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Getting a CMA after a CPA ?

I'm at a professional crossroads. I am a Sr. Accountant whose served in various accounting / IT consultant roles throughout my career. I don't have extension experience in a particular industry. I'm more of a generalist who has adapted to solve client's pain points. I'm in my late 30s with small kids and the travel 90% Monday through Thursday travel schedule doesn't work for my life. I have my CPA license, and I'd like to route my career to a controller / assistant controller position. I'm considering getting my CMA certificate to bolster my skillset / knowledge base as well as to make me standout from other applicants. Is the CMA or CGMA or an MBA better in my situation?


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

In my neck of the woods, the CPA is your ticket. Add an MBA and you can write your own ticket. The CMA gets no respect at all.

(Controller) |

Hey Consultant, use your CPA designation to get a steady job and become a "get it done" accountant. Your CPA can springboard you to a good position but if you are not a performer you might not really get anywhere. Just be the guy who everyone knows is the ethical guy, who is the guy to go to when you need to get things done, and who is good to work with. In my opinion, that will serve you better than anything else. Your license is important because its your badge of honor but when you prove yourself that will be your ticket. I have never had anyone ask me about a CMA except those that have one. I think its a store bought license anyway and most employers probably won't care if you have one. Like the person above says...if you can get an MBA, great...but then again, if you specialize in a Masters that is even better. Your IT experience can also take you places along with the CPA so aim for those companies that want that combination.

(Director of Finance) |

As a clarification, why do you feel it is a "store bought license"?

The CMA requires a multi part exam, an experience requirement, and continuing education.

(Consultant) |

What i don't understand is how the CMA can be a professional designation with a less than 48% pass rate in a relevant field of study for management accounting not be respected.

I think the lack of respect that CMA gets has more to do with the fact that it hasn't been marketed well by its governing body, when compared to the CPA or now the CGMA (from the AICPA).

(CFO) |

"has more to do with the fact that it hasn't been marketed well by its governing body, when compared to the CPA or now the CGMA (from the AICPA)."

YOU NAILED IT!.........When RESPECT for certifications tend to depend on MARKETING!

Allen Hobbs, CMA
Title: Principal & Consultant
Company: Canaan Consulting (dba)
(Principal & Consultant, Canaan Consulting (dba)) |

The CMA definitely has value which is increasingly recognized for the 90% of accountants who are in industry as opposed to public accounting. The proven (tested, experience, CPE, etc.) body of knowledge represented by the CMA is becoming increasing recognized (apprpopriately) as equivalent-to-preferred for industry professionals. The CGMA allowed the untested grandfathering of CPA's in the management accounting for which they (at least initially) did not have to demonstrate competence.

Yes, the CMA would be a useful adjunct for a CPA "roadie."

Judd Rabb
Title: CFO
Company: RxWiki
(CFO, RxWiki) |

I'm a CPA, not a CMA, but I do have respect for those who have earned a CMA. The CMA curriculum is relevant to the knowledge base needed to perform corporate accounting. Maybe the litmus test should not be whether it makes you "look better" but instead whether you will "be more capable" as a result of earning the designation. I don't believe that you would be harmed by having it. In my opinion, its worth is at least equal to the cost and value of the time that you will invest to earn it.

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

I am a CPA and CMA currently working as a controller in private industry. 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 or obtain a new position, then it probably wouldn't be much help.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

This is a great conversation.

So which is more important, and be honest...

1. Learning and developing your skillset or just passing the test to say I have the license/certification?

2. Collecting certifications (studying, passing, or being grandfathered into a cert, ie, CGMA, etc) or actually using the information that the certification says you "know"?

(Consultant) |

Note : I'm the original poster. Learning and developing my skillset is more important to me than adding to the letters on my email signature.

But I'm still concerned with how the certification or license is precieved, so I'm leaning towards the cma vs cgma which has the grandfather issues.


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