US CMA vs ACCA vs CIMA: Which Certification is Better?

    I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      US CMA vs ACCA vs CIMA: Which Certification is Better?

      Last Update On 29th April 2024
      Duration: 5 Mins Read

      After finishing your class 12 exams, you will have a very small window of time to decide what career path to take next. If you are planning to work in the field of business management or accounting and finance, there are several courses that you can choose from. 

      For students that are planning to work outside of India or would like to have that option open when the opportunity arrives, you should definitely consider globally recognised courses such as ACCA, CMA or CIMA. If you are confused between the three courses and would like to see some important factors that separate them, then here’s a quick look at what each course offers. 

      1. Certified Management Accountant (US CMA)

      The Certified Management Accountant course is conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). If you are interested in business management and accounting, pursuing US CMA might be a step in the right direction for you. In addition to accounting firms, a US CMA will also find opportunities in consumer-based businesses and brands like Coca-Cola, Colgate, and Mastercard.

      Moreover, with the US CMA qualification, you will be able to work in India as well as in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand


      Students can enrol for US CMA right after their class 12.

      Course Structure:

      The US CMA course consists of two parts –

      • US CMA Part 1 – Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
      • US CMA Part 2 – Strategic Financial Management

      Scope of US CMA

      After the US CMA you will be eligible to work as a Management Accountant in some of the most prestigious accounting firms in India as well as in North America and Australia. Companies like the Big 4 (KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte), Grant Thornton, J. P. Morgan, Blackstone and BDO. 

      2. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

      The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a UK-based accounting body that conducts the ACCA exam. ACCA, which is also known as the Global CA, is a professional accounting course that trains candidates in subjects similar to a Chartered Accountant and provides them with the skills and foundation required. 

      Since ACCA course, is a globally recognised students often prefer this to other local courses. In addition to India, you can work in over 180 other countries including the UK, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

      Eligibility – 10 + 2 Examination with 65% aggregate in Maths/Accounts and English and a minimum of 50% in other subjects. 

      Course Structure

      The ACCA course consists of 13 papers that are split into three different levels. 

      • Knowledge Level (3 papers)
      • Skill Level (6 papers)
      • Professional Level (4 papers)

      Scope of ACCA

      The ACCA qualification is one of the most recognised qualifications in the field of accounting and finance in India as well as in countries in the European Union. After completing ACCA, you may be hired in similar positions as a Chartered Accountant in companies like KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY.

      3. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

      If the field of management accounting appeals to you and your priority is to be able to work in countries outside of India, then CIMA could be the right choice for you. CIMA is a globally recognised qualification in the field of management accounting. It is accepted in around 180 countries and has MRA’s with several accounting bodies across the world including CMA Canada and CPA Australia. 


      Students can enrol for CIMA right after their grade 12.

      Course Structure.

      – Certificate in Business Accounting

      – Professional Operational

      – Professional Management

      – Professional Strategic

      Scope of CIMA

      As a result of the MRA’s, a qualified CIMA can become a member of CPA Australia or CMA Canada, without having to give additional exams for the same. In addition to leading accounting firms in the world, CIMA professionals may also get hired by consumer-based companies or large brands such as Toyota, Amazon, Apple, and Google. 

      Key US CMA vs ACCA vs CIMA

      For Management Accounting, Is CIMA better than CMA USA?

      If a career in Management Accounting sounds appealing to you, then you may want to consider US CMA and CIMA. Which course you choose largely depends on one where you plan to work in the future. If your current plan is to start working in India and also explore job opportunities in North America and Australia, the IMA’s Certified Management Accounting course might be the right one for you. CMA is also a great starting course when you want to figure out your interests right after class 12th. Since it can be completed in under a year, US CMA has become quite popular among students in the recent past.

      On the other, hand, if your primary goal is to work abroad in large companies like Toyota or Apple as a Management Accountant, then it is definitely worth it to consider CIMA. CIMA will offer more opportunities for growth outside of India and is much more recognised in a lot of different countries. With enough experience and skill, you may even get promoted to be the CFO of a company. 

      To work in the UK, what serves better – Accounting or Management Accounting?

      For those who plan to work in the UK or other countries in the European Union, the two career paths that you could take are ACCA or CIMA. You might be wondering, Is US CMA Recognised in the UK? No, it isn’t as widely recognised as ACCA or CIMA. Your decision should be on the basis of your interest in the respective fields. If you would prefer to work as a management accountant and want to learn about business strategies involved in accounting, then CIMA might be the right one for you. 

      But if you want to specialise in Accounting and be on the same level of qualification as a Chartered Accountant, then you should definitely go for ACCA. Not only will you get the opportunity to work abroad, but you will also get a similar salary package as a CA or Chartered public accountant

      An accounting and finance career can be quite rewarding if you proceed with the right guidance. If you would like to know more about courses in accounting and finance, you can reach out to us or you can check out the courses offered at Zell Education on the website


      Is ACCA recognised in Europe?
      Yes, ACCA is recognised in several European countries including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, etc.

      Is CMA USA and CIMA the same?
      No, they are both different courses. US CMA is a course in management accounting offered by the Institute of Management Accountants in the USA whereas CIMA is conducted by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). CMA is more recognised in the US whereas CIMA is a preferred qualification to work in the UK or Europe.

      Is CIMA a Diploma course?
      When you are pursuing CIMA, the Diploma in Management Accounting is awarded on successful completion of the Operational level. The Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting is awarded on completion of the Management level.


      Satyamedh Nandedkar, a seasoned finance professional, holds ACCA, CA, US CMA & CS credentials. With 10+ years of experience, he’s a master ACCA tutor, IFRS trainer, adept in global financial standards, and a trusted advisor in navigating complex financial landscapes.

      Speak To A Course Expert To Know More