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CMA or CGMA after MBA for a Finance Manager role

Hi everyone,
I am new to this forum and I am seeking advise regarding what would be more advisable (if that even the right word) to do in order to move into a Finance Manager (and possibly CFO later on) role.
I hold an MBA and have worked with project finances (reporting, controlling, project accounting,...) for 8 years now. I want to move to a more general financial role and be less project focused. My MBA has come in handy but I am not fully utilizing it. Many of the roles I want to apply to (like Finance Manager) ask for an accounting certification, mostly CPA but often name a few such as CFA, CMA or CIMA, even though they are not as interchangeable as led to believe by these job posts.
Anyway I believe I have narrowed it down to CMA or CGMA (where I would qualify for the Master's Gateway route and take an exam to cover the operational and management level and only do the regular Strategic level). I have excluded the CPA route, because the time and specific experience required will "delay" my progress a few more years (call it early mid-life crisis). CFA seems to be more specific to Corporate Banking (?), which has not been in my path.
On top of this I have already worked in 2 countries (Portugal and Norway) and would like to move to another one soon (could be UK, US, Canada or UAE). I mention this because of the geographic relevance of each qualification.
What I am wondering is if CMA/CGMA will actually help me get to my goal and which of these would you recommend for me.

Apologies for the long post but I believe a bit of context always helps.
Many thanks in advance for your honest opinions.

Cheers,
Elsa

Answers

Deborah Hayden
Title: TTI Holdings Inc
Company: TTI Holdings Inc
(TTI Holdings Inc, TTI Holdings Inc) |

I am also interested in feedback on this topic. I have seen several grumbling posts about the CGMA, as the AICPA made it easy to get for a fee, before the exam requirement went into effect. I think there is value in a professional diversifying with the AICPA and the IMA. The simple straight forward ethics policy of the IMA is a welcome change from the legalese the AICPA favors. I have heard from someone who holds CPA and CMA designations, that the CMA was much more difficult. That says something!

Anonymous
(Vice President of Finance ) |

As a CPA, with MBA, CMA and CFM, I can tell you that generally there's no substitute credential for CPA. Unfortunately in the U.S., CMA is not valued by employers as much as it should. In Canada, the CA, CMA & CGA are now combined into Canadian CPA and if you earn a CMA elsewhere, legally you cannot use it in Canada. CGMA is more valued in UK but you won't get a job that requires a UK Chartered Accountant designation. In summary, a local CA or CPA designation are the most effective certifications you can have for your goal.

Good luck

Scott Berry
Title: VP Finance
Company: Calculated Industries
(VP Finance, Calculated Industries) |

Hi Elsa:

I am familiar with CMA certification, but not CGMA certification. Regarding CMA certification, preparing for the CMA exam is a rigorous process that focuses on the skill set to help you excel with both finance and accounting roles in industry, and help prepare you for a CFO position.

CMA certification generally does not have the same weight as CPA certification does when applying for roles in industry, however it actually should have more weight, since the CMA exam is focused on the skill set people need to excel in industry accounting and finance roles. The CPA exam is more focused on skills to excel in public accounting roles. However I have noticed that CMA certification is becoming a more requested certification in industry accounting and finance job searches.

Good luck with your career, and let me know if you have any additional questions.

Scott Berry
scottberry8atyahoo [dot] com

Paul Casey
Title: Finance Manager
Company: Allscripts
(Finance Manager, Allscripts) |

Elsa,

I suggest you focus on what the Finance Manager job you want is supposed to accomplish as its business purpose and then work your way into the specific skills and knowledge that one needs to accomplish the job. I have worked directly under our CFO for many years doing both accounting and finance and have managed many people who are CPAs and CFAs and other similar credentials.

The key for me as a hiring manager is whether the candidate has a specific skill in accounting or finance. When I managed forecasting the profit and loss statement I look for someone who knows how to compile an Income Statement forecast in $1 Billion Software and Services business or who has the specific skills to help me do that efficiently. When I managed Revenue Accounting I looked for someone who knows how to account for revenue not forecast it.

Forecasting a large corporation's income statement has very specific knowledge and skills and you can develop those by working in positions that get you involved in that work. The credentials help separate the candidate pool into those more likely to have the skills but they are not absolute requirements. I support people getting credentials but you can also take the route of working in positions that just do the work required so you have direct experience forecasting the income statement. You can start at an analyst role and work your way up to Finance Manager or even CFO. You can take this approach to many aspects of finance and accounting work. I have had an unusual career path that somehow by passed the CPA and CFA designations but I have been doing accounting, forecasting and portfolio management by getting into those jobs that do that work at different levels and simultaneously educating myself on the job.

There are many ways to manage a career but I thought you would find this helpful since I have been a hiring manager and working in these roles as well for many years.

Good luck.

Regards,
Paul Casey

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