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Certified Management Accountant, CMA Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Certified Management Accountants

Written by AnonymousSeptember 7, 2011

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to Certified Management Accountant Certification

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential is a professional certification that demonstrates proficiency in and knowledge of financial management. Financial management accountants oversee the areas of:

  • Financial planning for businesses and organizations
  • Financial analysis of financial data to support decision-making
  • Reviewing and monitoring costs incurred by an organization or business
  • Providing financial information to management to aid in more informed decision making
  • Completing the self-paced CMA program:
  • Demonstrates your proficiency in and strong knowledge of financial management
  • Provides increased professional opportunities due to specialized training in the field of financial management
  • Strengthens and expands your skills in financial management accounting

Steps to Certified Management Accountant Certification

To become a CMA, you must first become a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which issues the credential. As of 2011, membership costs $210 for most accounting professionals.

In addition to becoming an IMA member, you must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have solid knowledge of economics, basic statistics, and financial accounting
  • Submit documented proof of two continuous years of relevant work experience in the field of financial management
  • Pass the CMA certification exam
  • Register and pay the CMA program entrance fee which is $200 as of 2011

If you’re a student or academic, you may be eligible for a considerable discount on CMA program registration and exam fees.  Check the IMA website for details.

Details of the Certified Management Accountant Exam

The CMA exam is an electronically graded, multiple-choice test with two parts; you have four hours to complete each part. The test is administered during three different exam periods occurring in the fall, winter, and summer. You’re required to register for at least one part of the exam within the first year of signing up for the CMA program.

The two part exam covers the following areas:

Part One

  • Financial planning
  • Performance and control
  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting
  • Performance measurement
  • Cost managementI
  • Internal controls
  • Professional ethics

Part Two

  • Financial decision making
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Decision analysis and risk management
  • Professional ethics

You’re required to pay the exam fee, in addition to the CMA program entrance fee. As of 2011, the exam costs $350 for each part. If you choose to register for both parts of the exam at the same time, the cost is reduced to $300 per part.

Preparing for the Certified Management Accountant Exam

In order to be adequately prepared for the CMA exam, you have several study options which include:  

  • Attend  instructor-led study sessions offered by various continuing education college campuses
  • Participate in local study groups, which can usually be found at local college campuses
  • Study independently using IMA’s study materials, available for purchase on their website.

Maintaining the Certified Management Accountant Designation

To maintain your CMA designation, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Maintain your IMA membership
  • Pay the required CMA certificate renewal fee
  • Complete 30 hours of continuing professional education credits (CPE),  including a minimum of two hours in ethics, every year

Activities that count toward the CPE requirement include educational programs related to the topics covered in the CMA exams. Qualifying activities include:

Take college level or university courses

  • Attend seminars or workshops offered by industry-related professionals
  • Take instructor-led courses on information technology utilized within the management accounting field
  • Take home study courses
  • Read industry publication technical articles

In addition, the IMA offers many continuing professional education courses that fulfill the CPE requirement, information about which can be found on their website.

Since your CPE credits are verified on a random basis, keep all of your CPE certificates and documents on hand for a minimum of two years.

Governing Board Information

CMA® certification is issued by:

Institute of Management Accountants, Inc.
10 Paragon Drive, Suite 1
Montvale, NK 07645