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Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are globally recognized leaders in the financial service industry. With expertise in corporate finance and management accounting, a few common roles they fill are financial analysts, risk managers, and cost accountants. However, their problem-solving skills often lead to high-level job titles like chief financial officer or chief operating officer.

What Do Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) Do?

The CMA certification outfits candidates with in-depth knowledge about financial planning, cost management, and internal controls, but also prepares them to use that knowledge to support strategic decisions regarding corporate finance, risk management, and investments. This makes CMAs particularly adept at supervising teams and managing projects.

CMA Jobs (Top CMA Career Paths)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030. When you throw a CMA certification into that mix, the number of job opportunities only grows.

The 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey showed that those holding the CMA are more likely to hold specific job titles compared to non-CMAs. With that said, let’s explore some examples of the jobs you may encounter throughout your CMA career…

The Most Common Job Opportunities After CMA Are:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Management Accountant
  • Senior Accountant
  • Cost Accountant
  • Financial Risk Manager
  • Corporate Controller
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

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Early Career CMA Jobs

Let’s say you’ve passed your exam and are officially a certified CMA. Congratulations! You’re ready to begin your CMA career. These initial few roles are solid starting options for those who are freshly certified and ready to utilize their new skills.

Financial Analyst

Average salary: $83,660

All about analysis and forecasting, a financial analyst carefully studies market trends and microeconomic factors to help a company make smart investments with its capital.

This role may also provide advice to executives on issuing corporate bonds, splitting stock, and other areas of concern. The CMA certification prepares future financial analysts to provide financial recommendations based on their compiled data.

Top responsibilities of a Financial Analyst:

  • Analyzing current and past financial data and performance
  • Preparing reports and projections based on this analysis
  • Evaluating current capital expenditures and depreciation
  • Exploring investment opportunities
  • Establishing and evaluating profit plans
  • Identifying trends in financial performance and providing recommendations for improvement
  • Coordinating with other members of the finance team to review financial information and forecasts
  • Providing financial models and forecasting

Financial Risk Manager

Average salary: $102,325

A financial risk manager analyzes data, financial markets, and world events to determine potential threats to an organization’s financial success. Through planning and problem solving, it’s their responsibility to recommend strategies to counteract potential risks.

The second CMA exam covers key areas helpful to this role such as risk management, investment decisions, decision analysis, and more.

Top responsibilities of a Financial Risk Manager:

  • Identify financial, safety, or security risks that the client, company, or organization may face
  • Prepare action plans to decrease risk factors
  • Gather confidential financial information from clients such as income, assets, and debts
  • Manage company insurance policies
  • Perform risk evaluation, which assesses the way the company previously handled risks
  • Make risk-avoiding adjustments to current methods of operation to minimize their future risks
  • Prepare a risk-management budget
  • Provide training and certification for organization staff so that they can be aware of risks and try to avoid them

Mid-Career CMA Jobs

A mid-career professional with experience under their belt is typically qualified for the following roles.

Management Accountant

Average salary: $60,968

Management accountant is a CMA job that specifically focuses on delivering financial information to assist the executive staff of a company in making decisions.

A management accountant must not only be an expert in accounting, but they also must be able to present the data in a practical way that addresses management’s challenges. The main CMA skills applied in the managerial accounting field are risk management, budget planning, strategic planning, and financial data analysis.

Top responsibilities of a Management Accountant:

  • Direct internal financial processes
  • Monitor costs, sales, spending, and budgets
  • Conduct Audits
  • Identify past trends and predict future needs
  • Assist company leaders with financial decisions

Cost Accountant

Average salary: $57,382

Cost accountants analyze a business’ production costs to find ways to minimize financial waste and maximize profit. CMA certification will make you a desirable job candidate because cost accounting is a type of management accounting.

Top responsibilities of a Cost Accountant:

  • Developing cost standards for materials and labor
  • Designing and implementing cost accounting systems
  • Analyzing production costs and recommending changes
  • Overseeing annual physical inventory
  • Hiring, training, and supervising cost and inventory accounting staff

Senior Accountant

Average salary: $69,372

Senior accountants utilize accounting principles and company practices to lead reporting costs, margins, expenditures, and productivity for companies and organizations. Unlike junior accountants, senior roles perform fewer administrative tasks such as updating journal entries, gathering data, and balancing sheet population.

