Certified Management Accountant Defined and What They Do

«I decided to go after my CMA because I felt that the CPA left some gap in the trade skills that I needed to have to continue my career in industry,» says Ben Mulling, CEO of TENTE Casters, Inc., in Hebron, Ky. Mulling is a member of IMA’s Global Board of Directors and also holds the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) designations. A Certified Public Accountant license is necessary for several financial occupations.

The test can be taken in person at an approved test site or remotely. Once enrolled, you have up to one year to study and prepare for the CMA program. Some educational institutions have programs that are tailored exclusively for the certified management accountant job path, as well as specialized classes that can assist students in preparing for the CMA test. Depending on the type of company, management accountants need to demonstrate expertise in different areas, according to Searle. He adds that management accountants are often called upon to monitor marketing efforts or act as analysts on special projects.

CMA candidates should have worked in management accounting or financial management for at least two straight years. To take the CMA Exam, you’ll simply need to have an IMA membership and pay the CMA entrance fee. Once you are a member of the IMA, you can register for the CMA exam. Most people buy a best CMA review courses and study materials to support this process. It opens doors to advanced roles in management accounting, leadership positions, higher salaries, global opportunities, and more.

  1. Management accountants may also have an area of expertise, such as taxes or budgeting.
  2. The need for CMAs spans a number of industries, from manufacturing to transportation and construction to real estate.
  3. CMAs are exceptional when it comes to supervising teams, managing projects, and making high-level business decisions.
  4. This experience should be directly related to management accounting or financial management, performing tasks such as auditing, budget preparation and cost analysis.
  5. CMA test-takers who used Surgent and did not pass may qualify for their money back.
  6. Yes, the CMA designation is generally considered easier and less prestigious than CPA certification.

They prepare data—recording and crunching numbers—that their companies use for budgeting and planning purposes. They are also responsible for managing risk, planning, strategizing, and decision making. Other duties include supervising lower-level staff, identifying trends and opportunities for improvement. The second is the chartered global management accountant designation, offered by the American Institute of CPAs in conjunction with the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. At its inception, the CGMA program offered the credential based on experience alone. There are two major professional designations for management accountants.


They must meet certain educational requirements, pass the initial exam and fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain their license. In other words, the standards for CPAs are much stricter than those for general requirements. Earning a CPA certification opens up many opportunities for accountants both in terms of salary growth and upward mobility. While you don’t have to earn a CPA to practice as an accountant, many clients specifically seek out CPAs because licensure shows a stalwart commitment to accounting specialties and industry best practices. For this reason, many companies also require their in-house accountants to have a CPA license, especially if they want to be promoted to leadership positions with a higher salary. Add certified management accountant to one of your lists below, or create a new one.

What Is the Most Important Role of Management Accounting?

The CFA is the most expensive certification and takes the longest to study for, but it will equip you with the skills needed to excel in asset management and trading. And the CPA is the longest exam with the lowest average salary, but licensed CPAs do make 10 – 15% more than non-licensed CPAs. Yes, the CMA designation is generally considered easier and less prestigious than CPA certification.

If you have real-time access to an expert CMA instructor, you can ask all of your questions and get insightful feedback about what you need to work on. Each year, to maintain your certificate, you’ll have to take ongoing education credits. Read on to learn more about the requirements to get your Certified Management Accountant designation, including education, experience, and the CMA exam.

The CMA exam has the shortest recommended study hours with 180 (90 hours per exam part), and the CFA exam has the highest with a whopping 900 hours of recommended study time (at least 300 hours per exam level). CMAs tend to hold leadership roles and might have the title of financial analyst, financial planner, cost accountant, corporate controller, or even CFO. CMAs need to abide by the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, plus all local laws that apply to their accounting practice. Finally, CMAs must pay the CMA annual fee, including IMA membership and a CMA maintenance fee. Exam-takers pay fees for IMA membership, IMA’s CMA program, and the CMA exam. The exam fee is refundable within 30 days from the date of exam purchase, as long as the candidate did not set an appointment with Prometric.

CPA Career Paths

Additional fees for rescheduling or retaking a failed exam portion may apply. Becoming a CMA has various benefits, like improved career prospects and the ability to help organizations make better decisions and advance in their field. To obtain a CMA certification, you must undergo a rigorous process that includes a series of exams and a practical experience requirement. These benefits make CMA an attractive option for anyone interested in a career in accounting or finance. Companies believe in their professional expertise and are given crucial organizational jobs.

Once qualified, they can work in a variety of advanced and lucrative management accounting roles. Certified management accountant certification has many benefits, including higher earnings and increased job opportunities. If you see yourself working in the financial industry for years to come, this is the certification you need to move into higher-paying positions that may be the dream job for you. The 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey Report found that a certified management accountant’s salary in the US is 58 percent higher median total compensation than a non-certified management accountant. This survey also found that those who work in top management positions and hold the CMA earn 64 percent more in median base salary versus non-CMA employees at the same level [3].

Consider the Managerial Accounting Fundamentals course offered by University of Virginia. It covers topics in managerial accounting, cost volume analysis, cost allocation, and more. The goal of management accounting is to aid decision-makers by providing accurate information about a business’s financial operations. CMAs earn well and are sought after, but to get a recognized CMA certification one usually needs a bachelor’s degree with specialized knowledge.

CPAs are typically only licensed in one state, but reciprocity laws may allow them to become licensed in additional states. To maintain their CPA designation, CPAs must complete continuing education requirements and uphold a standard of accounting https://personal-accounting.org/ ethics. You will likely see a boost in your earning potential after a CMA certification because you can now give added value to a company. Beyond earning a raise, you may be eligible for higher-paying positions in upper management.

Between 2019 and 2029, the hiring of accountants is projected to grow by 4%. Due to the absence of standardization, this growth is expected to continue in the management accounting sector because companies have considerable freedom in designing management accounting systems. The first step to becoming a Certified Public Accountant is to earn a bachelor’s degree that includes at least 150 credits hours of coursework.

You only need to stay current on your IMA membership fees and make sure you fulfill your annual requirements. This is a requirement for continued education of 30 hours a year, with at least two hours of continuing education being devoted to ethics. Kuchen says he initially took an in-person study class at a local college. «After that, I used a private company’s self-guided software study program, certified management accountant definition which also helped me a great deal,» he says. Susan E. Bos—tax and accounting manager for the Washtenaw County, Mich., treasurer’s office and a member of the IMA’s Global Board of Directors—says it took her about a year and a half to study for the CMA exam. «I already had the work experience and had already passed the CPA exam, which gave me credit for one of the four parts,» she says.


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