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Should go for CPA or CMA

Hello. I am currently study MBA in Finance in California. And I am one of the member of UK ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountant). I am thinking should I go for CMA or CPA? Because ACCA transcript does not show any Units, so this is the headache part. Anyone has this experience before? CMA is partnership with ACCA, I can go straight for CMA exam. What should I do? I think one certification is enough for me, because I don't want to spend so much fees on the membership or licencing.


Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

If you type CPA or CMA in the search box here at Proformative, you will find some excellent posts related to this question. It is definitely a tough decision; I think most agree a lot of weight is placed on your long term goals and growth opportunities.

Shawn Rommes
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: CU Companies
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, CU Companies) |

Like Christie stated, it really depends on your aspirations. If you plan on going into public accounting, definitely go for the CPA. If you are looking for a certification to make your resume stand out, in my opinion, the CPA will do more for you. If you plan on going into private industry and aspire to be a Controller or CFO some day, both could be helpful. I'm currently studying for the CMA. I find the material to be very relevant to my current position as an Accounting Manager for a private company.
Good luck with your decision!

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

It depends on your intended career path going forward. Both can be valuable and open doors and there are opportunities with either option. Getting one or the other is a great step and there is not a lot of downside in the choice.

Roxanne Orticke
Title: Senior Director of Finance
Company: NACHA
(Senior Director of Finance, NACHA) |

I have struggled with that question myself...and still continue to struggle! I am currently inching my way towards the CPA (I too have an MBA), but that's really only because of the "street credit" that goes along with the letters. Many persons, from all walks of life somehow identify with the "CPA" as an accredited and formal suggestion of your "knowledge in Financial matters". That said, I don't plan to work for, nor have I in the past, worked for a public accounting firm, and have generally worked for private (and currently non-profit) organizations, where a CMA might be a better fit for the management I support.
I don't believe I'm much help, but wanted to let you know you're not alone out there!

David Rau
Title: CFO
Company: Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW
(CFO, Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW) |

CPA is the answer and there is a reason for this answer.

Stephen McCaskill
Title: Controller
Company: Ipro Tech, LLC
(Controller, Ipro Tech, LLC) |

CPA is the most recognized and respected certification here in the States. If you want to go into public accounting than the decision must be the CPA, but even if you don't the CPA is the certification most employers are looking for for Controllers and CFOs. The CPA certification typically brings higher pay and a wider range of potential employment.

Additionally, because your degree is in Finance rather than Accounting the CPA will help you overcome some hurdles in the perception of how much accounting knowledge you actually have. I know many CFOs that will not hire people into key roles within the finance department unless they have an accounting degree or a CPA certification.

Jeff Durbin
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.
(Chief Financial Officer, F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.) |

I first looked into the CMA about 25 years ago when I got out of business school and passed on it because it just didn't seem credible. I ended up getting it about 10 years ago when I was consulting and I wanted a certification. CPA is certainly more focused on auditing and public accounting. CMA is more focused on industry. Although CPA is more 'gold standard' that has been changing for at least a decade and if you look at salary surveys there really isn't much difference.

I have people on my staff who are interested in certification and business school and I tell them to not go into business school without a very good idea of what they want out of it and to not bother with certification unless they also know why they are going through the process. Don't just do it for three letters after your name on a business card.

MOIDIN iddinkunhi
Title: Director Finance,
Company: ZAC
(Director Finance,, ZAC) |

If your aspiration is not to become a public accountant.. Just go for CMA.. It is good enough. MOst stuff covered out there... Plus continuing education will cover any thing that may not have covered.......
This is my opinion

(Financial Manager) |

Best scenario for me is to work in public accounting for 2-3 years, get the CPA, then move to industry. Auditing experience seems to be very advantageous and preferable by many employers. Once in private, you'll find the CMA extremely useful and you can pursue it at that time. Having both is great. If you go straight into private, then chase the CMA for sure. While in private, you can still prepare and pass the CPA, but you won't need a license...but you'll have the satisfaction and training obtained from the CPA exam.


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