Are you considering a career in management accounting or finance? If so, you’ve likely come across the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) qualification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in the USA. This article will provide you with all the essential information you need to decide if pursuing the CMA qualification is the right choice for you.

What is CMA Certification?

The CMA certification is a globally recognized credential designed for professionals in management accounting and financial management. It demonstrates your expertise in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. Here’s a breakdown of the key details you need to know:

1. CMA Certification Process:

To become a CMA, you must complete the following steps:

  • Education: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution.
  • CMA Entrance Exam: Pass the CMA Entrance Exam, which assesses your knowledge in accounting and finance.
  • CMA Exam: Pass the two-part CMA exam, which covers financial reporting, planning, performance, and control.
  • Experience: Gain two years of relevant work experience.
  • CMA Membership: Become an IMA member and adhere to their ethical standards.


2. CMA Exam Structure:

The CMA exam consists of two parts:

  • Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics15% External Financial Reporting Decisions20% Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting20% Performance Management15% Cost Management15% Internal Controls15% Technology and Analytics
  • Part 2: Financial Decision Making.20% Financial Statement Analysis20% Corporate Finance25% Decision Analysis10% Risk Management10% Investment Decisions15% Professional Ethics


Each part has multiple-choice questions and essay questions, testing your knowledge and application of financial concepts.

3. Cost and Fees:

The cost of pursuing CMA certification includes:

  • IMA Membership Fee: $245 (one-time fee).
  • Entrance Fee: $250.
  • Exam Registration Fee: $415 per part.
  • Wiley CMA Review Course (optional but highly recommended): Approx. $1,000.


4. Duration:

On average, candidates take around 6-12 months to prepare for and pass both parts of the CMA exam. The process may take longer if you need additional time to study or meet experience requirements.

5. Pass Rate:

The CMA exam pass rates vary, but they are generally lower than other accounting certifications. The pass rates often range from 35% to 45%. This emphasizes the importance of thorough preparation and study.

6. Average Salaries:

Earning a CMA certification can significantly boost your earning potential. CMA-certified professionals tend to earn higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts. In the USA, CMAs can expect competitive salaries, with the potential to earn an average of $100,000 or more, depending on factors like experience and location.

7. Employer Acceptance:

The CMA qualification is highly respected by employers worldwide. It’s recognized as a symbol of excellence in management accounting and financial management. Many multinational corporations and accounting firms actively seek CMA-certified professionals to fill key roles, as they possess the skills necessary for strategic financial decision-making.

Is CMA Right for You?

Choosing to pursue a CMA qualification is a significant decision. It’s an excellent choice if you are interested in management accounting, financial planning, and analysis. The CMA certification can open doors to various career opportunities and potentially increase your earning potential.

In conclusion, becoming a Certified Management Accountant is a valuable investment in your career in finance and accounting. If you are committed to the field and willing to put in the effort, the CMA qualification can help you stand out in a competitive job market. Before you embark on this journey, make sure to assess your commitment, resources, and career goals to determine if CMA is the right fit for you.

Remember that this article provides an overview of the CMA qualification, and we encourage you to research further and consult with professionals in the field to make an informed decision about your career path. Good luck on your journey to becoming a CMA!


Important notice: Changes coming to the CMA exam starting September 2024; just two windows remain to take the current exam.

source and for updates: