Often, it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve accounting certification, no matter which certificate you go for. However, of various accounting certifications, Certified Management Accountant or CMA is the highest level of accreditation in managing accounting and finance professionals.
US CMA: Overview
The CMA certification is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA.
Meeting the CMA eligibility requirements and adding this sought-after credential to your name opens multiple opportunities.
US CMA is an official designation that only certified professionals can demonstrate their knowledge and professional skills. However, as the economy grows and becomes more complex, Certified Management Accountants (CMA) will play a more significant role.
There is a demand for certified management accountants since they are crucial in financing and helping businesses achieve their objectives. The CMA certification demonstrates that an individual has significant accounting knowledge and skills in accounting activities, including financial statements analysis, cost accounting, budgeting and planning, management, and investment decision.
Management accountants also work with external auditors to ensure that companies adhere to all laws and regulations about their finances. Thus, a CMA will help businesses make decisions about their future by providing options based on financial data.
If you are looking to become a US CMA, then you might want to look at the structure of the CMA Exam and different Parts of the CMA Exam.
What is tested on the CMA Exam?
The Institute of Management Accountant (IMA) conducts regular studies to determine the scope of work CMAs are expected to perform. Institute of Certified Management Accountants(ICMA), the branch of IMA, uses this information to keep the CMA exam up-to-date.
ICMA reveals the documents: the Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) and the Learning Outcome Statements (LOSs) that serve as the Certified Management Accountant Exam syllabus.
Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) serves to
- Establish the foundation for the development of each part of the US CMA Exam
- Ensure consistent coverage on each exam
- Communicate the details of the exam to the interested candidates and help them to prepare for the CMA exam
- Equip review providers with the information for their courses.
Learning Outcome Statements (LOSs)
- Specify the tasks a Certified Management Accountant should be able to perform within the context of CSOs
- Provide a specific and detailed explanation of the knowledge and skills successful US CMA candidates need to possess.
In addition to the information specified on the CSOs and LSOs, CMA candidates are expected to possess a minimum level of business knowledge, including basic financial statements, time value of money concepts, and elementary statistics.
CMA Exam Format
According to the guidelines of the Institute of Management Accountants, an aspirant must complete the Certified Management Accountant course within three years from the date of registration. A graduate in any discipline from a recognized college or accredited university
The CMA Exam is computer-based, making the US CMA course flexible to the candidates appearing to different levels of examination. Candidates can take the CMA Certification exam in 6 months out of 12 months. A CMA exam is divided into two parts (Part 1 and Part 2), and candidates do not have to take them in any specific order.
Each part of the CMA Exam is four hours long and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) that hold 75% of the weightage and two essay scenarios with 25% of the weightage.
The topics covered in the two parts of the CMA Examination are:
CMA Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
CMA Part 2: Strategic Financial Management
US CMA Exam – Part 1
The six different sections and subsections of the CMA Exam Part1 include:
- External financial reporting decisions (15%)
- Financial statements
- Recognition, measurement, valuation, and disclosure
- Planning, budgeting, and forecasting (20%)
- Strategic planning
- Budgeting concepts
- Forecasting techniques
- Budget methodologies
- Annual profit plan and supporting schedules
- Top-level planning and analysis
- Performance management (20%)
- Cost and variance measures
- Responsibility centers and reporting segments
- Performance measures
- Cost management (15%)
- Measurement concepts
- Costing systems
- Overhead costs
- Supply chain management
- Business process improvement
- Internal controls (15 %)
- Governance, risk, and compliance
- Systems controls and security measures
- Technology and analytics (15%)
- Information systems
- Data governance
- Technology-enabled finance transformation
- Data analytics
Here is a high-level overview of what to expect from each section in US CMA Part 1
External financial reporting decisions
The goal of financial reporting is to provide financial information that makes decisions. There is a need to consolidate data and CMAs are expected to further use the data for financial statements and their components.
Preparation of financial statements
CMAs should use financial information to set long-term goals (and short-term goals that will help accomplish them) in service of their organization’s strategic plan or mission. This includes budgeting for proposed initiatives and forecasting how they will affect future revenues and expenditures.
CMAs must determine whether performance standards are being met concerning the operational goals of a company. This includes standard costing, flexible budgets, variance analysis, the balance sheet, etc.
