontario since 1982. He earned his CMA designation in 1965, and was awarded the Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in 1981.

Since joining CMA Canada, Dye has worked closely with the Society's board of directors to realize a vision that he himself was instrumental in crafting. Thanks to his expertise in strategic planning, business formulation and implementation, CMA Canada is well on its way to becoming the pre-eminent North American organization shaping strategic financial management professionals to lead successful enterprises in the global marketplace.

"During the last several years, we have witnessed profound forces of change that are reshaping organizations and redefining the future world of work," said Dye. "These forces are having a tremendous impact on the role and expectations of management accountants. It means that we have had to continuously assess and renew our strategic plan to ensure that we are able to prepare our members for the challenges of a highly demanding marketplace."

Under Dye's direction, CMA Canada has established an evolving strategic plan that clearly defines the CMA product, the differentiated territory of management accountants, the value proposition for CMA customers, and critical success factors. At the core of the plan are innovative strategies designed to strengthen the global competitiveness of CMAs and CMA Canada.

"Our critical success factors--from which we have derived our strategic intent--are market relevance, marketplace recognition, product differentiation, member competence, quality growth, and operational excellence," said Dye. "By addressing and measuring our performance on these strategic issues, we are working to ensure that we deliver value as it is defined by our customers."

Establishing a strong customer and business orientation for CMA Canada has always been a high priority for Dye. In fact, transforming the business processes of CMA Canada into a model organization of partners with a business culture is one of the organization's key strategies.

"This is the strategy we are using to achieve operational excellence," said Dye. "At its heart, operational excellence is about issues identification and issues management. And this is what strategic planning is all about. It means doing the right things, the right way, and at the right time. It means being proactive rather than reactive."

He said CMA Canada's current initiative of developing a profile of the future world of work and determining its impact on the role and expectations for management accountants is a prime example of issues identification and management.

"Looking at the future world of work represents the highest order of strategic thinking, serving as the platform for strategic renewal for CMA Canada and the management accounting profession," explained Dye. "In addressing globalization, the customer economy, and process-structured organizations, we are defining the type of professional the market will demand, and the impact this will have on the field of practice and related field of knowledge for CMAs. These questions relate to key competencies and skills CMAs will require to meet the needs of the marketplace, as well as the future of the CMA designation. What is critical in this strategic planning exercise is how we will manage the issues arising from the future world of work, as well as the outcomes."

Dye knows that building relevance and recognition of the management accounting profession in the global marketplace is a critical element of this strategic planning exercise. During the last six years, he and members of CMA Canada's Executive Committee have spent many hours establishing strategic partnerships with international accounting and allied professional organizations based in Australia, the United Kingdom, Africa, the Asia-Pacific Rim, the United States and Canada.

"These strategic alliances are designed to enhance the profile and influence of management accountants around the world," said Dye. "Initiatives in this area enable us to increase global demand for CMAs, pursue cost sharing and economies of scale in developing knowledge resources, and support quality growth in our membership through the development of mutual recognition agreements with professional accounting bodies outside Canada. It also gives us the opportunity to work with other organizations to provide strategic leadership, financial expertise, resources, and research to support businesses, governments and academia, and to optimize the performance of global enterprises."

On the local front, Dye has been a pioneer in providing strategic direction for the accreditation and professional development of CMAs. Due in large part to his vision, the CMA is being defined and recognized as a strategic leader and strategic business advisor--an individual who builds success through application of integrated management skills and a unique approach to providing services.

"This is what makes the CMA distinctive, creating value for the customer as the customer defines value," said Dye. "It ensures that CMAs are not seen as another type of accountant, but as business professionals who are experts in their own right. This product differentiation is vital to our market relevance and marketplace recognition, and will be instrumental in strategic positioning of the CMA brand."

Since joining CMA Canada, Dye has played a pivotal role in guiding the strategic development of the CMA accreditation process. He has overseen the transformation of the CMA professional program into the Strategic Leadership Program, which is the cornerstone of the CMA accreditation process and unique in business. The program focuses on contemporary and emerging best strategic management and management accounting practices while developing the leadership, decision-making and communication skills essential for today's business professional.

Dye has also led the development of the National Standard for Accreditation of Certified Management Accountants, which defines the purpose, attributes and specifications of each element of the accreditation process, and describes the requirements to complete each successfully. More recently, he has guided the development of the National Standard for Continuous Professional Learning and Development for Certified Management Accountants. The latter standard will support CMAs in maintaining their competence and meeting changing customer needs and expectations.

Dye said the adoption of a competency-based approach to certification and continuous professional learning and development for CMAs will be essential in ensuring that CMAs are, and are seen to be, superior performers in the practice of strategic management accounting appropriate to their level of experience.

"This competency-based approach will define expectations in terms of outcomes or competencies required--that is, what the CMA is expected to do," said Dye. "This is a significant shift from the current approach of defining the knowledge a CMA is expected to acquire."

Dye's work in providing strategic direction for innovative approaches to the education and development of management professionals has earned him many accolades and prestigious appointments. In addition to serving as an advisor on education committees for both CMA Canada and the International Federation of Accountants, Dye has served on business advisory committees for a number of organizations, and as a member of accounting faculty advisory committees for several Ontario universities.

In recognition of his contribution to management education in Canadian universities and his visionary leadership of CMA Canada, Dye was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) by Wilfrid Laurier University in 1999.

Dye leaves CMA Canada in an exceptionally strong competitive position. He has been a major architect of the organization's current strategic renewal process, which lays the foundation for new strategic imperatives that will ensure the relevancy of both the CMA designation and CMA Canada. He has helped create a clear focus for strategic renewal, encompassing the future world of work, strategic positioning of the CMA brand, and expansion of the field of practice for the Certified Management Accountant.

Dye has certainly been a key player in shaping the future of CMA Canada and the management accounting profession. But what of his own personal future?

He says he will continue to provide strategic advice and consultation to a number of organizations. One of these is the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, on whose board of directors Dye sits. His knowledge and expertise in the area of management education will no doubt be in high demand as well.

"Of course, I have several personal interests I'm also going to pursue," he said. Indeed, Bob Dye is well-known for his prowess in gardening, carpentry and decorating. He's also boss of the barbeque. Perhaps setting a new strategic direction for Better Homes and Gardens isn't out of the question.

David Fletcher is publisher of CMA Management and VP of public affairs for CMA Canada.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Fletcher, David
Publication:CMA Management
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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