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CGMA vs. CMA: Why The CMA Makes More Sense ?
  • Auditing

CGMA vs. CMA: Why The CMA Makes More Sense ?

Allen Smith, CPA
Allen Smith, CPA
  • March 31, 2021 12:00 AM EST

Professionals working on management accounting often look out for the best credentials. Given that you have both CGMA and CMA as viable options, you might be in a dilemma about which to go for. In this post, you will get to know the strategic benefits of both these credentials. Of course, you would be keen to stay abreast with the industry's latest trends, offering greater value to your clients. Our blog will help you determine the right credential that you would benefit from. On comparing CGMA vs. CMA, we have explained which credential would suit you the best.

The CMA: A brief history

The Institute of Management Accountants, which came into existence in 1919, offered the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential. In the accounting industry, CMA has been consistently growing into prominence for the last five decades. By completing this certification, professionals can strengthen their knowledge in financial management and command their critical accounting skills, including :

  • Financial planning
  • Decision support
  • Control
  • Analysis
  • Professional Ethics

Being a professional, you would be consistent with your efforts to broaden your industry knowledge and competence. Particularly, the CMA certification helps people shouldering the responsibilities of a manager, analyst, logistics people, and executives.

How is the CMA examination conducted?

Professionals often think about why CMA would be a necessity for them. The CMA examination, which came into existence in 1972, is presently a computer-based timed examination conducted in two parts. Each part contains 100 MCQs, along with two essays lasting for 30 minutes each. While each part lasts for around 4 hours, the credential tests professionals on financial management, internal control, and cost accounting. Within the initial 12 months after you enter the CMA program, you need to register and take a minimum of one examination. You will get three years altogether to clear the entire examination. Once you clear the examination and documentation processes, you need to work for at least two years in management accounting to obtain the CMA certification.

CPE Requirements for CPA?

  • No. of Credits: 30 CPE credits to be earned every year including 2 hours of ethics
  • Carry Forward of the credits: Maximum 10 CPE credits earned in excess of the 30 hours requirement can be carried to the next year. 
  • CPE Reporting: The reporting period begins on January 1 following successful completion of the examination

The CGMA: A brief history

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is relatively new, created in 2012. CIMA and AICPA jointly control this examination. In the past, the members of these bodies were entitled to acquire the designation of a CGMA in exchange for a fee of $150. Besides, they had to spend three years practicing management accounting. Due to the absence of a qualifying examination, it was easy to obtain the designation. Presently, the controlling bodies are coming up with a fresh accounting association for supporting this designation.

About the CGMA Examination

In case you are wondering why CGMA is necessary, the answer lies in the demonstrated professional competence you would gain through this credential. This examination lasts for three hours, where you need to execute three to five tasks related to management accounting. You can download relevant industry information and available data set regarding a hypothetical organization around seven weeks before the test. You will have a fresh set of information during the examination to change the situation, and the examiners would test your adaptability.

CGMA CPE Requirements

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement for CIMA members and AICPA Associate members does not prescribe a minimum number of professional development hours.  Instead, you are encouraged you pursue professional development activities that will help you advance your career and maintain the CGMA standard of excellence. You are required to record and report your professional development efforts. In addition, you are required to reflect on the impact and effectiveness of your professional development activities.

Which credential would be ideal for you?

We would recommend the designation of a CMA over CGMA, considering the higher reputation of CMA. Given that professionals are going for this designation since the 1970s, it has a greater recognition and is recognized by most of employers and management accountants. As the CGMA continues to develop its curriculum, it will likely be an exam to strongly consider in the near future. You can always add the credential if/when it becomes necessary.

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Allen Smith, CPA

Allen Smith, CPA

Learning Consultant

The Authors, Allen Smith is a Practicing Certified public accountant and senior vice president at myCPE – Continuing Education Platform for Professionals. He understands the current needs of the education domain and strategies for the presenters to adapt the new changes.