The Institute of Management Accountants (or IMA), also the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, is dedicated to excellence within the management accounting profession. The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation was designed in 1972 to provide an objective measure of an individual’s knowledge in the field of management accounting. Here, the CMA course details are discussed in detail and the steps on how to become a CMA.
Here is a navigation list for the page
- What is CMA?
- CMA Eligibility Criteria
- CMA Syllabus
- CMA Exam Pattern
- CMA Registration
- Scholarship for the CMA certification
- Career Prospects after the CMA
What is CMA?
The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential is an advanced professional certification that is designed to measure the accounting and financial management skills of an individual that drives business performance. The CMA is a great career move for anyone who wants to make it big in the field of management accounting. This course is tailor-made for accounting and finance professionals at all levels, either to enhance the value of their current organization or to improve their career opportunities.
Obtaining a CMA certification not only shows a high level of competence but also a strong commitment to continuous self-improvement and high ethical standards. The CMA exam has a 50% global pass rate with over 70,000 peers when the exam is cleared.
The highlights of the CMA exam are given below:
|Credential||Certified Management Accountant (CMA)|
|Conducting Board||IMA, Institute of Management Accountants|
|Number of parts in the exam||2 parts (CMA I, CMA II)|
|Exam Time Duration||4 hours per exam|
|The period for completing both the exam parts||3 years|
|Recommended study hours per part||150-170 hours of study|
|Salary Advantage||55% on a global scale, 70% if CMAs between the ages of 20-29|
|Available testing windows for the CMA Exam||Jan/Feb or May/June or Sept/Oct, every year|
NOTE: This credential is not supposed to be confused with “Certified Medical Assistant”.
There are various CMA credentials available based on the country where the course and exam are being conducted. They are CMA-US, CMA-India, CIMA-UK. A few highlights about these credentials are as follows:
|Credential issued by||IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), US||ICAI(The Institute of Cost Accountants of India), India||CIMA(Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), UK|
|Course Duration||6 months||3-4 Years||2-4 Years|
|Approximate Cost (Training + Examination)||INR 120k - 150k||INR 100k||INR 200k|
|Academics||2 papers, single-level exams||20 papers, 3 levels of examination||16 papers, 5 levels of examinations|
|Recognition||Globally Recognized||India||The UK and other Soviet Nations|
CMA Eligibility Criteria
There are certain eligibility criteria to be satisfied to take up the CMA exam. Candidates are required to make sure that they satisfy all the criteria before registering. The eligibility criteria for the CMA exam are given below:
- Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university.
- If Bachelor’s Degree is not available, then there is an option to sit for the exam and then acquire the Bachelor’s Degree within 7 years of taking the exam.
Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
- The candidate needs to hold an active membership with the IMA.
- The candidate needs to abide by the IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.
Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI)
- The IMA has an active Mutual Recognition Agreement with the ICAI.
- Members of the ICAI, upon paying the annual membership fees of the IMA and the CMA registration fees, can waive off the CMA Exams.
- CMAs who wish to be a part of the ICAI can do so and they can also waive off the ICAI Exams.
- The candidate is required to clear both parts of the CMA Exam.
- Two continuous years of experience in management accounting and/or financial management.
- This requirement too can be completed within 7 years after clearing the exams.
- Continuous part-time experience of 20+ hours a week.
The CMA Exam is held in 2 parts and each part of the exam is to be taken in a 4 hour time duration. The candidates can wish to apply for the CMA exam at any time within 3 years of paying the entrance fee for the exam.
The exams are normally conducted in:
- January/ February
- May/ June
- September/ October
The candidates can choose from any slot in the months in which the exam is being scheduled. It is required that the candidates book their slots 72 hours before the exam, but it is advisable to check the exam schedule for 4 months in advance.
The CMA syllabus for the 2 parts of the exam mainly concentrates on 12 main topics related to the field. They are as follows:
CMA Part 1 Syllabus: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control
- External Financial Reporting Decisions
- Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
- Performance Management
- Cost Management
- Internal Controls
- Technology and Analytics
CMA Part 2 Syllabus: Strategic Financial Management
- Financial Statement Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- Decision Analysis
- Risk Management
- Investment Decisions
- Professional Ethics
Detailed Syllabus of CMA Exam
How to study for the CMA Exam?
