Certified Management Accountant (CMA)


Certified management accountant (CMA) is a prestigious accounting designation that showcases proficiency in financial accounting and strategic management. CMAs play vital roles in various positions, from financial controllers to chief financial officers (CFOs). This article explores the CMA certification, its significance, and the requirements for aspiring CMAs.

Certified management accountant (CMA): A comprehensive overview

The certified management accountant (CMA) designation is a renowned credential that symbolizes expertise in financial accounting and strategic management. CMAs, often referred to as certified management accountants, are highly qualified professionals eligible for a wide array of roles in the financial realm, including pivotal positions like financial controllers and chief financial officers (CFOs).

How CMAs contribute to decision-making

The CMA certification, issued by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), extends beyond financial accounting expertise. It encompasses management skills crucial for making strategic business decisions rooted in financial data analysis.

Certified management accountants (CMAs) often go beyond the scope of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in their reports and analyses. They produce additional management reports tailored to provide specific insights for corporate decision-makers. These insights could include performance metrics for company departments, products, or even individual employees.

It’s important to note that, unlike the certified public accountant (CPA) certification, CMA certification isn’t mandatory for many finance positions. However, CMAs adhere to a strict code of ethics, similar to other financial designations such as CPAs or chartered financial analysts (CFAs).

Obtaining CMA certification

To become a certified management accountant, candidates must meet specific criteria:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or a related professional certification
  • Possess at least two years of continuous work experience in a related field
  • Successfully pass a rigorous two-part exam, requiring over 300 hours of preparation

In addition to these requirements, CMAs are also expected to hold active membership in the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

Real-world example of a CMA

Consider Dorothy, an entrepreneur managing a small construction supply company. She recently had the opportunity to bid on a project that would require a significant increase in her workforce. However, she was concerned about managing the increased financial reporting needs efficiently.

To address this issue, Dorothy decides to hire Dennis, a certified management accountant (CMA). Dennis obtained his CMA designation after passing a comprehensive two-part exam covering various subjects, including budgeting, forecasting, performance management, cost measurement, and internal controls.

Dennis’s expertise allows him to assess the costs and benefits of the new project while efficiently managing costs and logistics associated with serving new clients. His skills bring transparency to Dorothy’s business, enabling her to evaluate individual team performance and project profitability more effectively.

With his combination of accounting expertise and managerial decision-making skills, Dennis is well-positioned to assume executive roles within the company or elsewhere in the future.

Special considerations

Certified management accountants (CMAs) and other accounting professionals are expected to be in high demand in the coming years. The hiring of accountants is projected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029. This growth is particularly notable in the management accounting sector due to the flexibility that companies have in designing management accounting systems.

Frequently asked questions about certified management accountants (CMAs)

What is the significance of the CMA designation?

The CMA designation is highly regarded in the field of accounting and finance. It signifies expertise in financial accounting, management accounting, and strategic decision-making, making CMAs valuable assets in various roles within organizations.

Is CMA certification internationally recognized?

Yes, CMA certification is recognized globally. CMAs can pursue opportunities both domestically and internationally, as the skills and knowledge gained through the certification are applicable in diverse business environments.

How does CMA certification differ from other accounting certifications?

While the CMA focuses on management accounting and decision-making, other certifications like the certified public accountant (CPA) are more oriented towards auditing and tax-related areas. CMAs possess a unique skill set that combines financial expertise with strategic management skills.

What are the career opportunities for CMAs?

CMAs have a wide range of career opportunities. They can work as financial controllers, chief financial officers (CFOs), management consultants, financial analysts, and more. Their ability to provide strategic financial insights makes them valuable in various industries.

What is the pass rate for the CMA exam?

The pass rate for the CMA exam varies from year to year and can differ between the two parts of the exam. It’s essential to dedicate sufficient time for preparation and consider enrolling in CMA review courses to increase your chances of success.

Do CMAs need to maintain their certification?

Yes, CMAs are required to maintain their certification by fulfilling continuing education requirements. This ensures that CMAs stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and maintain their expertise.

Can I become a CMA with a non-finance background?

Yes, individuals with non-finance backgrounds can pursue CMA certification. However, they must meet the education and experience requirements and pass the rigorous CMA exam to obtain the designation.

Are there any ethical standards CMAs must follow?

Yes, CMAs are expected to adhere to a strict code of ethics established by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). These ethical standards are integral to maintaining the integrity of the CMA designation.

What are the advantages of hiring a CMA for a business?

Hiring a CMA can provide a business with advanced financial analysis, budgeting, and performance management skills. CMAs can offer valuable insights to improve financial decision-making, enhance profitability, and streamline processes.

Can CMAs work in non-profit organizations?

Yes, CMAs can work in a wide range of organizations, including non-profits. Their financial expertise and ability to make data-driven decisions are valuable in any sector where financial management is essential.

Key takeaways

  • The CMA designation signifies expertise in financial accounting and decision-making.
  • Certified management accountants (CMAs) can pursue various career opportunities in finance.
  • Obtaining CMA certification requires meeting specific education, experience, and exam requirements.
  • CMAs contribute valuable insights for strategic business decisions based on financial data.
View article sources
  1. Competition and Markets Authority – The Institute for Government
  2. Capital Market Authority, Sultanate of Oman – Cma.gov.om
  3. CMA and CA: Detailed definition – Statistique Canada