CMA, A Journey Worth Taking

Kenji Asano Jr.As a Licensed Accountant and a Masters Degree holder, I kept searching for further challenges that will make me not only a better accountant but also an excellent decision maker. Criteria such as international certification, in-depth analysis, and competitive skills are the main factors which influenced me to explore the world of CMA, the Certified Management Accountant. This certification and further studies challenged me to develop not only my scientific skills but more on my analytical ability to weigh each decision possibility and its effects.

Moving to reach my goal and dream, I had come across Mr. Angel Secerio Jr., Program Director of the exclusively accredited CMA review course provider in the Philippines, the Insights Financial Review Services. With Sir Angel and through Insights, I have come closer to my dreams to become a CMA professional in the world of work. Insights have pushed, shared and even accompanied me through my step by step registration, learning, and even processing my certification with IMA. Insights had been my close friend as I battle my difficult time management skills balancing my CMA study for the two-part examination and of course my incumbent corporate work.

As I had poured in my time, energy and even social schedules in preparing for my CMA examination, Insights helped me through its review lectures, accredited CMA books and materials, the Wiley CMA Learning System, and also evaluation examinations to test whether I am prepared for my final battle.

After all my efforts had been put into this CMA certification, I successfully and completely passed the 2-part CMA certification program last February 28, 2014. I am now bearing the certificate to put the suffix “CMA” annexed to my name. I am now more confident and competitive to be an asset not only of my company but also the greatest organization in my life…my family. I have upgraded my level of knowledge in the fields of finance, cost accounting, economics, and the most important, critical decision making. Thus, as I occupy a vital responsibility in my organization, I am now fully equipped to serve and lead as a Certified Management Accountant.

Thank you Sir Angel, Insights and of course to my family and friends who have been part of this worth taking journey!


Kenji Asano, Jr.

Choosing The Road Less Travelled

Randell Dan P Dalire, CPA, CMA PasserI could still vividly remember when my dad taught me to drive a motorcycle whenever we went to the farm. His instruction was simple – ‘follow the track others drove through,’ eagerly pointing at the road lines where other riders went through. As early as then, I wanted to ask him “how about driving through a new track, and not always following others?”

Since childhood, I always had the appetite to take the roads less travelled since childhood, and that attitude was reinforced by famous people we meet in history. The inventor of Tae Bo, Billy Blanks, quoted “To succeed, particularly early in life, you have to grab on to the thing that separates you from the herd, something that you love intrinsically, and go for it, all out.”

When I entered the academe with a fresh Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License last year, a lot of people were asking why I did not choose public practice or instead work for multinational companies, since most of new passers enter audit firms or become employed with private companies. I couldn’t sign audit reports until after three years, because I know I still need to learn a lot. Global competitiveness fascinates me – such an awesome undertaking to embark on.

Barely two months after the rigors of the CPA board examination, I met Sir Angel V. Secerio through a facebook chat expressing my utmost interest (or call it obsession) in the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential. I was worried of the financial requirements in gaining the certification, thus I planned to take the exam later the next year. It was a huge investment, and I was half-hearted when I was given the initial forecast of fees, not until I learned of the exclusive 50% discount given to fulltime instructors. My bill would be slashed in half, and before I knew it, I was filling out the Insights registration form after being offered a flexible payment plan. I eventually agreed to schedule my exam two months after, which I was happy about, as soon as I received my review materials after Christmas of 2013.

I was leisurely talking to close friends and celebrating the holidays, watching the TV Series Suits when I received the complete set of Wiley CMA Review Materials last December 2013. I told myself “this is it.” The size of the books was overwhelming, some twice my definition of a ‘large book’ in the undergraduate, (two books of that size), plus another two books of compressed outlines. I will be celebrating my 2nd decade birthday 3 days onwards, and there were the four Wiley books at my doorstep waving at me. I always wanted to pursue the CMA title, but that was one of the few days I smiled and jokingly told myself “be careful what you wish for”. So I scanned, smiled at every familiar topic, and got the chill with every unfamiliar topic I saw. I ended up chilling that day, so I planned out a review schedule to start after my birthday.

