Why become a CMA – that is the magic question. Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) means expending lots of time, effort, and money, so is it worth it? What’s the value of becoming a CMA?
I aim to answer that question for you today because I believe it’s very important for potential candidates to do all of their homework before making a final decision about which accounting certification to get. I know that the process can be daunting. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which is right for you and if the investment is really going to help your future career.
Here are 5 good reasons to pursue the CMA.
Table of Contents
- Why Become a CMA
- The Gold Standard
- Most Global Certification
- More Money
- Practical Skills
- Simple Process
- Benefits to You
- Better Job
- Different Job Opportunities
- Globally Valued
- Video Summary
Why Become a CMA: 5 Motivations
We are going to dive into five motivations to become a CMA for a bit. It’s important to understand why other people get the CMA certification in order to help see the benefits. However, when making a decision for yourself, you also need to look at your own career path and what will help you get there.
1. The CMA Is the Gold Standard in Management Accounting
Your aunts and neighbors may have never heard of the CMA, but in the corporate accounting world, CMA is a very respected designation. In fact, it is considered the “gold standard”, meaning it is one of the top certifications in management accounting that you can obtain. It’s also the fastest-growing credential around the globe. Holding the top title in the field is a big motivation for many people.
The CMA is an advanced professional certification specifically designed to measure the critical accounting and financial management skills. This is especially relevant for success in a business environment. This means you will be a prime candidate for job positions when you hold this distinction.
2. It’s Arguably the Most Global Management Accounting Certification
The CIMA is the largest in this niche, but the vast majority of members are located in the UK and to a lesser extent Europe and Commonwealth countries. However, the CMA is growing around the globe more quickly than CIMA.
The number of US CMAs is smaller, but the certification is now the most popular management accounting certification not only in the US but also in the fastest developing regions, namely China and the Middle East. As you can see from the chart extracted from the August 2014 edition of Strategic Finance, almost half of the new CMA candidates came from the Middle East (UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan), and almost 1/4 from the Asia Pacific (China and India).
3. CMAs Get Paid More
Let’s face it — we want to learn, but ultimately, we need the certification to get better-paying jobs. According to a comprehensive study by the IMA, CMA certification holders earn 67% more than their non-certified counterparts.
More is good, but how much more are we talking? The global mean and median base CMA certification salary may rise and fall from year to year so you have to stay updated on the stats. However, the figures remain high and attractive to future Certified Management Accountants, meaning it’s still a good reason to consider getting your CMA.
The IMA reports that the global mean base CMA salary of 2018 was $74,344, while the global median base CMA salary was $66,000. Typically, this will rise from year to year so we can feel confident in steady increases for the years to come.
4. For Many, CMA Skills Are More Practical
Various industry journals have indicated that 80% of accountants end up in non-public accounting. The management accounting knowledge and skills arein fact more useful for these professionals. Additionally, many dual CPA and CMA holders find the materials covered by the CMA more interesting and practical in their daily work.
Again, it all depends on what career path you want to take but the skills learned from becoming a Certified Management Accountant are often touted as the best in the industry for the day-to-day tasks you will have as an accountant.
5. The IMA Makes It Easy for Us
Unlike the CPA Exam in which getting qualified is sometimes harder than passing the exam itself, the IMA (the CMA exam administrator) keeps things clear, simple, and organized for applicants. The IMA openly welcomes international candidates with the exam offered in hundreds of locations worldwide.
Don’t get me wrong — earning the CMA is not easier because of a low barrier of entry. Candidates are still required to have a bachelors degree, pass a rigorous exam, and secure 2 continuous years of management accounting experience to get certified.
However, the IMA makes the process of becoming a CMA as smooth as possible. Candidates can focus on passing the exam and fulfilling the experience instead of getting stuck with the bureaucracy and conflicting rules from different state boards like those involved in the CPA certification process. This is a huge benefit to many candidates and is one leading reason why some people choose CMA over other accounting certifications.
The CMA Sounds Great, But How Does It Benefit Me?
Maybe all of this means the CMA sounds good, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s great for you. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can truly determine that. However, I hope to give you a wealth of information to help you make your choice. Let’s see if the CMA certification benefits YOUR career.
