Accounting always doesn’t mean a chartered accountant, if you would like to explore there is another opportunity which is equally lucrative and will help you make your mark in your accounting career. There are few pre-requisites before you choose another alternative. No, these are not the requirements for applying for that particular course, rather basic, general, and foundational requirements without which you really won’t be able to succeed in this field.
The first requirement is being passionate about accounting. If you love accounting and don’t find it boring like others, this is for you. Second thing you need to consider is that you already are in accounting/finance profession or want to be in, in near future; otherwise this course has little or no value for you. The last, but not the least requirement is you need to be through with the global accounting standards. If these three ring true for you, you fit the bill perfectly.
In this career guide, you would get to know how you can become a CMA; where you should start your preparation; how to get placed after completion of your course; world-class companies which offer jobs for CMAs; specific skill sets required for excelling in the field of CMA; the honorarium offered for the job you do after having the degree of CMA; lastly any higher educational opportunities (if any) are there or not.
How do we define CMA?
Let’s start with what CMA is all about! CMA stands for Certification in Management Accounting and it is being given by Institute of Management Accountant, USA. It is a prestigious course done by people who have deep interest in Accounting and who strive to make their accounting career by achieving international accreditation. If you are a serious student, you would gain a lot from this course. But, it’s a reminder that this is not for the faint hearted. Because if you aren’t committed, chances are that you will not be able to make through the course.
Before plunging into anything you need to know the curriculum of the CMA course.
CMA exam is organized in such a way that it truly tests the merits of the students in accounting and financial fields. The exam is divided into two parts. The first part is called Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance & Control and the second part is called Financial Decision Making.
The examination can be taken in any order. The duration of each exam is of four hours and it includes 100 multiple choice questions and 2 essay questions. Let’s look the details of the two prime heads of CMA Exam.
First phase – Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance & Control
- External Financial Reporting Decisions
- Planning, budgeting & forecasting
- Performance Management
- Cost Management
- Internal Controls
Second Phase – Financial Decision Making
- Financial Statement Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- Decision Analysis
- Risk Management
- Investment Decisions
- Professional Ethics
Where to Start?
You may be wondering what should be your starting point to get a certification in Management Accounting. This section will help you with directions.
The first steps are most crucial because they will show you how you can begin your journey. Start with identifying reasons why you would like to pursue CMA in the first place? What are the possible benefits you feel to have in your career after you get a certification? Jot them down. And then go ask an experienced person about the reality. Do some due diligence. Then compare with your list of benefits. If they seem to match, it would be a positive step toward getting the certification.
The next thing you need to do is to find out the benefits of other accounting courses, professional courses like chartered accountancy, cost accounting. And then compare the benefits of having a CMA. Does CMA have an edge over others? Will CMA seem to help you tend toward your goals?
The third and another critical thing to consider is your ability to do so. When you are looking at your ability it is of prime importance to see that whether you really want to do it or not! If you are pressurized by your family members or near & dear ones, then it is better that you pursue other things which matches your passion. Ability is often synonymous to willingness. If you are willing, if you really have that burning desire within you, then there is no-one who can stop you from having your degree. Ability also includes being able to pay exam fees of US $2,000 and one time membership fee of IMA, i.e. US $395.
How to get recruited after having the degree?
CMA is not a separate course. If you are already attached with accounting profession, this is the course for you. If you are yet to start your professional career in accounting and after having Bachelor degree you are giving it a try, then you would get a very good job in a top-notch corporate, specifically a financial giant company to start with. But it is always better to start off your career with a middle level company which has enough experience to teach you and enough bandwidth to grow further in the market.
The best part of CMA is you just need to have a Bachelor degree in any field from a recognized university from anywhere in the world. So, if you are considering for further education after your Bachelor degree, CMA might be a viable option. But be ready for it. You need to put in a lot of hard work in order to make your mark in this field.
Specific skill sets required for excelling in the field of CMA
- There are few specific skills which are required for doing extra-ordinarily well in this field.
- A meticulous approach to understand and examine financial reports
- An ability to make tough decisions
- An eye for detail
- Mind-set for analysis and a strong bend for mathematics and logical reasoning
- Ability to put in extra hours even after doing a job
- A basic foundation in accounting and know-how in Global Accounting Standards
CMA is one of the most prestigious courses in the world. For having this degree you not only need to clear the two part exam, you also need to have two years financial experience after clearing the exam. Thus, if you are wondering about the honorarium, it is quite good because it is also one of the toughest exams in the world. If you can get through, your salary would triple or quadruple within a year or two.
If you are pursuing this after graduation, you would get much better salary than an ordinary Accounting Graduate.
Higher educational opportunities
There is no end to learning. You can always learn more, learn better. But if you have completed CMA, then sky is the limit. You can go in depth of every subject that you study and if you would like to continue your studies further you may consider a CFA (US) or a reputed MBA (Finance) from a top-notch university in the world.