Choose a CMA review course
You've finally made up your mind about pursuing the CMA designation, but now you're wondering how to study for the CMA Exam?
By enrolling in a CMA review course!
Choosing a high-quality review course can dramatically improve your odds of passing the CMA exam on your first try.
These review courses are designed to walk through all the core concepts, but the best review courses also offer CMA exam tips and coaching support to truly help you maximize your study time.
Look for a CMA review course that provides everything from textbooks, video tutorials, and test banks with practice exams, to one-on-one coaching and an effective study plan.
Follow a study plan
To plan ahead is to prepare for success. An in-depth study plan can ensure you cover all essential material and keep you on track.
Choose a study plan that is flexible to your lifestyle. If you are preparing for the CMA exam while doing a job or having family commitments, you need to have a plan that will lead you to success.
Perhaps, this will require evening and weekend study sessions for several more weeks than someone who does not a full-time job or family commitments.
Use the SQ3R Technique
The best study technique is the SQ3R technique. It helps you retain over 80% of what you study by using a simple method.
S-Survey the material you are about to study. Surveying can be as basic as skimming through the headings and sub-headings of the chapter you are about to study.
Q-Question yourself, ask yourself what the key points are or what formulas do you need to memorize. This will help you connect the dots as you make your own way through the material.
R-Read actively read the material and keep your questions at the forefront of your mind. Another technique of active reading is to highlight or make notes as you go along.
R-Recite. After reading a section, close your textbook and try to recite as much information back as you can remember.
R-Review. Go back to your textbook and review your highlighted points and points to drive it all home.
CMA Exam Pattern
The CMA Examination is a Computer-Based Exam (CBT). The exams are offered by The Prometric Testing center which is a network of testing centers throughout the world.
The list of centers running under Prometric can be found on their official website i.e; prometric.com/ICMA
CMA Part 1 Exam Pattern: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance and Control
The exam is for 4 hours during which the candidate should be able to answer 100 Multiple Choice Type questions and two 30-minute essay questions.
CMA Part 2 Exam Pattern: Strategic Financial Management
The exam is for 4 hours during which the candidate is required to answer 100 Objective Type questions and two 30-minute essay questions.
Things to keep in mind before taking up the CMA exam
- Part 1 and Part 2 can be taken in any order.
- Each exam registration is valid for only one exam window.
- Secure facilities with computerized exams and biometric scanners protect the validity of the exam.
- Students can apply before graduating.
- For more details and policies regarding the exam, visit the official website and check out the CMA Handbook.
Tips to plan and use the exam time strategically
- The candidate can use 3 hours to answer all the MCQs and the other 1 hour can be used to plan and answer the 30-minute essay questions.
- The Essays are presented to the candidate after completing all the MCQs or after 3 hours of commencement of the exam, whichever comes first.
- Once the candidate completes the MCQs and enters the essay section, he/she cannot go back to review the answers in the MCQ section.
CMA Registration and Fees
To register for the CMA Exam, the candidate must be a member of the IMA.
Follow the below steps to register for the CMA exam:
- Apply for a membership at the IMA at www.imaonlinestore.com. Pay the annual membership fees as per your category i.e; Professional, Academic or Student.
- After applying for a membership, you can register for the exam on the official webpage and pay the entrance fee.
- Once this is done, you have 3 years to finish taking the two parts of the CMA Exam.
- Register for the examination and pay the examination fees here.
- Once the fees are paid, you will receive a confirmation with the details such as authorization number(s), testing window(s), and a list of instructions to be followed.
- After receiving the confirmation email, one can simply access the Prometric portal and book a slot for the exam based on his/her convenience.
- The Prometric portal link is: www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/icma
Note: The authorization number is valid only during the testing window that you have selected. So make sure that you pay the examination fee based on when and where you will be able to take the examination.
