What does it take to be a CMA?

Want to become a CMA? Follow these steps to earn your credential

So, you’ve carved out a good career in accounting. You’re respected for your reliability and expertise with numbers. Some might say you’re doing well, but you want more. You want a seat at the table where decisions are made.

It’s time to get your Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential. The CMA is the stepping-stone to high-level roles in financial management. This credential can provide a more satisfying, financially rewarding career.

Still, getting to that point requires careful planning. You need the right credentials behind you and a strategy for taking the CMA Exam.

What does a CMA do?

Ask a random sample of people what “CMA” means, and most would probably say “Country Music Awards?”

Don’t fret. In the accounting and HR worlds, the CMA is recognized as the credential signifying your expertise in financial management. You possess knowledge in financial planning, analysis, decision support and professional ethics. The marketplace rewards your skills with a median salary 31 percent more than your non-CMA counterparts. In the U.S., CMAs earn median base salaries of $94,000, with overall median total compensation of $102,000.

The CMA opens doors to jobs in financial analysis and financial planning, such as budgeting and forecasting, internal control and reporting. You are a professional sought after for your insights into the strategic moves that promote growth and profitability.

With a CMA, a full array of executive and senior-level titles is within reach:

    • Chief Financial Officer
    • Corporate Controller
    • Financial Controller
    • Senior Financial Analyst
    • Accounting Manager
    • Financial Analyst
    • Senior Accountant

What experience do CMAs need?

As an accounting professional, you already have some of the requirements needed to secure this coveted credential. If you’re thinking about becoming a CMA, here’s what you will need. You must:

    • Join the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
    • Enroll in the CMA program
    • Pass the CMA Exam
    • Have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university
    • Have at least two years of management accounting or financial management experience

Skills needed to become a CMA

You graduated from college. You’re working in the accounting or financial management world. You likely already possess many of the skills needed to become a CMA. The real-world duties of a CMA demonstrate a wide range of important responsibilities:

    • External financial reporting
    • Planning and budgeting
    • Performance management
    • Cost management
    • Internal controls
    • Profitability analysis
    • Risk management
    • Investment decision

With these crucial tasks in the picture, future CMAs need a strong foundation of skills:

    • Knowledge of basic accounting, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and basic tax principles
    • Clear theoretical conception and practical applicability of cost accounting
    • Good grasp on finance tools, such as discounted cash flow
    • A good grounding in economics
    • Knowledge in human capital management and financial capital management
    • Well-versed in areas such as capital investment, operational structuring and foundational risk assessments
    • Soft skills such as communication and presentation, writing, persuasion and interpersonal skills

How to become a CMA

The CMA is your passport to opportunity, and the best part is, CMAs are in high demand but low supply. In the career marketplace, this means you can write your own ticket to the most desirable jobs, with high responsibilities and excellent pay.

Becoming a CMA takes dedication and rigor, but the path is straightforward. Check off the steps on this list, and you’re on the way to a more profitable career.

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree. You need a degree from an accredited college or university. Since most CMA candidates have already been working in the accounting or finance world, you likely already have checked this box.

Surgent helps you attain your career goals

Ever have that nightmare where you walk into a test, but you haven’t studied or don’t feel prepared for it?

Relax. Those nightmares become a thing of the past because you have a best-in-class option available in CMA Exam review course.

The secret to choosing the right CMA Exam review course is finding one that fits your personal learning, like a key into a lock. Surgent CMA Review puts learning personalized to your needs and learning style right at your fingertips.

Surgent CMA Review offers industry-leading features that prepare you for CMA certification on your terms. Here’s what makes Surgent the smart choice:

    • Adaptive technology: Surgent CMA Review doesn’t demand that you waste time studying the parts of financial management that you already know. Surgent’s A.S.A.P.® Technology uses quizzes and a sophisticated algorithm to determine the extent of your knowledge before you begin studying.

Your future awaits

You know in your heart that it’s time to take this step. You’re ready for more responsibility and the higher pay that goes with it. A CMA credential is your ticket. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is the choice of review courses to help you accomplish your goal.

Surgent CMA Review is not a one-size-fits-all product. With Surgent CMA Review, technology adapts the study plan to your unique learning style, so you reach your goals faster. Earning your CMA certification will elevate your career to the next level.

Start your free trial today with Surgent’s CMA Review course and look ahead to a brighter future.