1. Can the CMA Certification Land You a Better Job?
“Within the Finance department at J&J, the CMA is a highly regarded certification. The content of the CMA exam mirrors real-world applications used across the corporate finance and accounting functions.” – Ryan Perkins, CMA, Senior Financial Analyst at Johnson & Johnson
(Source: Strategic Finance Magazine, April 2015)
Please grab a pen and paper and write down:
- 3 dream companies to work for and
- 3 dream positions within the company
Then, look at this list and see if these are the companies you’d like to work for.
These fortune 500 companies are known to have CMAs in their key management roles:
- Bank of America
- Johnson & Johnson
- Procter & Gamble
- Saudi Aramco
You will notice that the majority are big, global corporations focused on manufacturing. If your ideal workplace is on the list above, then the CMA is great for you.
2. Are You Sure You Don’t Want to Be an Auditor or Tax Accountant?
If you aren’t sure, then the CMA certification may not be good for you, at least at this stage. There is very little use if you aspire to work in a public accounting firm either as an auditor or in tax.
On the other hand, if you want to build your career in corporate accounting, the certification greatly enhances your profile and knowledge in the field.
3. Is the CMA Truly Valued Where You Live?
It’s nice to know the 60%+ salary premium CMAs enjoy and that CMAs are in low supply. But honestly, does this average figure mean much?
Probably not, because the demand for CMAs is different in different regions across the US and around the world.
So how do you know if the CMA is valued in your area?
It’s time for research. Check out online recruiting sites such as Monster.com and Indeed.com, or other equivalent sites in your home country.
Then, type in “certified management accountant” and see if there are jobs that pop up in your area (“CMA” is likely too broad because it covers “certified medical assistant” and a few other certifications).
For example, Monster.com lists out 148 jobs in New Jersey based on “certified management accountant”. You should be able to find more listings using a variety of keywords.
Take a look at the industry, job description, and salary range. See if these opportunities excite you.
CMA Advantages and Disadvantages
We have spent some time looking over the advantages, but as you know, there are always disadvantages, too. In order to make an informed decision, you should look at the pros and cons of each choice to help guide your decision.
Some disadvantages of the CMA certification is the time and monetary investment it will take to get it. Of course, this investment pays for itself when you factor in the break-even rate, how much you can make in salary, and the new positions and job opportunities that will open up for you. However, these things are not important to everyone.
If you’re planning a simple accounting career in a job that does not require a certification of this level, it may not be practical to invest that level of time and money into getting it just for the bragging rights.
Scope of the CMA
To understand the benefits of the CMA better, let’s take a look at the scope of the CMA. By definition, aCertified Management Accountant (CMA) is an accounting professional to whom the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has awarded the CMA certification. The IMA developed the CMA designation in 1972 to supply an objective measure of an accountant’s knowledge and competence in management accounting.
The CMA certification requires passing the CMA exam. This exam comes in two parts, and the breakdown shows the overall scope of the CMA well.
CMA Exam Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
- External financial reporting (15%)
- Planning, budgeting, and forecasting (20%)
- Performance management (20%)
- Cost management (15%)
- Internal controls (15%)
- Technology and Analytics (15%)
CMA Exam Part 2: Strategic Financial Management
- Financial statement analysis (20%)
- Corporate finance (20%)
- Decision analysis (25%)
- Risk management (10%)
- Investment decisions (10%)
- Professional ethics (15%)
What Jobs Does a CMA Hold?
If you’re trying to decide if the CMA is right for you, and to calculate the advantages to choosing it, then it will also be important to look at the types of jobs CMA holders have. To see the potential CMA career scope, let’s look at the jobs a CMA can hold.
CMAs can hold these titles and more:
- Budget analyst
- Chief Executive Officer
- Chief Financial Officer
- Cost accountant
- Financial analyst
- Financial manager
- Internal auditor
- Senior accountant
- Staff accountant
Understanding the scope of the CMA will help you see how being a titleholder can help you in a career in any of these fields. These are just some of the common titles that people will their certification might hold.
Is CMA a Good Course?
In simple terms, yes. The CMA is a good course and exam choice to take if you are looking to work a career in accounting. Earning the CMA is not a simple process. There are several things you need to do, in addition, to take the CMA exam.
Let’s recap those benefits to getting your CMA certification:
- Higher income
- More job opportunities
- Greater job security
- Increased skills and abilities
- Heightened respect and admiration
Is CMA a Good Career?