CMA Exam fees
- IMA Membership Fee: 245 USD
- CMA Entrance Fee: 250 USD (Non-Refundable)
- Examination Fee: 415 USD per part
- Rescheduling Fee: 50 USD*
- IMA Membership Fee: 135 USD
- CMA Entrance Fee: 188 USD (Non-Refundable)
- Examination Fee: 311 USD per part
- Rescheduling Fee: 50 USD*
- IMA Membership Fee: 39 USD
- CMA Entrance Fee: 188 USD (Non-Refundable)
- Examination Fee: 311 USD per part
- Rescheduling Fee: 50 USD*
*Note: The CMA exam can be rescheduled only more than 30 days before the exam date and this rescheduling can only be done for the two-month testing window the candidate has applied for.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) offers a scholarship for high achieving students to facilitate them to earn a CMA credential and kick start their career as and when they graduate out of college.
Eligibility for CMA scholarship
- High Achieving students (students can be studying anywhere between Undergrad through Ph.D.)
- Students who attend an accredited college or university.
- 10 students per year per academic year can be nominated for a scholarship.
- All students who are nominated by a professor can land a scholarship.
The application forms for the professor to nominate students for the scholarship can be found on the official website. The students cannot self nominate.
The scholarship for the CMA will contain
- Entrance Fee into the CMA program.
- Exam support package with question papers that appeared in the previous years plus a glossary of terms.
- Registration fees covering both parts of the exam (excluding the fees for retaking the exam).
- Wiley CMAexcel Online Test Bank for both exam parts valid up to two years(all regions except China and India).
- Up to three years of IMA membership while pursuing the certification.
Note: The student is required to activate the scholarship within two weeks of notification from the IMA.
Why take the CMA exam while still studying?
- Students have demonstrated a high ability to succeed in the exam as most of the exam content is covered in the coursework.
- Both exam parts can be taken and Experience requirements can be fulfilled after graduation.
- The amazing ROI of holding both CPA and CMA certifications.
- CMAs between the age of 20-29 can earn 70% more in compensation than non-CMAs globally.
Career Prospects after CMA
Obtaining the CMA certification will open a lot of opportunities in the domestic as well as the global market, such as employment in private firms, small scale companies, MNCs, large publicly listed companies, and academia.
Some job roles that can be expected are:
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Controller
- Finance Risk Manager
- Budget Analyst
- Internal Auditor
- Finance Manager
- Cost Manager
- Chief Financial Officer
- Chief Executive Officer
The CMA the leading and fastest-growing accounting credential globally. Getting a certification now will help to secure a place in a highly respected position at a company or firm.
Career after CMA in India
CMAs in India are of great demand in the government sector, private sector, and the banking & finance sector. Some key areas are:
- Top management positions in big fortune 500 companies and companies that are relatively big in their sectors.
- Professors in major online and offline coaching centers in India.
- Owners of private financing firms.
- Auditors for big companies.
- Management consultants for big companies.
Career after CMA in USA
Individuals who have completed and received the CMA certification have a lot of job opportunities open to them. Some of these include:
- Financial Analysts
- Accounting Managers
- Chief Financial Officers
The distinction between CMA USA Vs CMA INDIA
Here are a few points of distinction between CMA USA Vs CMA INDIA
|Parameters||CMA USA||CMA INDIA|
|Duration||The course duration of CMA USA is one year||The course duration of CMA INDIA is three years|
|Eligibility||Eligibility criteria for CMA USA is class 12 pass or UG||Eligibility criteria for CMA INDIA is 12 pass|
|Pass criteria||The pass criteria for CMA USA are 360/500||The pass criteria for CMA INDIA is 40% for individual papers and 50% aggregate in each group|
|Course format||The course format is in two parts for CMA USA and CMA INDIA; the course comprises of three levels, which are Foundation, Intermediates, and Final Level|
|Recognition||CMA USA is globally recognized||CMA INDIA is an indian certification|
|Area of focus||CMA USA focuses on Cost Management i.e. Cost Reduction||CMA INDIA focuses on Cost Management i.e Cost Controlling|
|Article ship||Article ship is not applicable in CMA USA||Articles ship is applicable six months is CMA India|