For all those accounting professionals to-be that haven’t decided which accounting designation to pursue, making up your mind on a career path can be tough. If you’ve narrowed down your choices to either becoming a Certified Management Accountant or Certified Public Accountant – this article is for you! Our video, on the Accountable vlog, sums up a few major differences in the CMA vs CPA certification debate — but we’ll give you a quick recap below.

1. Most people think the CPA credential is more popular than the CMA credential. It’s not.

Industry professionals have noticed a significant uptick in the number of people going for their CMA certification. As a CMA, you’ll have the opportunity to join the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and be able to network with other management accounting professionals from all over. With more CMA opportunities comes more potential for career growth!

2. The prerequisites to becoming a CPA vs CMA are different.

Becoming a CMA requires either a Bachelor’s Degree or a professional accounting certification AND 2 years of work experience, as well as successful completion of the CMA Exam. 

Obtaining the CPA certification is slightly different than the CMA in that all CPA candidates must complete at least 150 credit hours at an accredited college or university. However, you don’t have to be an accounting major or finance major to be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam (don’t forget about choosing a reputable CPA Review course!); any person can earn the extra credits necessary — in relevant, accountancy related courses — to meet the necessary 150 credit hour experience requirements.

3. The CMA Credential is recognized worldwide.

The biggest difference to note in the CMA vs CPA debate is that the CMA certification is recognized globally. That’s right! Once you obtain your CMA, you can maintain that job title all around the world – where ever your life may lead you. While the CPA license is well-respected all over, the AICPA and individual state boards have their own rules and restrictions for maintaining your CPA Certification over time (for example, continuing education requirements and deadlines vary from state to state)!

Another important thing to note about becoming a CMA or a CPA is that your salary will range depending on the demand for your position in your particular market; not ever CMA or CPA will make the same amount of money in every geographic location, which why it is so important to consult a reputable salary guide and check the salary range for in your area. 

Whether you’re into cost management, managerial accounting, financial decision making, or you’re on the road toward becoming a CFO, or a CEO — there’s no doubt that either pursuing a career as a Certified Public Accountant or a Certified Management Accountant will positively impact your career.

When it comes to the CMA vs CPA debate: it’s a tie! Both are great. do some additional research to make sure these accounting certifications are the best options for you (if not, check out our video to learn more about some other great credentials in the field of accountancy!).

Are you leaning toward becoming a CMA or a CPA?

Let us know which career path you’re planning on taking

in the comments!

1 comment

  • This post did a great job in highlighting the benefits of both but also contrasting in the same light. I prefer both cma and cpa but this post did a great job outlining both.


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