Which course is better for you- CMA or CIMA?

CMA and CIMA are two significant management courses that offer lucrative opportunities to management professionals abroad. This is why many stay confused about what to pursue. Here is the guide for you that will help you understand the differences as it is often difficult for a student to build a career as a management professional.


What is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?

The CMA or Certified Management Accountant is a globally acknowledged certified program presented by the Institute of Management Accountants, IMA-the U.S. based organisation. This certificate is an incredible attribution for management professionals looking to advance their proficiency and aptitudes in the financial management field.

This course trains a professional with financial planning, control, decision support, analysis, and professional values. A CMA certified professional can enjoy the opportunity of working in diverse sectors in a management span.


What is the (CIMA) Chartered Institute of Management Accountants?

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, a UK-based body, presents this certified course to assist management professionals in growing their acquaintance and expertise in management accountancy. The CIMA course delivers training and qualification to allow accountants to attain mastery over the subjects related to this field.

It provides an in-depth knowledge grounding and insight into how the different areas of accounting relate to the business world. This accounting qualification is most pertinent to the contemporary world and trends of the industry, enabling individuals to unleash their skills and accelerate their careers in the business domain.


Job Prospects Open For CMA Professionals

They are eligible to work in industries and organizations, such as 

  • manufacturing and services, 
  • public and private enterprises, 
  • non-profit organizations, 
  • academic institutions, 
  • government entities, and 
  • multinational corporations.


Job Prospects Open For CIMA Professionals

The course is a knowledge update that connects to the CIMA Professional Qualification. 

CIMA-trained people work in the 

  • commerce industry, 
  • management consultancies, 
  • banks, and financial companies
  • not-for-profit organisations 
  • public sector organizations.

So, CIMA professionals can become 

  • Finance analyst
  • Finance manager
  • Internal auditor
  • Financial analyst
  • Financial accountant
  • Tax specialist


Educational Requirements To Get Enrolled In:

An applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to be eligible for the exam. The CMA is a two-part exam comprising 100 MCQs and two 30-minute essay questions.                      

The CIMA course, on the other hand, is open to everyone. It is a rigorous program for which only a high school diploma is a minimum requirement for the exam. However, exemptions to the exams are supplied based on the qualification of each individual. The CIMA course constitutes 15 papers with a two-hour computer-based examination for each paper.


Significance of CMA Vs. CIMA

Knowing the difference between the both and comparing which is better, get aware of the significance of each course.


Significance of CMA:

  • CMA is beneficial for both professionals and students.
  • Employers accept CMA professionals across many countries.
  • CMA course extends the decision-making capacity in producing the best results.
  • It also enables the employer in estimating the professional’s ability for the higher positions in their organisation.
  • The prime aim of the CMA course is to boost the employee’s dexterities.
  • CMA does not limit to the financial professionals’ scope.


As CMA is a course improving your skillset, hence it is a much more relevant educational experience. The CMA course is very relevant to modern-day situations. Due to the reason, CMA designation holders are paid 30% more than their non-certified colleagues, which is highly preferred. Hence, this can be suggested that it is a must to do the course for you if you want to build your career in corporate accounting. 


Significance of CIMA:

  • CIMA course is organised to furnish the dexterities and proficiencies in business management and financial education of the aspirants. 
  • CIMA is tied up with CommonWealth countries. It leads to a better global presence than CMA.
  • CIMA boosts your earning potential while preparing you for roles in the business and finance sectors. 


CIMA is not inflexible in its idea of the prerequisites required to be eligible for the exam. Thus, a wide range of professionals from different industry segments is open to giving the exam, creating wider job opportunities.


Comparison between CMA and CIMA 

  • Based on global presence 

In terms of international presence, CIMA traditionally has a better global presence. Also, it is well-recognized in most places — less in the US but more in the UK with Commonwealth countries. CMA Canada and CMA Australia are currently accumulating more acclaim in their respective countries. Therefore, CIMA is arguably less sought-after in these countries.

On the other hand, IMA has been vigorously constructing its global presence, predominantly in emerging countries like China and the Middle East. CMA is well specified in China and is head-to-head with CIMA in the Middle East.

  • Based on Exam Pattern

CMA course consists of two significant parts, which include:

Part 1- Financial Planning, Performance and analytics

Part 2- Strategic Financial Management

CIMA course has three substantial levels

  1. Operational level
  2. Management level
  3. Strategic level 

Additionally, there is a prerequisite for seeking admission, i.e., Certificate in Business Accounting. 

  • Based on required Experience:

In the case of CMA, a certification candidate must have two years of work experience. But in the case of CIMA, Candidates must have three years of working experience in a related field.

In a nutshell, both the courses, CMA and CIMA, are productive for professionals in varied aspects. So, the selection of a course should be based on the decision of the aspirants. According to your aim & target, choose any of the courses wisely. 


GCEC Global offers the best platform to pursue your professional education with lucrative working opportunities. Wish you all the best!

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