CMA as Opposed to CPA

Although most people have heard of the CPA or Certified Public Accountant, it is perhaps only accountants that have heard of the CMA, Certified Management accountant. Both certificates are awarded when the relevant exams have been passed but they are hard to pass, with a success rate of only 50% and so any accountant wishing to try and get certified will have to be prepared to study hard if they are to succeed.

Unlike a CPA course, a cma course does not require that you are already a graduate in accountancy although most people that take the exam are. Instead though, someone wishing to take the test must show that they have at least 2 years’ experience, under supervision, in a suitable finance managerial environment. Possessing a CMA will allow someone to reach the top of their profession in the area of finance in large corporations however, as well as having the relevant experience to qualify in taking the exam the person must also be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants.

Although with a CPA it is advisable to maintain tuition even after passing the exam, with the CMA it is mandatory to complete at least 30 hours supervised training after passing the exam or suffer having the award taken off them. It is perhaps this stipulation which makes the CMA less popular than the CPA although it can be equally as rewarding financially.

Neither of these exams is easy to pass and involve a lot of work plus even though there are various courses for both exams, none of them are cheap. As these two certifications are necessary though in order to reach the top of an accountancy career, many accountants do at least try and pass one of them at least once. Many accountants, having failed once will take the exam again, after they have once again studied of course and some even take the exams several times before passing, if they pass at all.

Basically the CPA allows an accountant to work with other people, perhaps doing their audits or similar types of work and so will often visit different companies in order to do those companies audits but a CMA is more stationary as they work in the financial sectors of the large corporations, hopefully eventually rising to one of the top positions in the4 company. It is therefore personal preference as to what type of work an accountant wants to do and where they would like to work which will decide them which is the best exam for them but as mentioned earlier, both can be very financially rewarding.

It is usual that the best things do not come without a price and in these instances, as well as the hard work involved passing the exams, there is also a relatively high cost for the courses which have to be taken. However, as there are various courses available for both exams, an accountant should shop around for which one best suit their time and their wallet.

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