I Pass The CMA Exam!

Institute of Management Accountants

The Institute of Management Accountants, abbreviated as the IMA, is a volunteer member association focused on meeting management accounting professionals’ needs. The IMA was founded in 1919 and states that its mission is to “provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance.” So, what does all that mean?

In short, the IMA sets the ethical and professional standards for CMAs and maintains an investigative and discipline system to enforce these ethics requirements. If you want to become a CMA, you must follow their initial entry requirements. You will also need to maintain their standards and educational requirements to keep your CMA over time.

Institute of Management Accountants and Networking

Networking is crucial for people in the accounting field. Many new graduates find the only way to get their first accounting job is through networking. The IMA loves connecting its members and supplying information about potential job leads. So, the IMA has its own social network called LinkUp IMA, which allows discussion on accounting topics, offers study opportunities for members who are prepping for exams, and facilitates the work of regional chapters and councils.

There are also a lot of local and regional subgroups that you can join if you want to narrow further the pool of people you are networking with. These groups bring accounting professionals together to discuss industry news and events, professional concerns, and share knowledge.

Finally, the IMA also hosts several conferences each year to help foster community within its members. All of these different avenues of communication are essential to proper networking within your industry. And all of these networking opportunities become tools you can use as an IMA member.

Knowledge Development and the IMA

The Institute of Management Accountants works to foster knowledge development in the industry. And improving understanding of industry trends, accounting principles, and more is why the IMA provides resources for continuing education. CMAs are required to earn a minimum number of continuing education hours each year.

The IMA publishes several magazines and professional journals on key topics for its members. They also have webinars you can follow to learn more about the latest accounting practice and theory developments.

You will also find that the IMA puts out many resources for researchers and educators. These also help people who are not directly related to the world of accounting to understand the best practices and find their way within them. All of this information is of great value to people who invest in a membership with the IMA.

Also, knowledge development is possible and recommended using established and third-party providers, like Becker CPE.

Institute of Management Accountants for CMA Certification

Of course, the IMA is probably best known for its CMA certification. Because the CMA is one of the biggest and most well-known accounting certifications, many people only come to be familiar with the IMA by learning more about the CMA exam. The IMA targets the CMA exam and certification to people working in industry and corporate roles.

The IMA’s ideal targeted candidate is how the CMA differs from the CPA, which is geared more toward public accountants.

The CMA certification is awarded to a candidate only after they have passed the grueling 2-part exam. Each exam part is 4 hours long, and only about half of those who take it will pass it on the first try.

It’s all worth it in the end because the CMA certification means you get paid more. It also means you have more choices (and prime choices) in jobs within the accounting field. You will always be a tier above someone who does not have their CMA, so it could make the difference in getting a job position or a promotion.

Status of Fulfillment by SMO

The Statement of Membership Obligations, or SMO, forms the basis of the IMA compliance program. The SMO is the framework for credible and high-quality professional organizations, and compliance is essential. What would be the point of the Institute of Management Accountants if no one was enforcing compliance with their standards?

To have compliance, you need to be very clear about what you’re asking of someone. That is where the SMO comes in.

Quality Assurance by the Institute of Management Accountants

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants are responsible for quality assurance (QA) and reviews in the United States. The IMA is an organization that will represent management accountants who do not do any auditing and are thereby not subjected to QA reviews.

The IMA works closely with other agencies to ensure management accountants and audit professionals have a close, healthy relationship within the industry.

International Education Standards

Additionally, the IMA is also responsible for its members’ initial (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD). To get your CMA, you need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, complete practical experience requirements in management accounting or financial management, and you need to pass the CMA exam.

In 2017, IMA released the Management Accounting Competency Framework to define professional competencies in the accounting profession, and this is the standard that is used for international education as well.

International Standards on Auditing

The IMA does not play a role in setting auditing standards because there are already agencies that do this. Instead, the IMA works closely with the auditing standard agencies to maintain their quality standards. Also, the IMA is committed to enhancing its members’ knowledge in the areas of auditing standards, so they have websites and conferences to help.

The IMA also participates in international standard-setting processes by commenting on the auditing boards’ exposure drafts. This is another way everyone works together to ensure the best outcome for all involved.

Institute of Management Accountants: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

The IMA is responsible for setting ethical requirements for its members. It strives to ensure this code is no less stringent than the IESBA Code of Ethics. The goal of these standards is to maintain quality and ethics within the industry. To support its members, the IMA has a Standing Advisory Committee to evaluate IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

The IMA also has an ethics helpline in case you run into any questions or situations that you need guidance with. This can help clarify applying the IMA Code in on-the-job ethical situations. There is never any excuse not to know better because all the resources are available to every IMA member.

International Public Sector Accounting Standards

The IMA reports in its SMO Action Plan that it maintains relations with the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board and provides input on technical matters affecting IMA members. However, it does not directly participate in the implementation of IPSAS. IMA’s focus remains on management accountants.

Investigation and Discipline by the Institute of Management Accountants

IMA has established Board Policy C-400, “Ethics Compliance Procedures.” This policy is responsible for developing an inquiry when needed and enforcing disciplinary action, also when needed.

International Financial Reporting Standards

In the United States, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is responsible for adopting accounting standards. They have been working together with the IASB since 2002 to help achieve convergence of IFRS. The IMA is not responsible for adopting IFRS but is still active in this area. Some areas in which this happens are:

(i) monitoring the convergence project of the FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) standards;

(ii) communicating developments and updates to its members on the standards and developments; and

(iii) providing continuing professional education and webinars on the standards.

About the CMA

If you want to earn your CMA, it will significantly benefit your accounting career. However, it does require you to get and maintain your IMA membership. This is to ensure quality control within the field and that every CMA holder meets the strict standards set forth by the IMA.

To get the CMA, you need to meet the educational requirements, and you also need to pass Part 1 and Part 2 of the CMA exam. You also need to pay your IMA membership fees and meet the experience requirements.

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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