Being able to manage costs is crucial to goal setting and project management. Therefore, CMA will need an understanding of cost behavior, supply chain management, benchmarking, and product costing, etc.
Internal controls are essential for companies to be able to maintain their integrity and reputation. It is the process of managing the company’s resources, personnel, financial activities, and information systems to achieve business objectives.
Technology and analytics
CMAs understand the importance of technology and analytics to a business. This makes them a reliable partner when planning, implementing, and following up on significant changes in technology or processes that can affect a company’s performance.
US CMA Exam – Part 2
CMA exam part 2 focuses on financial decision-making to test the candidate’s business knowledge and skills. The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) that offers the CMA certification summarizes the CMA part 2 into six different sections that include:
Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
- Basic financial statement analysis
- Financial ratios
- Profitability analysis
- Special issues
- Corporate Finance (20%)
- Risk and return
- Long-term financial management
- Raising capital
- Working capital management
- Corporate restructuring
- International Finance
Decision Analysis ( 25%)
- Cost/volume/profit analysis
- Marginal analysis
- Risk Management (10%)
- Enterprise risk
- Investment Decisions ( 10%)
- Capital budgeting process
- Capital investment analysis methods
- Professional Ethics (15%)
- Business ethics
- Ethical considerations for management accounting and financial professionals
- Ethical considerations for a company or organization
Let’s see the high-level overview of what to expect from each section of US CMA Exam part 2
Financial Statement Analysis
Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) take the information reported in the financial statements and extrapolate data for decision-making. They need to understand and calculate the financial ratios. Advanced accounting knowledge is also a prerequisite for evaluating its operations and comparing them to the industry standard.
Corporate Finance is the financial management of a corporation. It is concerned with allocating and reallocating capital to maximize corporate value in an efficient business manner. Therefore, CMAs should know how to raise and work with money, understand how organizations generate a return long-term, how exchange rates affect revenue, and how international diversification can offset the costs inherent to cross-border transactions.
CMAs need a firm understanding of product-based decisions and employ cost-volume-profit and marginal analysis at an advanced level. Therefore, the CMA exam asks candidates to calculate a break-even point, calculate the effect of operating income on a make-or-buy decision, evaluate and recommend pricing strategies, etc.
Risk assessment that involves different types of systematic and unsystematic risks is integral because risks are a factor in every high-level business decision. Therefore, for CMAs, understanding Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) generally (and more specifically, COSO Enterprise Risk Management) is required.
A CMA is a company’s decision-maker for marketing and business development activities. They are responsible for making investment decisions by considering the marketing objectives and industry trends. CMAs must also be able to use the discounted cash flow (DCF) methods, net present value (NPV), and internal rate of return (IRR), to recommend project investments.
Professional ethics will guide what is acceptable or not acceptable in terms of a profession. For Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), professional ethics is an important document that sets out the guidelines by IMA on how they should behave when they are in professional relationships with clients and other professionals.
What is the passing score of the US CMA Exam?
The minimum passing score for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Examination is 360 for both parts of the exam. The CMA exam score range is 0-500.
When can you take the CMA Exam?
The US CMA exam is conducted in three two-month testing periods each year that include:
- January and February
- May and June
- September and October
To choose the date, time, and location, you should schedule your appointment at least four weeks in advance. Once you are registered, you must take the exam part during your assigned testing session, and for whatever reason, you are unable to give your exam within that particular period, you will have to pay another registration fee as you cannot reschedule the US CMA exam.
How can you register for the CMA Exam parts?
To register for the US CMA examination, you will need to
- Register for a CMA testing window,
- Pay CMA exam fees,
- Select a Prometric testing center,
- Schedule the CMA exam appointment, and
- confirm your appointment.
You must have registered for the CMA examination with ICMA and received your authorization letter before scheduling your testing appointment.
We at Simandhar Education hope you are clear with the information regarding the US CMA exam structure. However, check out our CMA FAQs if you are looking for specific information about the CMA exam.
Are you planning for a CMA certification and wondering about the best training institute? Contact us at Simandhar Education. We offer the most adaptive US CMA Review course that decreases your study time and increases your study efficiency. Why late? Achieve your dream career in management accounting with our US CMA live Interactive classes from anywhere in the world.
Want to know more about the Certified Management Accountant course? Get in touch with Simandhar Education, India’s Leading training provider for the US CMA course. For any queries, please mail us at [email protected] or contact us at +91 7780273388.