Top responsibilities of a Senior Accountant:

  • Analyzing complex financial reports and records
  • Making recommendations based on analysis and status of reserves, assets, and expenditures
  • Reviewing journal entries of junior accountants to ensure accuracy
  • Training and mentoring junior staff
  • Performing variance analyses and preparing account reconciliations
  • Assisting with financial and tax audits
  • Documenting and monitoring internal controls in support of the auditing team
  • Coordinating more complex accounting projects and initiatives with other members of the accounting and finance team or with other departments

Late-Career CMA Jobs

A CMA career leaves plenty of room for professional development and job growth. If you’re later in your career, here are a few roles that could use your expertise.

Corporate Controller

Average salary: $101,370

A corporate controller is a senior leadership role that typically oversees a company’s financial and accounting functions. The Controller manages staff responsible for all financial reporting and accounting operations, including internal and external financial statements and regulatory reporting requirements. Depending on how many years of experience the candidate has, other duties for Controllers include implementing internal control systems, evaluating the effectiveness of accounting systems, and monitoring business performance metrics.

Top responsibilities of a Corporate Controller:

  • Planning, directing, and coordinating all accounting operational functions
  • Managing the accumulation and consolidation of all financial data necessary for an accurate accounting of consolidated business results
  • Coordinating and preparing internal and external financial statements
  • Coordinating activities of external auditors
  • Providing management with information vital to the decision-making process
  • Managing the budget process
  • Assessing current accounting operations, offering recommendations for improvement, and implementing new processes
  • Evaluating accounting and internal control systems
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of accounting software and supporting database, as needed
  • Developing and monitoring business performance metrics
  • Overseeing regulatory reporting, frequently including tax planning and compliance
  • Hiring, training, and retaining skilled accounting staff

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Average salary: $137,121

CFOs are key members of the senior leadership team in charge of capital requirements for the entire business, overseeing financial reporting, company investments, financial forecasting, and making the final call regarding major business decisions.

It’s often a step just below or to the right of the CEO of a company. To reach high-level management positions in accounting, you must have a CMA or MBA. Controllers often work right below CFOs.

Top responsibilities of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO):

  • Providing leadership, direction, and management of the finance and accounting team
  • Providing strategic recommendations to the CEO/president and members of the executive management team
  • Managing the processes for financial forecasting and budgets and overseeing the preparation of all financial reporting
  • Advising on long-term business and financial planning
  • Establishing and developing relations with senior management and external partners and stakeholders
  • Reviewing all formal finance, HR, and IT-related procedures

CMA Job Opportunities by Industry

CMAs have the skills necessary to work across various settings from government agencies to academic institutions. Among those settings are several industries. The most common, according to the IMA 2021 Global Salary Survey, include:

    • Manufacturing (30% of CMAs)
    • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (9% of CMAs)
    • Education (8% of CMAs)
    • Wholesale and Retail Trade (7% of CMAs)


CMA Job & Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 7% growth rate for the accounting profession between 2020 and 2030. With a growing need for managerial professionals, a CMA certificate is highly desired by prospective employers.

CMA Job & Career (FAQs)

If you’re debating on whether or not a CMA is worth it, or maybe you want to get a feel for what the job landscape will look like post-certification, we’ve laid out some of the most commonly asked CMA questions below.

  • According to the IMA’s 2021 Global Salary Survey, the median total compensation of CMAs in 2021 was $116,000.
  • Many factors determine the starting salary of a CMA like experience, location, a specific job, and more. With that said, the base level salary of low-level CMAs is $73,717.
  • CMAs are in high demand by top companies all around the world. “CMAs are in such demand, companies often compete for them,” said David Bernstein, chief creative officer, The Gate.
  • On average, CMAs earn more than CPAs. According to the IMA’s 2021 Global Salary Survey, the median total compensation of CMAs was $116,000 while the media total for CPAs only was $110,000.
  • According to Zip Recruiter, as of Sep 27, 2021, the average monthly payment for a CMA in the United States is $2,753 a month.
  • Coming in at a USD $165,000 salary, the United Kingdom currently pays the highest salary for a CMA.
  • Common CMA degrees include accounting, finance, economics, and general business.

CMA Jobs & Career Options in Summary

In conclusion, it’s safe to say the CMA job market is booming with potential for major professional growth and a six-figure salary. With more professional freedom, higher earning potential, and global relevance, this is a very promising career move for those looking to take their work to the next level.

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