Certified Management Accountant

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IMA’s CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification is a professional credential that can be earned in the advanced management accounting and financial management fields. The certification signifies that the person possesses knowledge in the areas of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics, the skills most in demand on finance teams around the world. The CMA is a U.S.-based, globally recognized certification offered by The Institute of Management Accountants.

CMA-certified professionals work inside organizations of all sizes, industries, and types, including manufacturing and services, public and private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, government entities, and multinational corporations. To date, more than 50,000 CMAs have been certified in more than 100 countries. To obtain certification, candidates must pass a rigorous exam, meet an educational requirement, experience requirement, and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning through Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

The Certified Management Accountant Exam[edit]

The Certified Management Accountant Exam is two part exam that must be passed as a prerequisite to earning the CMA designation. Prior to 2010, the CMA exam was organized into four parts: Business Analysis, Management Accounting and Reporting, Strategic Management. Since 2010, the exam has been condensed into two four-hour parts covering the largely the same material as the former four part exam with added emphasis on financial planning, analysis, control, and decision support. The CMA exams are given during three testing window periods: January/February, May/June and September/October at Prometric centers. Each exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. Candidates are given 3 hours to complete the multiple choice section and one hour to complete the essays. Candidates must show their work for the essay questions in order to receive credit. Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam are scored on a scale of 0-500 with a candidate's raw score converted to a uniform scaled score against all exam candidates. On this scale, a score of 360 represents the minimum passing scaled score. Candidates are given three years from registering to pass both parts of the exam.[1][2]

Exam Content[edit]

Part 1 – Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control

  • External financial reporting decisions (15%)
  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting (30%)
  • Performance management (20%)
  • Cost management (20%)
  • Internal controls (15%)

Part 2 – Financial Decision Making

  • Financial statement analysis (25%)
  • Corporate finance (20%)
  • Decision analysis (20%)
  • Risk management (10%)
  • Investment decisions (15%)
  • Professional ethics (10%)

Pass Rates[edit]

The CMA exam is considered very rigorous and pass rates for the CMA exam have historically been low for both parts. Worldwide, the exam had a pass rate of 35% for Part 1 and 49% for Part 2 in 2014. Pass rates for the two part exam are as follows:[3][4][5][6][7]

CMA Exam Part 1 Pass Rates
Region 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015
Worldwide 40% 35% 35% 35% 35%
Asia Pacific 44% 42% 41% 41% N/A
Europe 55% 51% 50% 53% N/A
Middle East & Africa 20% 20% 21% 21% N/A
Americas 54% 53% 51% 53% N/A
CMA Exam Part 2 Pass Rates
Region 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015
Worldwide 40% 43% 42% 49% 52%
Asia Pacific 47% 51% 45% 55% N/A
Europe 53% 50% 52% 63% N/A
Middle East & Africa 25% 28% 29% 37% N/A
Americas 47% 53% 54% 57% N/A
  • The IMA discontinued region breakouts of exam pass rates starting with the 2015 results

Additional Certification Requirements[edit]

In addition to successfully passing the exams, to become certified, CMA candidates must fulfill education and experience requirements in order to be certified:[8]

1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university

2. Two continuous years of professional experience employing the principles of management accounting and financial management including:

  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Financial planning & analysis
  • Monthly, quarterly, and year end close
  • Auditing (external or internal)
  • Budget preparation & reporting
  • Manage general ledger and balance sheets
  • Forecasting
  • Company investment decision making
  • Costing analysis
  • Risk evaluation

3. For certified CMAs, 30 hours of CPE credits, including two hours of ethics, and annual IMA Membership are required to maintain active status.

See also[edit]