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CMA Salary: Discover the Numbers for the Certified Management Accountant Salary

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If you’re interested in earning the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, there truly are a whole host of reasons to do so. But one of the biggest reasons to become a CMA is the increased earning power you’ll enjoy.

According to the Institute of Management Accountant’s (IMA) 2018 U.S. Salary Survey, CMAs make 47% more than professionals without the CMA or the CPA in the U.S.

That means the CMA generates an almost 50% income increase for accountants. And at the global level, CMAs receive a median total compensation that is 67% higher than that of non-CMAs.

If the CMA seems even more intriguing to you now, you’ll be happy to see exactly how much you can make as a CMA and if the premium applies in your home country. So, learn more about the CMA salary in this summary of the IMA salary survey.

A Glance at the Global Certified Management Accountant Salary

The global mean and median base CMA certification salary may rise and fall from year to year. However, the figures remain high and attractive to future Certified Management Accountants.

The IMA reports that the global mean base CMA salary of 2018 was $74,344, while the global median base CMA salary was $66,000.

CMA Salary and Compensation by Region

Annual Base Salary ($) Annual Total Compensation ($) This Year as a % of Last Year
Region Mean Median Mean Median Base Salary Total Compensation
All Countries 74,344 66,000 95,368 73,000 96% 99%
Americas 109,119 100,000 135,076 110,750 100% 101%
Asia 32,654 22,000 40,354 28,000 73% 85%
Europe 81,403 73,000 88,511 80,000 104% 105%
Middle East/Africa 34,993 23,500 40,722 27,000 87% 92%

This table demonstrates that both the global base CMA salary and total compensation decreased slightly from last year. But, the decrease is almost insignificant for total compensation.

Furthermore, the IMA suspects that an increase in the number of respondents between the ages of 20-29 years old could account for some of this decrease. Younger professionals typically make less than older professionals.

Additionally, salary decreases seem to have affected Asia and the Middle East/Africa most severely. While the Middle East/Africa faced a salary decline for the second year in a row, Asia experienced the largest decrease of 27%.

Women’s total compensation in that region is only 78% of that of men. For this reason, the IMA says the increase in female respondents might account for Asia’s significant salary decrease.

On the other hand, the Americas and Europe saw more favorable salary trends. Both regions boast the highest CMA salaries. Furthermore, salaries in America held steady from this year to last, while salaries in Europe increased.

Therefore, in much of the world, the CMA salary remains a respectable source of compensation.

The CMA Salary vs. the Non-CMA Salary

Even when the CMA accountant salary decreases, Certified Management Accountants still make significantly more than non-certified accountants.

That’s because the IMA salary survey finds that at the global level, CMAs earn 62% more in median salary and 67% more in median total compensation than non-CMAs.

Median Salary and Total Compensation by Region, CMA vs. Non-CMA

CMA Non-CMA CMAs as % of Non-CMAs
Region Base Salary ($) Total Compensation ($) Base Salary ($) Total Compensation ($) Base Salary ($) Total Compensation ($)
All Countries 81,000 92,000 50,000 55,000 162% 167%
Americas 110,000 125,000 83,800 92,000 131% 136%
Asia 30,000 34,000 20,000 23,000 150% 148%
Europe 85,000 88,620 56,500 57,500 150% 154%
Middle East/Africa 35,000 39,500 17,700 18,500 198% 214%

The CMA accounting salary as a percentage of the non-CMA salary increased from 2017 to 2018. Consequently, the IMA believes this could be because more of the respondents held the CMA in 2018 than in 2017.

Additionally, the increased number of CMAs among respondents could indicate that accountants are seeing how financially advantageous having the CMA can be.

The Salary of CMAs in Management

Not only is the average CMA salary higher than the average non-CMA salary, but the salaries of CMAs in management positions are also higher than those of non-CMAs in management.

The IMA is thrilled to report that CMAs in lower-level positions benefit the most from their certification. The median salary for CMAs in lower-level positions is 119% greater and the median total compensation for these individuals is 88% greater than those of non-CMAs at the same level.

