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Differences Between a CPA Certification and a CMA Certification

CPA Certification vs CMA Certification

The field of accounting might be a complicated and terrifying world because of its overwhelming numbers. Still, many people are pursuing careers in this field. However, when one is to take the route of the accounting field, many are unsure on what to take,  CPA or CMA? In this article, let us find out which of the two is better and which of the two piques your interest.

First of all, especially for starters, what is the meaning of “CPA” and “CMA”? “CPA” stands for “Certified Public Accountant” while “CMA” stands for “Certified Management Accountant.” To know which certification piques your interest, let us understand what  a CPA and a CMA do. If you want to become a CPA, most often the work deals with performing and signing audits, getting involved with tax returns, and being your company’s representative when undergoing IRS audits. On the other hand, if you want to become a CMA, most of your work will involve management reporting, cost accounting, and even financial planning and analysis.

In order to take the CPA exam, you have to meet certain requirements. In most states, before you are able to take the CPA exam, you have to undergo 150 hours of post-undergraduate coursework. In some states, they require you to gain experience in public accounting. In taking the CMA exam, there is no need to require such experience. With that being said, the CMA seems to be a lot easier to take. However, when taking the CMA exam, you have to gain a bachelor’s degree prior in one of the following areas: management accounting or financial management.

Though the CMA does not require you to have public accounting experience, you may want to reconsider taking it. Why? When you become a CMA, most likely your salary will be a little less than a CPA’s. The average salary for a CMA is $105,667 while CPAs can earn as much as $110,095. CMAs might earn $5,000 more or less than CPAs, but it is still better to have an accounting certification. If you are not certified, your average salary will only be $86,225. This is according to an IMA salary survey conducted in the year 2008.

Does it count when you are certified? The answer to this question would be yes. Even though you are so proficient in accounting, if you aren’t certified, your employers will still most likely hire certified accountants. Gaining an accounting certification, be it a CPA or CMA license, will help you obtain the trust of your employers. It only means that you have passed the minimum requirement for being their employee. If you apply to a particular accounting job, and your competitor for the position is not a CPA or CMA license holder, there are high chances that you will be selected for the job.

To be a truly certified accountant, you need to have your continuing education. Pursuing continuing education will make you a more competent accountant. With continuing education, you are updated with the latest trends and changes in the field of accounting. It will help you improve your skills and knowledge in the field of accounting.

Summary:

  1. “CPA” stands for “Certified Public Accountant” while “CMA” stands for “Certified Management Accountant.”
  2. A CPA’s work often deals with performing and signing audits and tax returns. On the other hand, if you want to become a CMA, most of your work will involve management reporting, cost accounting, and even financial planning and analysis.
  3. The average salary for a CMA is $105,667 while CPAs can earn as much as $110,095.

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1 Comment

  1. This is so informative! I learned much from this post. Thanks for sharing informations on CPA and CMA certifications. Awesome!

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