Will it be a smart career choice to become a Certified Management Accountant? Again, only you can say for certain what is right for you. In general, yes, the CMA is a good career. You can see the job scope opportunities listed above. You can also see the many other benefits such as pay increases, job dependability, and personal recognition. These are just some of the reasons candidates decide to go for their CMA.
Finally, Experience a Summary in Video Format
Sounds Good! What’s Next?
- Is the CMA worth it?
- How to (quickly) become a CMA in 12 steps
- See how much the exam will cost you
- Discover the salary premium you can expect with the CMA title
You may also be interested in signing up for my mini e-course to plan, study, and pass the CMA exam on your first attempt (click the link for details on the mini-course):
Join us if you want to get tips on how to plan,
study, and pass your CMA exam on your first attempt!
That's because CMAs are able to offer specialized advice and expertise in the areas of management and cost accounting, which are invaluable to organizations with large, complex operations. As such, CMA holders can work in a variety of roles, from cost accountant all the way up to CFO.Why do I want to be a CMA? ›
One major benefit of being a CMA is that preparing for the certification can broaden your knowledge of management accounting topics. Additionally, earning a CMA certification can help you stand out among other accountants for new roles.What can you learn from CMA? ›
That's because a CMA shows that you not only have knowledge about financial planning, cost management, and internal controls, but that you also know how to use that knowledge to support strategic decisions regarding corporate finance, risk management, and investments.What does a CMA do accounting? ›
A CMA is an expert in corporate finance and management accounting. Their particular niche is using financial and accounting data and knowledge to inform business strategy. As the IMA puts it, “CMAs can explain the 'why' behind numbers, not just the 'what.Why is CMA so important? ›
The CMA must seek to promote competition, both within and outside the United Kingdom, for the benefit of consumers. The CMA makes markets work well in the interests of consumers, businesses and the economy. Consistently be one of the leading competition and consumer agencies in the world.What is the value of CMA? ›
Increased value: Individuals with CMA USA Certification have more authority and value in any firm. They are a valuable asset to the organization, and as a result, they are recognized by the Chief Executive Officer, top-ranking officials, and members of the board of directors.Is CMA is a good career option? ›
Those CMAs managing their own businesses have found themselves as a Manager and as an Accountant can control and thereby flourish their businesses. There is no doubt that a Cost Accountant can attain the highest ladder of professional career.Is getting my CMA worth it? ›
Searle says the CMA certification provides a very large advantage in the job market. There are jobs that require either a CPA or CMA designation, he says. CMAs are exceptional when it comes to supervising teams, managing projects, and making high-level business decisions.What is the main work of CMA? ›
Cost & Management Accountant (CMA)
A CMA is a person who performs services involving costing, pricing of goods and services, verification or certification of Cost Records and Taxation, especially in Indirect Taxation. Unlike pure accounting professionals, the demand for CMA cuts across functions in all organizations.
A Certified Management Accountant, or CMA for short, is a unique professional credential awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). To earn the designation, CMA candidates have to demonstrate competency in financial planning, financial analysis, organizational decision support, and professional ethics.
- Meet the CMA Education Requirements.
- Pay for an IMA Membership.
- Join the CMA Program.
- Enroll in a CMA Review Course Program.
- Begin Studying by Following a Proven Study Plan.
- Register for a CMA Exam Part After Week 8 of Your Study Plan.