When work resumed in January, I started using the Wiley online testbank. It was just as overwhelming as the books, daunted at seeing the “unanswered questions” versus the “answered correctly” and “answered incorrectly.” It was then that I disapproved the thought that it was as simple as the Management Advisory Services in the Philippine CPA Board Exam. I knew a two-month preparation plus work was Herculean, certainly not enough to cover all topics, so I ended up categorizing topics according to time allocation. I lingered studying for Part 2 Exam, which covers most of the topics not taken up in the undergraduate like international investment terminologies, US GAAP vis-à-vis IFRS, investment topics unique to US, and US Laws on Financial Reporting and Auditing such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The two-month preparation was way fast-tracked. I planned a quota of 100 MCQs per day in each of the parts the test bank, but I knew I still need to read through the theory parts. Just like the BIR missing earnings targets, I always answered short of my quota per day, hence adding more and more to my backlogs. I scheduled reading during my free time in the office, but each time didn’t always finish the schedule topic, which replaced my schedule at night assigned to answering the test banks. In most instances, I got too tired after work that I needed to take a good rest. It was mad race against time, against ensuring that I covered all important topics within schedule while ensuring mastery. As the exam date drew closer from months to weeks, I honestly began to worry a lot. I prayed for the topics I did not understand, asking God to shuffle the testbank excluding those topics, or to give me only easy questions instead. The earliest sleeping time was 1AM, and I needed to be ready for work by 7AM. Nevertheless, though the stream of topics was overwhelming, the pacing and strategies of the Wiley Testbank and other Wiley materials greatly helped me to reach ‘safe-zone’ scores. Just as when you thought you learned enough after the CPA Board exam, going global demands lifetime learning. Wiley materials remind financial professionals that: “Wait, there’s more [to learn].” I travelled to Manila a day ahead of the exam schedule. I entered the building ahead of time, so I had a chance to calm down the excitement rush inside the prayer room. I entered the Prometric testing center, verified my schedule, and was instructed to leave everything in the locker, even my rosary. I only got my red hanky inside, which I needed to spread before entering the testing room. The strategy at answering MCQs was the same, you can leave questions consuming much time. On answering the essays, I typed every key as if the keyboard was moving away with time, and I knew I was making noise. On honest regard, the two exam days were filled with the rush of experiencing something new, especially when I realize, “hey, I’m in Ateneo dude!”, and it’s CMA!

The next six weeks was an ‘agony in the garden.’ Waiting for the exam result was like singing “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri – an LSS on the line “I have died everyday waiting for you.” Of all the questions asked, all I dreamt about were the questions I knew I answered incorrectly. That was when I asked myself ‘what about the rush?’ of taking the exam with barely two months to prepare when I could have sat for the testing window in June. I remembered I was not well prepared for the February exam.

April 11. I was in Manila for an audit field work in the Philippine Cooperative Center in Quezon City. I received an SMS from Insights asking me to check my mail and give them a feedback right away. Time stood still. I occasionally sipped coffee to calm my nerves. While I was doing an aging analysis for their receivables, an unknown contact called me up. I knew it was not a domestic call, with a number extension +968, I knew it was Sir Angel. It took a bit of courage to answer my phone, and I greeted him “Hello sir!”

“Hey Randell how’s everything?”

“Okay lang po ako sir. Nasa Manila po ako, nakafield po sir. May result na raw po pero ichecheck ko po mamaya” I answered. I planned to secretly peek at the results after the call, so I can pretend I did not take the exam in case I fail, but I stumbled when I realized, “pero wait sir, ‘di ba may access po kayo sa account ko?”

Randell Dan P Dalire, CPA, CMA-Passer“Hahaha. It’s ok. You passed!” was all he answered. I was like a delighted 5 year-old boy receiving a dream helicopter toy. And it took a bit of time lag to confirm: “Talaga sir? Whoah. Sure na po ba?” I came back to the ‘doubting Thomas’.

“Yes, you made it Randell!” was few of the best words I heard from a very supportive mentor. Even the staff in PCC was overwhelmed, and I couldn’t contain such excitement any further, so though it was my first time to conduct a field work in PCC, we had a good time smiling at another God’s blessing. Again, it’s CMA dude!

It took a lot of courage, self-confidence, and faith in God. Two months straight preparation brought back the exam anxiety during the CPA board, only it’s an entirely new level, and it also brought back the unwavering hope of reaching the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Warm congratulations from friends after conquering one of the most sought-after certifications worldwide is an honor and a privilege, indeed.

I have a long list of reasons to be thankful for, but on top of it is our Almighty God, who always conquers my stubbornness in reviewing my notes by renewing my strength every day, for his wonderful ways, for every great people he sends in my life. Again, I still could not believe that Sir Angel, whom I only met through facebook, offered me flexible payment terms for the fees barely five days after we met, mentored me all throughout my review, and was the one who called me up all the way from Oman to tell the great news. I’ve already passed the two part exam, but I am yet to meet him in person. Some might think of it as coincidence, but in reality, it’s God’s plan that’s slowly working out. Undeniably, it is one of the best pleasures in life – to witness how his blessings unfold to those who believe in him. At the end of the day, we are all, in fact, entrusted with duties to accomplish great things. In so doing, we are in turn privileged that we may help others accomplish theirs.

