What is CMA (Certified Management Accountant )?

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional credential offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). read more to know more about CMA, what they do, the steps to become one and more.

Updated by Selva Kumar on 3rd October 2020

CMA (Certified Management Accountant) is a professional credential that certifies that the individual possesses knowledge in a combination of both financial, accounting, and strategic management fields. the profession encircles areas such as financial planning, analysis, decision making, support, and ethics in the profession. This role is different from the CPAs(Certified Public Accountants) and covers various topics other than what CPAs learn. 

In this article, we will explore CMA, and learn how to become one and more.

What is CMA?

CMA(Certified Management Accountant) is a designation certified by the Institute of Management Accountant (IMA) for the people who possess the required skills and knowledge and expertise in the area of analysis control, financial planning & management helping the company to make better decisions from the available financial data.

As per IMA, CMA is a “globally recognized, advanced-level credential appropriate for accountants and financial professionals in the business. Achieving the CMA demonstrates your professional expertise in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics.”

Why should you become a CMA?

  • It is a globally-recognized designation that provides you a wide opportunity to get into the business world. For example, if you want to be involved in any business activities, or run your own business, then CMA is the way.

  • Most people think that accounting is a boring career, yes. but CMA is not, it gives you a clear difference between CMA and accountants. As a CMA you can empower many accountants to advance up to better things and it advances you too.

  • CMAs duties and responsibilities revolve around financial-economic activities. According to the 2019 IMA Global Salary Survey, the average CMA certified people earn 31% higher than the other accountants. Hence this designation provides you more earning ability.

  • CMAs are not like any other accountants. CMAs know how finance functions better than anyone. In that way, you get the respect, responsibility, and credibility.

Also Read: CMA vs CPA

How to become a CMA?

Here is a step-to-step guide to becoming a CMA.

Step 1- Fulfill the basic Educational requirements needed

You will need a Bachelor’s degree in any major (but the most preferred degrees include Accounting, finance, economics, and general business). from an accredited educational institution.

Step 2- Pay the IMA Membership Fee

You should activate your IMA membership, you can choose your suitable type of membership in order to be eligible for CMA certification

To know more visit: imaonlinestore.

Step 3- Get a CMA Review Course

Enrolling in a review courses help the majority of candidates not only to pass the CMA exam but also helps in deeper learning of the concepts.

To know more: CMA Review courses.

Step 4- Register for the CMA exam

You can register for this exam online or even by mail and fax. In the registration process, you will need to provide information such as which part of the exam you want to appear for out of two parts/ testing windows. You can also choose both parts.
The exam fee for each part is $311 for students and $415 for professionals.

Step 5- Pass the Exam

This CMA is basically a computer-based exam, there are 2 parts in it.

Part 1:Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Analytics

Part 2:Financial Decision Making

The first part includes 100 multiple-choice questions where you will have 3 hours to finish,

The second part includes two essay questions, where you will have one hour to complete.

You will have to score at least 50% in the first part to qualify for the second level. In the end, your scores for both parts are added and the total scores are taken into consideration.

Step 6- Meet your Work Experience Requirement

Once you have taken the CMA exam and passed it, you will need to focus on your work experience requirements before you are certified. Mostly the candidates will need to have at least two years of continuously in management accounting or some financial profession. This work experience must be completed within seven years after completing the exam.

Step 7- Apply for CMA Certificate

Once you have passed the exam and fulfilled all the eligibility criteria, you need to apply for the CMA Certificate through your personal IMA Account. In order to maintain it, you need to pay your CMA due to annually called CMA maintenance fee, not for the certificate but to ensure your IMA Membership is active.

What do CMAs do?

According to Morgan, these are roles being performed by the real world CMAs:

1. Financial Reporting and Planning

  • External Financial Reporting Decisions

  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting

  • Cost Management

  • Performance Management

  • Internal Controls

2. Financial Decision Making

  • Financial Statement Analysis

  • Corporate Finance

  • Decision Analysis

  • Risk Management

  • Investment Decisions

  • Professional Ethics.

How much does a CMA earn? 

The salary of a CMA is dependent on multiple factors such as education, experience, type of employer/company, location, appraisal opportunities, etc. The median salary of a CMA is $85,000 per annum. 

We have summarised the salaries of a CMA based on experience. 

Experience

Salary

Entry Level CMA

$80,000

Experienced CMA

$125,000

Conclusion

CMAs have a bright career scope and form an integral part of an organization. The career path to becoming a CMA is competitive and requires diligence, sincerity, and untiring efforts from the students, for, the fruits of this hustle are extremely sweet and satisfying. It is advised to thoroughly read through every aspect of this profession to make wise decisions and pass the exam with flying colors.

Still, wondering about the different types of degrees and courses available to pursue in Accounting. Job concentrations to venture out to have a bright future career? Don't fret, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.