CMA USA vs CIMA UK: Best Course to Pursue | Zell Education

    I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      CMA USA vs CIMA UK: Which Course is Better to Pursue

      Last Update On 4th July 2024
      Duration: 5 Mins Read

      Finance is a very vast field with a lot of scope for freshers and experienced people alike. There are many opportunities available, and this makes choosing the right one difficult. If you are looking for global exposure, higher payout, and a strong network, you can understand between CMA USA vs CIMA UK. This article will help you know which course is better and will be good for you.

      CMA USA vs CIMA UK

      CMA USA

      CMA USA, or certified management accountant, is a certification program in strategic financial management and financial accounting. It is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants, USA, and is globally recognized. The main focus of this program is to give an in-depth understanding of the different management accounting areas.  

      A CMA USA certification can easily get a job as a cost accountant, financial manager, or financial strategist. If compared with non-CMA people, they get better salaries and recognition.

      CIMA UK

      The CIMA UK certification, or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, is a certification that provides skills and training in management accounting and similar subjects. It is a body based out of the UK and differentiates traditional accountants from management accountants. It also focuses on informing people on the importance of management accountants.

      A management accountant analyzes data forecasts, creates budgets to help in the decision-making process, creates reports for internal uses, and also helps in assessing risk.

      Understanding the Key Differences Between US CMA and CIMA

      Even though both the courses are finance related, there are some differences between the two. Let’s understand the difference between CMA USA and CIMA UK below.

      Eligibility Criteria

      In terms of eligibility, CMA requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with min 2 years of relevant work experience. However, for CIMA, applicants must clear the 12th standard and clear 16 papers. A candidate who completes his ACCA or MBA is not required to submit several documents. To be eligible for the CIMA certification, a candidate has to have three years of professional work experience after submitting all fourteen papers and three case studies.

      CIMA UK vs CMA USA: Subjects

      Let’s understand the CIMA UK vs CMA USA subjects. CMA has two parts – the first part is financial planning, performance, and analytics, which includes the below:

      • External financial reporting decisions – 15%
      • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting – 20%
      • Performance management – 20%
      • Cost management – 15%
      • Internal controls – 15%
      • Technology and analytics – 15%

      The second part of CMA is strategic financial planning, and that includes:

      • Financial statement analysis – 20%
      • Corporate finance – 20%
      • Decision analysis – 25%
      • Risk management – 10%
      • Investment decision – 10%
      • Professional ethics – 15%

      CIMA UK, on the other hand, has four parts. The first part is the certification level, which includes:

      • Fundamentals of business economics
      • Fundamentals of management accounting
      • Fundamentals of ethics
      • Business law and corporate governance
      • Fundamentals of financial accounting

      Part 2 – operational level that includes:

      • Organizational management
      • Management Accounting
      • Financial reporting and taxation

      Part 3 is managerial level and includes:

      • Project and relationship management
      • Advanced management and accounting
      • Advanced financial reporting

      Part 4 is strategic level and includes:

      • Strategic management
      • Risk management
      • Financial strategy

      CMA USA vs CIMA: Exam Structure and Pattern

      The CMA USA vs CIMA exam structure also is different. In CMA, there are 100 MCQs and two essay questions for both part 1 and 2. The total exam time is 4 hours, 3 hours for MCQs, and 1 hour for essay questions. CIMA is a two hour computer based exam that can be given any month, depending on center availability.  

      The results in CIMA are announced immediately. For a case study, you get 180 minutes to answer, and its results are declared post one month. The case study can be attempted four times a year – February, May, August and November.

      CMA USA vs CIMA UK: Exemptions

      When comparing CMA USA vs CIMA UK exemptions, the exemptions are only available in the latter. There are two ways an applicant can get an exemption:

      • After completing CA inter – In India, if someone is a CA certified and ICAI member, they are exempted from 16 out of 17 papers. They are only required to attend one strategic case study. Post that, they must have three years of relevant experience for CIMA membership.
      • After ACCA or MBA – If the candidate has completed the MBA or ACCA, they will not have to give the first 11 papers. To be eligible, they must pass the CIMA gateway exam. Post exemption, they can start from a strategic level. Moreover, people who are exempt from certain documents must pay tax exemption.

      CMA USA vs CIMA UK: Job Opportunities

      There is a huge demand in the finance sector, and hence, there are many CMA USA vs CIMA UK job opportunities for the right person. A CIMA degree can get you jobs as a management accountant, accountant, accounting assistant, financial data analyst, and business analyst. At the same time, the CMA career paths are budget analyst, risk manager, internal auditor, financial controller, and cost accountant.

      Salary Trends

      CMA USA and CIMA UK salary trends will depict the average salaries. A candidate can earn based on the company they work for and their qualifications. As a fresher, a CMA can earn $100,000 per annum, and a CIMA can earn £63,000 per annum. 

      Here is a quick comparison of these:


      CMA USA

      CIMA UK

      Course duration

      Three years

      3 – 4 years


      Bachelor’s degree with two years of relevant work experience

      Must be a 12th pass out.

      Regulatory body

      Institute of Management Accountant, USA

      Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK

      Pass criteria


      Operational level – 46%

      Management level – 69%

      Strategic level – 68%

      Course format

      Two parts 16 papers
      Articleship  Required 



      Globally Globally
      Focuses on Financial management and accounting 

      Management accounting


      CIMA vs CMA: Which is Better to Pursue?

      There are two superior options for developing financial expertise: USA CMA and CIMA. Selecting any of these programs will undoubtedly result in excellent pay, more favorable employment prospects, and even international internships. Your interest alone should be the only factor considered while deciding between CIMA and CMA US.

      FAQ’s on CMA USA vs CIMA UK:

      What is CMA USA equivalent in UK?

      CMA USA is equivalent to CIMA in the UK.

      What is the salary of CMA vs CIMA?

      As a fresh graduate, a CMA holder can make up to $100,000 annually. In India, this might amount to 4–6 million annually. The average annual pay for a CIMA Certified Accountant is up to £63,000; however, in India, one may make up to 10 lakhs.

      Is CMA better than CIMA in the UK?

      The CIMA enjoys a distinguished position in the UK and Commonwealth nations, while the CMA offers a more extensive global reach and is especially potent in the US and emerging economies.

      Is CMA USA very difficult?

      The CMA US exam is quite challenging and will test your knowledge to the utmost. Less than half of the test-takers will pass, based on the CMA’s industry average success rate of 45% for both sections.

      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

      Speak To A Course Expert To Know More