And as for me, great achievements spring from a steadfast commitment – a single-minded passion for what we do; an unwavering desire for excellence in the way we think and the way we work. Genuine commitment is what launches us out of bed in the morning, and through the day with a spring in every step. No matter how short the preparation time is, the most basic things should be done, quoting from the words of Padre Pio – “pray, hope and don’t worry.”

My memory is still glued at the “Congratulations!” part of my e-mail from the ICMA Senior VP, Sir Dennis Whitney. For young Filipinos with ambition, there is really no other way to go than to go global, and as for me, dreams are really one of the few great things God purposefully made without limits. Dreams are the ones which separate us from the herd. Dreams define our potentials, our motivations, and our attitude at pushing out limits – the imbued burning passion to conquer the world is every Filipino’s dream. We have just begun doing things we are known to be good at.

Taking the road less travelled such as entering the academe gives us academicians a headstart and an extra mile. My extra mile was not passing the 2-Part CMA Exam, but instead the courage to take the risk, to invest, against all odds, all out, and at all cost. The extra mile was doing things we have never done, to achieve things we have never achieved before.

It pays to move out from the crowd and dare to make a difference.

To God be All the Glory.


Randell Dan Dalire, CPA, CMA-Passer

My Remarkable CMA Journey

Congrats_CJ Ver2Truly, the best things come when you least expect them to. My journey to CMA is really an unpremeditated and an unexpected one, but I cannot repudiate for a second that becoming the first SPCian to pass the Certified Management Accountant Examinations is one of the momentous and the most remarkable I have ever accomplished.

My voyage started when God sent an Angel in disguise granting me a scholarship for the CMA Program last December. It was an early Christmas gift from Him. At first I thought it was a hoax, but soon I realized that it was not, thus I grabbed it immediately.

Pressure hovered all around my whole being because I did not want to fail Sir Angel, the Director of Insights Financial Review Services, who approved assistance for the course. I gathered straightaway all review materials I could use for the exams together with the resources Insights provided me. It was Christmas Seasons and on Christmas Day itself, I was supposed to relax and enjoy, but I chose to linger with my pen and calculator, and train for the battle with them. The same was the scenario during the New Year’s Day. January made me as busy as a bee; I ought to attend review classes in Insights during Sundays where I needed to travel all the way from the province. I had a tough time dividing myself between school and review since I needed to be physically and mentally present in school activities, take term quizzes and exams, and accomplish the thesis which was the most time consuming of all. The bags under my eyes became luggages because of sleepless nights. The only side effect I loved was the loss of the flabs in my stomach which I kept for years.

My Part 1 exam schedule was on Feb. 21st. I was utterly devastated on that day, not because the exam was difficult. I was not allowed by Prometric Testing Center proctor to take the exam because, according to her, my IDs were “not acceptable”. Having appealed the matter to IMA, I was then permitted to take Part 2 on Feb. 26th. Unfortunately, rescheduling Part 1 became tough though, for no single date in the remaining days in February was available in Prometric Makati. The only option left was to fly and schedule it in Cebu. With the help of Insights, Part 1 Exam was rearranged in Cebu and I was able to take it.

Waiting for the results was the most heart throbbing times for me. I found Part 1 more difficult than Part 2, and I felt really uneasy about it. I kept on praying, and offering and writing requests in the Carmelite Monastery so that the Dear Sisters there would pray for me as well, believing that they are closer to God than I am. God didn’t fail me. He never did. All sacrifices and hard works pay off as I received the confirmation for passing both parts of the CMA Exams. It was like, “Hey I’m ready to die. Shoot a gun on me. Wait– NO! Not yet!” It was a mixture of contentment and anticipation. Hooray!

The road was not really a rough one for me. It was just deceiving due to the circumstances, but the fact isn’t. Maybe because I’ve got the best people behind who pushed me, supported me, motivated and inspired me to keep striving. I would like to take this opportunity to send my deepest gratitude to each of them.

First, my enormous thanks to Insights specifically to Sir Angel for believing in my capabilities, for granting me the scholarship, for providing all the materials I needed, and for assisting me all throughout this journey.

Second, I would like to show appreciation to San Pablo Colleges, its Board of Trustees, for the Academic Scholarship they have given believing that I deserve to enjoy its privileges. I was able to study and finish my degree in Accountancy for free almost. Thank you SPC for developing me as a total person.