Median Salary and Total Compensation by Management Level, CMA vs. Non-CMA

CMA Non-CMA CMAs as % of Non-CMAs
Management Level Base Salary ($) Total Compensation ($) Base Salary ($) Total Compensation ($) Base Salary Total Compensation
Top management 130,207 150,013 101,291 107,500 129% 140%
Senior management 102,044 120,000 65,000 74,500 157% 161%
Middle management 71,120 80,000 42,680 50,000 167% 160%
Lower management/entry level 58,500 62,000 26,682 33,000 219% 188%
Academic position in college/university 100,000 104,000 65,000 75,500 154% 138%
All 81,000 92,000 50,000 55,000 162% 167%

Additionally, CMAs making more in management positions is a universal occurrence. According to the IMA salary survey, total compensation increased by management level in almost every region.

Specifically, total compensation for those in top management positions in the Americas was $160,000, $87,240 in Europe, $76,000 in Asia, and $35,650 in the Middle East/Africa region.

The CMA Certification Salary vs. the CPA Certification Salary

Typically, CMAs around the globe not only make more money than non-CMAs but also more than CPAs. And, accountants holding both the CMA and the CPA earn the highest median total compensation.

The IMA salary survey’s mixed group of certification-holding respondents demonstrated these facts.

Percentage of IMA Salary Survey Respondents with Certifications

Certification % of Certified Respondents Median Total Compensation vs. Non-Certified Respondents
CMA 42% 47% higher
CPA 8% 40% higher
CMA and CPA 20% 59% higher
None 29% N/A

Increases to the CMA Accountant Salary

Along with high salaries, CMAs have plenty of other reasons to be satisfied in their jobs. These reasons include employee benefits, good working relationships, interesting and challenging work, job security, and more.

But one of the biggest contributors to the job satisfaction of CMAs is opportunities for advancement, which often come with pay increases.

And in the 2018 IMA salary survey, 69% of all respondents testified to receiving a pay raise within the last year. All regions reported a similar result, and the median raise of 6% was up from last year’s 5%.

Moreover, with a median of 10%, Asia and the Middle East/Africa had higher raises than the Americas with 4% and Europe with 6%.

CMA Salaries Compared to Total Workweek Hours

Cleary, CMAs all over the world make a very respectable living. But do they work an extreme number of hours a week as a result?

The IMA salary survey says no, CMAs don’t have to work incessantly for their pay. Instead, the average number of hours per week survey respondents worked was 45.1. And in fact, this figure is slightly less than last year’s average of 45.5.

However, the U.S. put up the highest number of workweek hours at 46.3, an increase from last year’s 45. With an average of 45.5, India and Jordan reported the second longest workweeks.

Mean Hours Worked by Country/Region

Mean Hours Worked Last Year
All Countries 45.1 45.5
Globally (excluding U.S.) 44.0 46.0
Americas 46.2 45.0
United States 46.3 45.0
Canada 43.4 46.3
Asia 43.4 46.0
China 43.0 46.0
India 45.4 46.5
Europe 45.0 45.8
Netherlands 43.9 47.3
Middle East / Africa 44.5 45.8
Egypt 44.1 45.0
Jordan 45.5 45.2
Lebanon 44.5 47.2
Qatar 41.6 45.1
Saudi Arabia 43.6 45.7
United Arab Emirates 45.0 46.2

Cost/Benefit Analysis of CMA Certification

Even though CMAs enjoy so much earning potential, does the price of the CMA certification outweigh this lifelong benefit?

Definitely not. Obtaining the CMA certification costs around $,2000. Additionally, maintaining the certification costs a few hundred dollars a year.

But in return, you can expect to make almost 50% more on an annual basis. Therefore, the benefits far exceed the costs of becoming a Certified Management Accountant.

Conclusions from the CMA Salary Survey

No matter where you live in the world and what age you are, you can experience the advantages of acquiring the CMA certification. However, the earlier you earn the certification, the better, for the following reasons:

  • The impact is cumulative
  • The certification strengthens your position in salary negotiation
  • The certification increases your ability to move across and up in the business

If you’d like to learn more about the CMA salary in India or the Middle East, you’ll find that information in those specific articles.

Help Earning the CMA Certification

The CMA salary is a very good reason to earn the CMA. Another notable benefit is the vast quantity of CMA careers you’ll qualify for.

If this information has convinced you the CMA certification is what you want, you can take the next step by learning how to become a CMA. You can also learn how to pass the CMA exam on your first attempt from my free e-course. Learn more about this course or sign up below.

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About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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