CMA USA Syllabus & Critical comparison with other qualifications

CMA USA Syllabus & Critical comparison with other qualifications

Firstly, in my opinion management accounting is an excellent role, which deals more with business related insights. Compare that to general accounting which just deals with reporting and compliance. Hence it would be important to discuss the CMA USA Syllabus and finally compare it with other management accounting qualifications.

CMA USA Syllabus

Management accounting Industry Needs

So, firstly I think its logical to discuss the needs of the management accounting industry and what are the basic level of knowledge required. The critical and interesting part would be the transition of knowledge and skills across levels of work.

So briefly following are the skills that differentiate the work in management accounting versus financial accounting. So notice that the perspective difference how the same functions yet different objectives. Now I don’t know if you are getting this question or not: Can’t a financial accountant also work as a management accountant? And the answer is yes, why not? Infact a lot of senior chartered accountants (CPA,ICAI) etc would find themselves in management roles doing management accounting.


Brief Look at CMA USA Syllabus

So, the CMA official website displays the following syllabus. And at the first instance what is clear to me is that that CMA USA has basically compressed all the essential ingredients required in the major roles like FP&A.

Also considering the fact that that CMA can be completed within 6-7 months , while qualifications like CIMA can take 2-3 years. CMA does sound like a quick fix or is it?

Well for starters you also need to remember and find out, whether management accounting has ample opportunities for freshers or not?

In my opinion management accounting roles, usually require considerable business experience and knowledge. For instance if you go into any of the job search engines and carefully select the prominent roles in management accounting. Then the situation cleary is not in favor of freshers. i.e Management accounting roles are generally for experienced professionals.


CMA Popularity & Credibility

So, I did a simple linked in search, with three qualifications



The results are pretty interesting, check it out for yourself.

Clearly there seems to be more evidence for popularity of CMA USA. But even more interesting is when you put the filter of location-India. When you put that filter for India, then CIMA UK falls down to 728  people results only.


So clearly, long qualifications for already experienced professionals doesn’t really work. And its understanbily correct, because how many 10 years plus experience professionals would have the patience to dedicate 3 years of their lives for a degree which may or may not teach them anything new.

Pass Rates of CMA USA

Now according to most of the statistics found online, the pass rates seems to hovering between 40%-50%. With exceptional pass rates in Europe but very low pass rates in middle east. In my view this higher pass rates can be due to the participation of experienced professionals


Eligibility Requirements

Overview of Requirements

The CMA handbook states the below eligibility requirements to pursue CMA certification.

To be eligible for CMA certification, you must fulfil all of the following requirements:

  • Active membership in IMA
  • Active CMA entrance fee
  • Satisfy the education qualification
  • Satisfy the experience qualification
  • Complete all required examination parts
  • Comply with the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice

Educational & Professional Requirements

To become a certified CMA, candidates must satisfy one of the following education

requirements and submit verification of education to ICMA within seven years of

completing the CMA examination.

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

  • A partial listing of accredited international and U.S. institutions is available at:


  • Degrees that are not accredited must be evaluated by an independent agency. A listing of

these agencies can be found at www.aice-eval.org or www.naces.org/members.php.

  • If you cannot locate your college or university on the accredited listing, please contact us

at [email protected].

  • Verification: All transcripts should be emailed directly from your college or university to

the email address below.

Professional certifications

  • A listing of approved certifications can be found here.
  • Verification: An official letter from an approved certifying organization confirming you

are a qualified member should be emailed directly from the certifying organization to the

email address below.

CMA candidates must submit all required educational documents translated in English in a PDF

format to [email protected] along with your IMA membership number. In the

event we require the original, you will be contacted by ICMA directly.

Note: Documents are shredded six months after your CMA profile has been