A certified management accountant (CMA) holds an internationally recognised accounting, finance and management qualification. A certified management accountant is qualified to work in corporate finance and strategic planning.How does the CMA impact a business? ›
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the UK's principal authority responsible for competition and consumer protection. It enforces competition and market regulation by investigating cases, providing rulings, issuing penalties and supporting government and other market regulators.What is future of CMA? ›
CMA course is designed to provide extensive training and knowledge to graduates to pursue careers in various roles such as finance manager, accountant, costing manager, financial advisor etc. The demand for CMA graduates is increasing significantly in domestic and international markets.Which CMA is best? ›
US CMA and CMA India are both prestigious accounting courses that bring forth a range of opportunities. However, if you are looking for global opportunities with a shorter course duration, US CMA would be the right choice for you.What is the power of CMA? ›
empowers the Central Government to specify audit of items of cost in respect of certain companies. companies as may be prescribed shall be required to appoint an internal auditor, who shall either be a Chartered Accountant or Cost Accountant or such other professional as may be decided by the Board.Do employers care about CMA? ›
This is because they have demonstrated a high level of competence and commitment to the profession. The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation is one of the most respected credentials in the accounting profession. CMAs are highly sought-after by employers and are well respected by their peers.What is the best option after CMA? ›
You will be able to pursue a variety of career paths with the CMA credential. Management consulting CMAs' most common career paths include Corporate finance, Investment banking, Financial planning and analysis, Auditing and assurance, and Taxation.Is CMA as valuable as CPA? ›
According to industry data, a CPA earns 15% more in average salary than a non-CPA accountant. However, CMA certification translates to a 63% premium in compensation over professionals without a CMA.Is CMA as good as CPA? ›
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are both certified accountants and more highly regarded than regular accountants. On a basic level, a CPA is responsible for taxes and audits, while a CMA is in charge of management accounting.
An Entry Level CMA with less than three years of experience earns an average salary of ₹7.6 Lakhs per year. A mid-career CMA with 4-9 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹14.7 Lakhs per year, while an experienced CMA with 10-20 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹5.9 Lakhs per year.Can CMA do financial audit? ›
CMAs are allowed to do financial Audit, Internal Audit, GST Audit, Excise Audit, VAT audit, stock audit, etc.Is CMA useful in business? ›
The CMA offers you the chance to work in various areas of finance and accounting in a way that the CPA does not. Some of the most common jobs available to management accountants include CEO, CFO, CTO, controller, or finance manager, to name a few.How important is a Masters in accounting? ›
A master's degree in accounting is worth it because it can be the boost you need to a higher-level position in banking, taxation, insurance or any company with a financial division. You can gain superior analytical skills, deepen your knowledge of accounting principles and learn the latest technology.Why is cost and management accounting important in a business? ›
Cost accounting helps companies identify areas where they may be able to better control their costs, and also informs pricing decisions to ensure profitability. Cost accounting figures are used only by a company's internal management team, so collection methods can be customized according to company needs.Why is cost and management accounting important? ›
It is an indispensable discipline for corporate management, as the information collected and presented to management based on cost and management accounting techniques helps management to solve not only specific problems but also guides them in decision making.What is the value of CMA certification? ›
Business Approvals: The CMA USA certificate is recognized worldwide. The course is regarded as one of the top accounting certifications for management since it involves a combination of leadership skills and accounting knowledge, unquestionably one of CMA's key advantages.What is taught in Masters in accounting? ›
You'll learn about tax law, the tax process and controls, federal taxation, business taxation, tax strategy, international tax minimization strategies and how to identify key tax risks.Why is an accounting degree important? ›
Why Is Accounting Important to Business? In many ways, accounting is the backbone of a business. Its role is to track a company's finances in whatever forms they may take; from credits, debits, and profitability to payroll and tax filings. It is a field driven by analytics and analytical interpretations.What is the best masters degree in accounting? ›
- University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- University of Michigan--Ann Arbor (Ross)
- Brigham Young University (Marriott)
- University of Southern California (Marshall)
- Indiana University (Kelley)
- Stanford University.
Cost management is the process of planning and controlling the costs associated with running a business. It includes collecting, analyzing and reporting cost information to more effectively budget, forecast and monitor costs.What are the five main purpose of cost accounting? ›
The main objectives of Cost Accounting are as follows : (i) Ascertainment of cost, (ii) Determination of selling price, (iii) Cost control and cost reduction, (iv) Ascertaining the profit of each activity, (v) Assisting management in decision-making.What are the three benefits of cost management? ›
- Lower Expenses. The main benefit of putting cost controls in place is lowering your company's overall expenses. ...
- Gain Operational Efficiency. ...
- Realize Procurement Effectiveness. ...
- Streamline Technology.
Cost accounting provides better data to make your business analytics more effective. Essentially, providing the detailed cost information that management needs to better understand and manage current operations and develop plans for the future.What is cost and management accountant CMA? ›
Cost and Management Accountancy (CMA) is a professional course specifically designed to build and test the critical accounting and financial management knowledge. It involves three stages – Foundation, Intermediate and Final besides the mandatory trainings as a part of the course.