CMA vs CGMA vs CPA: What’s Fifa’s Choice?

CGMA vs CMA vs CPAFifa is our latest blogger from the UK. She shares her CMA journey with us every Wednesday. This is her first post.

Hi, I’m Fifa.

I just embarked on my CMA journey that I finally decided on, after considering CGMA and the CPA designations. These are very different qualifications, so I’ll give some background on why I initially struggled to choose between them.

CMA vs CGMA vs CPA

For me, the choice between CGMA, CMA and CPA ultimately boiled down to two things: location and time commitment. Regarding location, I’ve had to think hard where I would ultimately end up working long-term. Having moved to Florida for a 2-year period from London which is where I’ll most likely return to, I initially doubted whether a U.S. certification would get me far once I returned to the U.K.

The time commitment for me has probably borne more weight in my choice, however. Having made a move into accounting two years ago when I did my master’s in accounting and finance, my accounting background is not as extensive, and a CPA would simply take longer to accomplish also because, in Florida, I wouldn’t be eligible to take the CPA exam with my current credentials alone.

For me, the choice of CMA has come from its time commitment being shorter than that required for CPA, my greater interest in managerial accounting vs. financial accounting, and the fact that although an American certificate. I believe that with it being a managerial accounting qualification it is more “portable” than CPA whose licensure/regulatory effects make it more specific to a market (think US GAAP vs. IFRS). Finally, with the CMA, once completed, I get significant exemptions from another UK, internationally recognised qualification should it become necessary for me to have it.

I am now two weeks into studying with Gleim after with them. I did not try other providers. Instead, I looked at the content and user reviews of Gleim’s system. I particularly liked the abundance of practice questions; I knew I would have to study hard no matter what system I use, and the one that gives me the most practice got my vote.

Note from Stephanie

Fifa, welcome aboard! I’m so glad to have a blogger from the UK. It is an interesting comparison and thought process from you across the continent.

I’ve got quite a few UK readers, and sometimes I wonder why they are interested in an American certification. But what you have pointed out is exactly right — that for management accounting, because there are no given statutory rights, the certification is, in theory at least, applicable anywhere. In reality, the US CMA certification is also gaining traction in countries with vastly different cultures.

Here are the related posts for my readers:

Glad you like Gleim. As you said, we need to work hard no matter that course we decide to use. Great sharing, and I look forward to your next post.

About the Author Fifa Y

Hi, I am Fifa. I did my undergrad and my master's in accounting in London and has spent my working life there. I've just made up my mind for the CMA exam.

  • Yasin Rume says:

    Hi, I am Rume from Bangladesh and doing my PhD here in the UK. I am studying for cma and using Nathan’s cma. The thing is I like Uk and want to make my career here. I am just not sure if cma is going to be any help in the UK market. I chose cma over Cima because I want to pass within a year. Any idea which companies hire cma in the UK? Or probably in Europe.?

    • Hi Yasin,
      Yes, CMA is not as well recognized as CIMA in UK/Europe at this stage, but you can explore the US based companies, especially the bigger ones with manufacturing capacities. Another good way to find out is to join the IMA chapter in your area, and chat with the CMAs and see which companies they work in… who knows, maybe one of them can help you arrange an interview! Qualifications are great help but networking also makes a big difference. Good luck!

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