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Is the CMA better than nothing?

Hi All, I worked in public accounting for almost 4 years and tested for the CPA. However, 2 review courses and 3 "74's" on REG was enough for me to call it quits. I'm currently the senior accountant in a tech company, and I know I will most likely never go back into public, unless it's for a consulting/advisory role later in my career. I've been contemplating the CMA, which leads me to the question, is the CMA better than nothing? I've considered an MBA, but I've heard conflicting opinions on whether the cost is worth it. Looking forward to your input!


Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

The MBA is better if it's from an accredited institution. It is more recognizable by those that do the hiring. Most have little idea of what a CMA is.

You don't write the rules. But you do play the game. Follow their rules and you'll have more control over your own life. Swim against them and.......well we know how that worked out for Don Quixote. :-)

Jim Lipsmire
Title: CFO
Company: Automation Service
(CFO, Automation Service) |

I have earned both a CMA and an MBA. I place a great deal of value in both. I agree that the MBA is more recognizable so I would pursue that first, but if you have the stomach for both, I would encourage you to consider that path. The CMA is especially helpful if you have an interest in working for a manufacturing company and/or a career in FP&A.

Good Luck!

Jason M. Jones LPA
Title: Client Service Coordinator
Company: Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs
(Client Service Coordinator, Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs) |

So if the CMA is only helpful/useful if you work in manufacturing, why is a CGMA so special, when I know a lot of people who have them do not work in manufacturing and never had?

Parlikad Jayaram
Title: Professor in Management
Company: CMA
LinkedIn Profile
(Professor in Management, CMA) |

Don't compare apple with orange. CMA has it's own value and potential for high contribution resulting from the domain expertise. MBA has its own value. What is important is to be clear in understanding your passion and liking!

Gary Cokins
Title: Founder
Company: Analytics-Based Performance Management L..
(Founder, Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC) |

I am biased. I serve as the part time IMA Executive in Residence, now in my third year term. First regarding a CPA versus a CMA, the former is about external financial reporting for regulatory compliance ("valuation"). The latter is about internal managerial accounting for better decision making ("creating financial value").

Regarding an MBA versus a CMA, if one is young an MBA will open your eyes. If you are older, a CMA hones your skills to help line managers, and one can learn the near equivalent of an MBA by interacting with them and their problems and opportunities .... Gary .... Gary Cokins

Jaime Campbell
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Tier One Services, LLC
(Chief Financial Officer, Tier One Services, LLC) |

MBA: Once you earn it, you don't have to maintain it. It's yours forever. And the network that you'll cultivate during your program can last your entire career.

CMA: The knowledge is a lot more valuable than the credential. Despite the IMA's efforts, this credential is just not well-known enough. And you have to maintain it, just like a CPA.

Note: Like Jim, I have multiple credentials. but in my case I did and still do serve in public accounting. I'm a CPA & MBA. They're both door-opening powerhouses but CMA just isn't there yet.

Check out an article for which I and other professionals were interviewed a number of years ago:

It's called "Becoming a Pro: MBA vs. CFO, CPA or CFA?" It obviously doesn't discuss the CMA specifically bubt you'll see the underlying decision-making frameworks and apply it here.

Joseph D'Urso
Title: Controller
Company: Agile Therapeutcs, Inc.
(Controller, Agile Therapeutcs, Inc.) |

I agree that the CMA "knowledge is a lot more valuable than the credential". I felt that the PROCESS of becoming a CMA was extremely helpful and that the CMA problems were very practical and relevant. It definitely provided me with an additional skillset which I found very useful in my work. With that said, I would be the first to admit that the CMA is not that well-known/respected. So, if your main objective is to, say, impress a hiring manager, then it probably wouldn't be much help.

Jon Ferguson
Title: CFO
Company: M. Brsahem, Inc.
(CFO, M. Brsahem, Inc.) |

I have worked in corporate Finance & Accounting my entire career (28 years). I earned my undergraduate degree in Business Finance and considered pursuing an MBA as well as a CPA, but after learning about the CMA early in my career determined this certificate made more sense to someone in management accounting. I earned my CMA certificate in 1994 and have changed jobs three different times and found that the certificate is very recognizable by industry. Not as recognizable as the CPA, but well respected. It has served me well and is a clear indication, similar to the CPA, of an individual's commitment to continuing education with the CPE requirements, which employers are often looking for.

Richard Baikie
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Super King Markets
(Director of Finance, Super King Markets) |

I have worked in private industry for all of my career. I earned my CMA early in my career. It has proven helpful, in a number of areas, not just manufacturing. I am currently working in FP&A in the Retail sector and much of what I have learned is very applicable.


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