Third, my acknowledgement to Dean Olivia Oabel and to all my Professors especially Sir Rene Belen for being so supportive and considerate when I failed to comply on time with your class requirements, and for allowing me to be excused in all classes due to the Examinations, for enriching my mind not only with the subject matter, but also with values and ideals.

Fourth, my huge thanks to my Family – my parents and siblings (particularly to Kenneth and Kristina) for taking care of me, for the love and assistance you have tendered.

Fifth, thanks to all my friends and classmates, mainly for the moments where you made me laugh and somehow forget the weights in life.

Next, my sincerest thanks to Alfredo Belen, Jr., for the love, care, and support you’re giving, for helping me in becoming prepared for the Exams in all aspects, and for the inspiration. Thank you for bringing out all the best in me.

I would also like to thank everyone who had prayed in behalf of me for the success of the Exams, and for believing and reminding me that I am capable of accomplishing it. I thank you for being certain that I am worthy for all these blessings.

And of course, the greatest thanks to the Lord our God, the provider of everything. Thank You Lord for all the blessings even though I know that I do not deserve most of these, for the wisdom, for Your guidance, for staying by my side, for listening and answering my prayers. You never fail me, Oh Lord despite my iniquities and shortcomings.

Someone always tells me, “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”, but let me just add, that for every ending is a new beginning. May this be a constant reminder to everyone, that no matter how sorrowful and devastating, or successful and prosperous the ending of each story in our life is, there is always a room to start over to correct the mistakes we have committed, to stand up and try again despite the failures, to improve ourselves by learning from our experiences, to aspire more and dream bigger, to achieve and accomplish our goals which are to be set higher, to continue the good deeds and not end them, but end those which made us uncomfortable and made us unworthy of ourselves and what we have, to never give up and lose hope, and to always have faith to the Lord our God. As quoted from Thomas A. Edison, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

My CMA Exams have just ended, and my collegiate days as I marched to get my College Diploma. My journey to this destination is not a smooth sailing one, as I doubt if there is any such thing. It will always be a mixture of sweetness and bitterness. But as it ends, another chapter of my life begins. Lies ahead of me are more challenges, trials, and hardships, but I know that this is just the perfect time to assimilate all learnings and knowledge I have gained for the last 20 years, in order to taste the sweetness of the success and great triumph God placed when He made the master plan of my life. I will never stop praising God for all His works. I know like Steve Rogers said to Bucky Barnes /The Winter Soldier, God is also saying, “I am with you ‘til the end of the line.”

Once again, I’m extending my appreciation and gratitude to God and to all the people who have been a part of my journey, and will always be. Thank you so much!


–     Claudine Jade B. Mata


Insights - Quiz Bowl Scores - FinalAfter two weeks of carefully checking the answer sheets we have now finalized the list of top performers who are eligible to receive the contest prizes which include CMA Program scholarship for the top two slots for each category and student memberships to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

Scoring on the essay section was tough because a vast majority of the participants’ handwriting were found to be, literally, “sketchy”. Partial credits were given to incorrect answers which showed computations that somehow demonstrated knowledge on the topic tested in the essay, i.e. Activity-Based Costing a.k.a. ABC.

There were some participants who fared very well in the essay and overtook candidates who scored way ahead in the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) section but poorly in the essay. Equally so, a handful of participants scored very well in the MCQ part but obviously did not put any effort to provide decent answers to the essay questions. Essay answers were scored for clarity, logical presentation of response, and proper application of the ABC concept to the case under consideration.

University of the Cordilleras stalwart, Ms. Judy Bayawa, topped the BSA category, nosing out second-placer Ms. Janelle Quezada from De La Salle University-Dasmarinas by a very slim margin.

No. 1 Ms. Anna Dorothea Reyes and No. 2 Mr. Dan Joseph Sorilla, both from De La Salle University-Dasmarinas, topped the non-BSA category, besting a field of 36 other hopefuls from Cavite, Cabanatuan and Baguio.

Two 4th year BSA students, Ms. Stephanie Solomon from the University of Baguio, and Mr. Hero Salcedo of the Colegio de Dagupan, are being recognized in this event and will be awarded medals and modest cash prizes for showing up strong in the BSA category.

In the college professors category, veteran CPA reviewer and UB Dept. Head Mr. Rhad Vic Estoque capped a stellar performance by consistently showing the way in both the MCQ and essay sections. Ms. Jasmin May Baniaga, Accountancy Dept Head of the University of the Cordilleras, came in second by banking on a fantastic run on the essay, while Ms. Krystal Jane Ortega of the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Cavite is not to be denied recognition for tallying a very close third.

Here are the names of the top performers over a field of 190 students from the two main categories, given in alphabetical order.




