If you wish to step into the corporate world as a finance professional, there are several ways to make it happen. Within a plethora of learning options and exciting job profiles in today’s world, it is only natural to get confused while deciding on one career path that serves you best in the long run. If you’re looking for a prestigious job in the field of finance, that also has an international demand, then US CMA and CA are two courses you should surely consider. Wondering what CMA is? US CMA full form is Certified Management Accounting. If you’ve already considered them and now are confused between the two of them, we’re about to make your deciding process much easier.

Before diving into the whole CA vs CMA debate and find the right option for your future goals, let us understand them in detail and know what they offer.

CA vs CMA: What is the CA course all about?

For those of you interested in accountancy, auditing, and taxation who are keen on learning how to advise companies on their financial structures and prevent risks, then Chartered Accountancy might be the ideal course for you. CA is one of the most renowned accounting certification courses conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in our country. This prestigious examination consists of three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Final along with practical training for 3 years. 

Eligibility: The applicant should have successfully completed their 10th and 12th examination to appear for the entry-level CA foundation course with a 50% aggregate score in 12th. 

For the second level examination (CA Intermediate), one needs to qualify for the CA foundation course with a 50%-60% aggregate score in bachelor’s or master’s degree. 

For appearing in the CA final exam, you need to have successfully qualified both Group 1 and 2 of CA Intermediate. Also, you need to complete a 4-week Advanced Integrated Course to learn about Information Technology and soft skills.

CA vs CMA: What is the US CMA course all about?

US CMA is a management accounting course, and the US CMA full form is Certified Management Accounting. It helps students improve their financial accounting expertise by enabling them to acquire management skills in order to make strategic decisions based on financial statistics. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) conducts the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) examinations. The exam consists of three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Final.

Eligibility: For the foundation level, the applicant must have completed their secondary education from a recognized board and also need to have any one of the following education qualifications:

  • Passing marksheet of class 12th
  • National Diploma in Commerce
  • Diploma in Rural Service Examination from a recognized board 

For the intermediate level, you must have completed/cleared one of the following:

  • 10th and 12th from a recognized board
  • Institute of Cost Accountants of India’s Foundation Course 
  • Graduation in any discipline other than Fine Arts
  • Institute’s Foundation Part I of the CAT (Certificate in Accounting Technicians) Examination
  • Institute’s Foundation level Part I Examination and Competency Level Part II Examination

To appear for the US CMA Final exam, the applicant must have cleared the intermediate level of the exam along with 15 hours of practical training.

This was just a basic introduction to the courses, to understand what’s in it for you. Now that you’re equipped with some gainful insights, let’s compare the features and future scope of CMA and CA to help you make an informed choice.  

For detailed information on the US CMA course read our article on What is CMA? Course Details, Duration, Syllabus, Fees, and Eligibility


CA VS CMA: Which one pays more?

The average salary of a Chartered Accountant in India is 8,06,154 INR pa while a Certified Management Accountant makes 5,50,000 INR average income pa. Thus, we can conclude that a CA earns more than a CMA. However, the salary also depends upon your experience and the organization you’re working for. 

CA VS CMA: Which one is less time consuming?

The minimum time needed to complete the Chartered Accountancy course is 4.5 years, including 3 years of articleship or practical training. The time required to qualify for all the CMA exams ranges between 3-4 years. Also, in the case of exam dates/schedules, the applicants are allowed to choose the dates for the CMA exams, but the same is not allowed in the case of CA exams. This indicates that CMA offers more flexibility as a learning course and can take lesser time to complete as compared to CA.

CA VS CMA: Which one provides better job opportunities?

A Chartered Accountant can earn a pretty decent income in the corporate world, and the job responsibilities include handling the financial and legal matters of the company. Due to the expertise of Chartered Accountants in various domains like accounting, auditing, taxation, finance, and corporate laws, they are eligible to get appointed for various job profiles such as Internal Auditor, Portfolio Management, and Finance Advisor. Moreover, in India, only Chartered Accountants are authorized to audit an organization’s Financial Statements. Thus, after getting the designation of a Chartered Accountant, your future opportunities and your income grow to a great extent. However, with a great career comes great responsibilities. As a CA, you are always expected to keep up with updated financial regulations, laws, and case studies.

On the other hand, the Cost and Management Accountants (CMA) work to maintain and handle the cost records, pricing the goods/services, and verifying cost records. Since only large-scale firms require cost auditors, the job opportunities after completing CMA are slightly more limited as compared to CA. The demand for CMA  is likely to increase in the coming 10-15 years as several new companies in India are setting their base.

CA VS CMA: Which one is easier?

If we look at the curriculum, there are more chapters in CA than in CMA. Also, the chapters in CA are a little complicated, while the syllabus of CMA is easy to comprehend. If you plan to become a CA, it will take you almost 5 years, while the duration of CMA is approximately 3-4 years. You can select your CMA exam dates according to your convenience, unfortunately, that flexibility is not provided in the case of CA. Due to all the above-stated reasons, CMA looks easier than CA; however, you should make your decision wisely, keeping in mind your interests and abilities.

CA VS CMA: Can I pursue both CA and CMA?

Yes, you can pursue both CA and CMA if you want to. The syllabus for both the courses aligns with each other; however, it is not the same. If you have decided to pursue both the courses, you can either start preparing for CMA right after you have cleared all CA exams and vice versa or save time by preparing for both the courses simultaneously. 

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a credential awarded by the Institute for Management Accountants, USA. This global certification is open to all students who have completed their 10+2 or the high school equivalent. If you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, check out our Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course. To advance your portfolio and build professional skills, try Zell Education’s interactive courses that offer flexible training timings. Get in touch at +91 7208885600 or email us at reachus@zelleducation.com.

How much does a CPA earn in India?

In India, a Certified Public Accountant earns an average of INR 6,93,985 a year. Your salary, however, is determined by your experience, workplace location, and the organization or firm for which you work.

Can I become a CA without enrolling in any coaching center?

Chartered Accountancy is a correspondence course, and thus the exam conducting authority provides the students with the necessary study material. Many students opt for self-study over coaching. Thus, you can become a CA without taking any coaching classes. All you need is a good strategy, willpower, and consistency to work hard.

What are the various job responsibilities of a CPA?

Generally, corporate sectors hire CPAs to maintain the company's financial records efficiently. A CPA is responsible for evaluating their company's financial data, generating paperwork, and conducting rigorous audits regularly to check the correctness of financial documentation, expenditures, and investments.

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