Over the years I have met a ton of people who are interested in a career in finance and accounting. The problem is, so many of these individuals aren’t aware of all the career options available i.e. Certified Management Accountant.
You see, many people believe that the career opportunities are limited to basic number crunching.
This could not be further from the truth.
Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) has been a personal game changer for me. I love introducing new people to this career advancing certification.
Perhaps what is most interesting is how many individuals don’t even know what a certified management accountant is.
Let me introduce you to this designation and break down how you can become a CMA and skyrocket your career.
What is a Certified Management Accountant?
A Certified Management Accountant, or CMA for short, is a unique professional credential. CMAs are masters of critical accounting and financial management skills, not just number crunchers.
Unlike Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, CMAs don’t just know the ‘what’ behind the numbers. CMAs understand the ‘why’ when it comes to accounting and finance.
CMAs exhibit mastery in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics.
CMA candidates learn the skills that allow them to become successful strategic business partners and effective financial managers.
What Makes CMAs Unique
If you are new to the certified management accountant certification then you probably don’t know what makes us unique. CMAs have several key skills and roles that make them stand apart from other designations.
For starters, CMAs are focused and understand the critical skills needed to have a successful business.
We are respected for our key management and executive roles. More and more employers are seeking out CMAs to join their team. Our practical skills help us give businesses greater credibility and higher earning potential.
CMAs are highly valued and reap the benefits of this financially. On average, CMAs earn 47% more than their non credentialed counterparts, but more on that later.
How to Become a CMA
Have I peaked your interest yet?
If so, let’s talk a little more about the certified management accountant requirements:
- Become a member of the Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA
- Earn your bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university*
- Have two (2) continuous years of full time professional experience in management accounting or financial management**
- Join the CMA program by paying a non-refundable entrance fee for the exam
- Study for the certified management accountant exam by taking a review course
- Pass Part One and Part Two of the CMA exam
*Note: If you feel like you have an equivalent degree you can have it evaluated by an independent agency
**Note: You can also earn your work experience requirement by working 4 consecutive years as a part time employee. You must work a minimum of 20 hours per week for it to count.
Passing the CMA Exam
If you’ve already considered a career in accounting and finance then you are likely well on your way to earning a bachelor’s degree.
Once you’ve checked that box, it’s time to start preparing for the CMA exam.
CMA Exam Structure
The CMA exam is made up of two parts. Part One covers financial planning, performance and control. This covers everything from performance and cost management to internal controls and professional ethics.
Part Two is all about financial decision making. Financial statement analysis, corporate finance, investment decisions and decision analysis and risk management are all topics covered in this part.
Each part of the exam is 4 hours long. The first three hours is dedicated to answering 100 multiple choice questions, and the final hour is for two essay questions.
Choosing a CMA Review Course
Here’s the deal; passing the CMA exam is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, the global pass rate is only 50%.
While this may feel discouraging for some, if you follow a proven study method you are one step closer to success.
There are several certified management accountant courses you can take to help you prepare.
CMA Exam Academy is my flagship program that utilizes adaptive learning technology and one-on-one coaching to help you prepare.
With my proven coaching techniques, supplemental resources and weekly accountability through live call and email I can help you succeed.
Learn more about CMA Exam Academy here.
Once you have studied and feel confident that you are prepared to take the CMA exam, it’s time to register.
There are three exam testing windows that you can register for each year:
Registration is easy. You can do this online or by calling 800-638-4427 or (201) 573-9000.
The exam is taken at a Prometric Testing Center. There are hundreds of testing centers located all over the world. Find the closest one to you by visiting www.prometric.com/ICMA.
What is the Difference Between a CPA and CMA?
One of the most common questions I get asked is what is the difference between a CMA and CPA.
The short answer is that CMA’s are experts in financial accounting and strategic management.
But there is so much more it than that.
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) practice general accounting. Some of their most common tasks include performing audits and preparing taxes.
CMA’s, on the other hand, focus more on business analysis and strategy. Some of the many job titles held by CMAs include:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Chief Financial Officer
- Finance Manager
- Budget Analyst
- And more…
The possibilities truly are endless.
There are several other differences between CMAs and CPAs. For example, CPAs have to take a 4 part exam and work 1-2 years under a licenced CPA.
Both designations require you to earn Continuing Professional Education programs (CPE). CMAs must earn 30 hours per year, while CPAs must cock 40 hours per year depending on the state.
Another major difference is that CPAs are more commonly recognized around the globe. Fortunately the growth of the CMA has made it much more recognized over the past few years.
There are over 60,000 certified CMAs worldwide to date and that number continues to grow.
What is the Average Certified Management Accountant Salary?
Let’s be honest, money talks when you are considering a career. The great news is, CMAs earn more on average than their peers.
In the United States alone, CMAs earn 47% more than accountants who do not hold a designation.
One study showed that it would take a non-certified employee 10 additional years to make the same lifetime earnings as a licenced certified management accountant. (See full study details here).
Based on the IMA Global Salary survey results for 2017, CMAs in America earn a median salary of $125,000. Their non-CMA peers only earn a median salary of $92,000. While both are obviously fantastic salaries, it is obvious that CMAs are highly valued and compensated as such.
The numbers speak for themselves and there is no better time than now to become a CMA. CMA’s are in high demand and low supply and with my help you absolutely have what it takes to succeed.
Don’t settle for an unfulfilling career.
Dream big and become a licensed Certified Management Account.
You won’t regret it!