I got an email from fellow reader Sarah last week on whether a CMA certification makes sense after getting her CPA. Here is my answer. Thought some of you would be interested to find out.
My View on CMA After CPA
Hi Sarah, thanks for your note. This is an interesting question, and a very good one. I guess the most value add for a CMA certification for existing CPA is how he/she is equipped in working in management accounting, in particular the costing area. Either the CPA qualification and the external audit job doesn’t cover much on management accounting, and CMA can fill the gap.
Different industries seem to value the CMA certification quite differently as well. For manufacturing companies where costing and inventory analysis is critical, there tend to be more CMAs in the company and therefore, the certification is more valued.
In service oriented companies where costing analysis is less important, CMA is understandably less recognized.
In theory the knowledge we learn through the CMA program is applicable and important to all industry; but the above is my observation in real world situation.
Are There Alternatives ?
AICPA has joined hands with CIMA to create a new designation called the CGMA. Between the inception and end of 2014, AICPA members can “pay” for this designation as long as they fulfill the experience requirements.
If you are an existing CPA, this is almost a no-brainer and because of this you may choose not to pursue the CMA certification.
However, since January 2015, candidates must go through the CGMA exam. This exam is developed by CIMA involving in-depth case studies. The format is very different from anything you see in US professional exams (be it CPA or CMA). In fact, I believe it looks more like a huge task-based simulation. In case you are wondering, CGMA exam review courses are not available at this stage.
Given this uncertainty on the CGMA exam, I would probably stick with the US CMA exam if you determine to get a management accounting certification.
Here is a Summary in Video Format
- Is the CMA title worth it?
- CMA vs CPA (if you haven’t decide which one to pursue)
- Management accounting certifications around the world
If you would like to continue the conversation or if you have any questions on CMA after CPA, drop a note below and I’d love to discuss further.