skills gap

Passing the CPA exam is a wonderful accomplishment and will take you far in the world of public accounting. But interests change and new opportunities arise all the time. Here’s when and why you should consider adding CMA certification …

As always, the decision of whether or not you should pursue advanced accounting certifications or credentials should be made with a clear understanding of where your career is now and where you want to go.

If you are perfectly happy in the public accounting field and are content to focus your work on auditing and financial reporting, your CPA license (and its ongoing education requirements) should suffice.

However, while the CPA exam is comprehensive in its volume of content, it doesn’t prepare you for tackling management accounting tasks such as financial analysis, cost accounting, risk management, and budgeting and forecasting.

When to Consider A CMA

You may wish to consider CMA certification for several reasons. For example, you’re transitioning from public accounting to a corporate position or perhaps

A CMA is best suited for you if you’re seriously interested in having a credential like the CPA exam, but you don’t really need audit and tax. There are many notable industries–manufacturing and logistics for example–where this designation is highly sought after. (Learn more about about who the CMA certification is right for here.)

According to the IMA, earning this specialized certification will help you to master such management skills as:

  • Financial planning
  • Analysis
  • Control
  • Decision Support
  • Professional Ethics

In general, CPAs prepare auditing and financial reporting documentation, while CMAs are chiefly responsible for preparing data for internal company use.  These documents include cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements. As a CMA in a large company or firm, you’ll also likely supervise junior-level accountants who handle many of these basic accounting tasks.

A CMA can also serve as a lower-cost alternative to earning your MBA, as you’ll learn much of the “business math” (though none of the managerial strategies) taught in business school.

Advantages Of Earning Your CMA Now

If you are fresh off your CPA, the CMA Exam will be easier to prepare for, given your familiarity with the CPA Exam’s BEC and FAR sections.

Also, the CPE requirements for the certifications should overlap in many areas, reducing your costs to maintain both certifications.

Be sure to check out our resource page on what a career in Management Accounting might look like for you.