Certified Management Accountant

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Definition: Certified Management Accountant



Full Definition of Certified Management Accountant


The title Certified Management Accountant is a professional designation awarded by various professional bodies around the world. The CMA designation is a post-nominal award issued to individuals who have achieved a peer-based criteria of professional competency in the field of Management Accounting. Management accounting qualifications differ from those such as the ACA or CPA “Chartered” or “Public” accounting qualifications in a number of ways, but primarily management accountants are focused on internal cost measures and accounting for management review, whereas ACA/CPA specialists are focused on reporting of financial results to external bodies such as tax departments, capital markets, investors and others.

The CMA qualification is offered in Australia, Canada, the United States, and many other developed countries. CMA is a granted certificate from a professional body like the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA), the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), provided that the candidate passed a rigorous examination, and met educational and practical experience requirements. Due to the non-statutory status in the United States, a CMA generally provides their services directly to their employers rather than to the public. A CMA may also provide services to the public, but to a much lesser extent than a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The CMA credentials differ significantly from the CPA designation. More than 80% of accounting professionals in the U.S. work within organizations, building quality financial practices into the organization through decision support, planning, and control over the organization’s value-creating operations. For these managerial finance and accounting professionals, the CMA may be more appropriate as a best selection. Many professional accountants hold both CPA and CMA designations.

The profession of accounting in Canada also includes Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), who belong to the Society of Management Accountants of Canada. A similar title of Chartered Management Accountant exists in the United Kingdom and is awarded to members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Other professional organizations which specialize in management accounting include the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan.

In order to earn the CMA designation in the Canada, Australia, and United States, an accountant must have mastered a comprehensive body of knowledge by demonstrating six key skill levels — knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation — in the following areas:

  • Business Analysis (economics, internal controls, quantitative methods, financial statement analysis)
  • Management Accounting and Reporting (budget preparation, cost management, performance measurement, external financial reporting)
  • Strategic Management (strategic planning, corporate finance, decision analysis, investment decision analysis)
  • Business Applications (all of the above, plus organization management, behavioural issues, ethical considerations)

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Definition Sources


Definitions for Certified Management Accountant are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 18th April, 2020 | 0 Views.