Abesamis Jetlli Castillo SLU


Abito Karren Jill N. DLSU-D


Abratique Banoar Rapuet SLU


Acuña Jessica Jane UC


Aguilar John Vincent A. DLSU-D


Albornoz Maria Odizel Camille N. DLSU-D


Alejandro Keycie UC


Alviento, Jr. Ferdinand UC


Angeles Maureen Joyce D. AU-PHINMA


Aquino Mark Tom N. WUP


Atanacio Arabelle B. AU-PHINMA


Balandan John Paul E. SPC


Bangsail Sonny UC


Basilio Lourilyn M. UC


Batac Louis Paulo C. DLSU-D


Baurile Mike Emelson DL. DLSU-D


Bayacal Rona Chrisandra M. DLSU-D


Bayawa Judy UC


Bolinao Leah V. DLSU-D


Borja Myra Ann A. WUP


Bulahao Aldrick UC


Buma-a Emmalyn Grace UC


Cajes Mark DG. AU-PHINMA


Calderon Victorius V. AU-PHINMA


Carino Joan Marie B. UB


Castillo Keinth Roger B. DLSU-D


Ching Henri Lomeus N. SLU


Culaban Bernadine F. SPC


De Jesus Gely Ann C. DLSU-D


Degala Melissa F. WUP


Dolteo Daphnee P. UB


Edquid Franz  Paula L. DLSU-D


Espiritu Kevin D. AU-PHINMA


Estopin Jennierose C. DLSU-D


Famarin Maria Erika Ann F. DLSU-D


Garcia Emillyn T. DLSU-D


Garcia Kris Emilia F. WUP


Lim Ma. Ellaine P. AU-PHINMA


Llemos Kristiana Marie M. DLSU-D


Loguibis Erwin Denga-Ey SLU


Masil Kathlyn Ann D. DLSU-D


Monilla Ma. Nerissa P. WUP


Morales Johannah A. DLSU-D


Obra Juralyn Lilian UC


Pablo Lielani C. UB


Pagarao Maryjane M. DLSU-D


Palipa Martin A. UB


Palma Prince Kelvin T. DLSU-D


Panelo Mispah Joy UC


Panganiban Jesse James C. DLSU-D


Pulido Jomielyn M. LPU


Punzalan Leo Niño F. AU-PHINMA


Quezada Janelle P. DLSU-D


Recana Eirvin King D. DLSU-D


Reyes Jeremiah E. UB


Reyes Anna Dorothea L. DLSU-D


Reyes Dianne Eunice M. DLSU-D


Reyes Kathleen M. WUP


Reyes Christian Z. SPC


Salcedo Hero M. CDD


Sambas Blaise Agatha D. DLSU-D


Samson Melissa C. AU-PHINMA


Sayson Jovelyn C. CDD


Sharief Hanie Mas-od UC


Simbulan Jr. Ronald  S. AU-PHINMA


Solomon Stephanie A. UB


Sorilla Dan Joseph N. DLSU-D


Tagaban Rovee Lyn UC


Tamondong Aldrin Ryan UC


Timagos Jonh Rey O. AU-PHINMA


Tocyapao Maricel UC


Tumambing Eunise Mariel UC


Usigan Donna Katrina S. DLSU-D


Valdez Francis Lorenzo UC

Based on the final tally we believe that given the ample time to prepare for the quiz contest at least more than 50% of the participants would have earned above “360”, the scaled score required to pass the CMA examinations.

The list of names who participated in the Quiz Bowl will now be submitted to IMA for the issuance of Certificates of Participation.

On behalf of the management of Insights Financial Review Services and the Institute of Management Accountants, I would like to thank you all for actively taking part in this event. We look forward to seeing more accountancy schools from the whole country participating in this event next year and the years to come.

About Insights

Insights Financial Review Services is a professional CPA, CMA and CIA review course provider that seeks to become a key partner in the development of Filipino accountants and finance professionals in making them globally competitive. Through its courses and certification programs, accountants will be able to augment and update their skills as well as prepare for international certification as a CPA, CMA, CIA, among others. We offer well-balanced course programs that suit the busy schedule of working professionals like you. In addition to offering training and review services, Insights provides a suitable venue that allows students and professionals to share their knowledge, resources, and best practices in accountancy. We believe such interaction helps establish an extensive professional network of Filipino accountants and finance professionals around the Philippines and across the globe, allowing members to have access to career opportunities, new information and approaches, and potential business contacts.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more 20,000 CMA members in more than 100 countries and 300 local professional and student chapters. IMA provides localized services through its offices in Montvale, N.J., USA; Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE; and Beijing, China. For more information about IMA, please visit