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Which is Better CMA or CIMA?

CMA and CIMA sound quite similar right? Are they the same? Are you also confused and wondering which one is better, CMA or CIMA? Well, then this blog is for you. Read more to get some more insights about both these courses. Let’s quickly get started.

CMA and CIMA sound very similar but are different. There is a huge difference between both these courses. US CMA, as the name says, is a US-based course that is administered by theIMA (Institute of Management Accountants), whereas the CIMA course is administered by CIMA itself (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). Both these courses are globally recognized, and one should choose the course depending upon the area of interest and the place or country where one intends to work further.

Countries like the US, China, and Canada prefer the US CMA qualification, whereas countries like the UK and other commonwealth countries prefer the CIMA qualification. Moving towards the middle east, both these qualifications are considered equally important and have the same consideration.

Can CMA be done after the 12th?Is CMA difficult to pass?What is the CMA salary in India? All these questions are the most frequently asked queries. Let’s answer them one by one.

What is CMA Course (Certified Management Accountant)?

Can CMA be done after the 12th?

The answer to this question is a yes. Both US CMA and CIMA can be done after the 12th and can be pursued simultaneously along with graduation. The US CMA consists of only two papers which are:

  1. Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics which covers topics such as Cost Management, Internal Controls, Technology and Analytics, External Financial Reporting Decisions, Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting, and lastly Performance Management.
  2. Strategic Financial Management is the second part of the US CMA course and includes topics like Risk Management, Investment Decisions, Professional Ethics, Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance, and Decision Analysis.

The CIMA, on the other hand, includes 16 papers and covers the following topics:

  1. Under the Certification level, topics such as Fundamentals of Business Economics, Fundamentals of Management Accounting, Fundamentals of Ethics, Business Law, Corporate Governance, and Fundamentals of Financial Accounting are covered.
  2. Under the Operational level, topics such as Organizational Management, Management Accounting, and Financial Reporting and Taxation are covered.
  3. Under the Managerial level, topics such as Project and Relationship Management, Advanced Management Accounting, Advanced Financial Reporting are covered.
  4. Under the Strategic level, topics such as Strategic Management, Risk Management, Financial Strategy are covered.


Based on the previous qualification, certain exemptions may be awarded.

Coming to the 2nd question which is, is CMA difficult to pass?

  • The global pass rate for the US CMA course is 50%, and hence many candidates assume it to be very difficult. 
  • But in reality, success depends on a lot of factors. If one plans it strategically and if concepts are cleared, then it is not that difficult to crack the exams. 
  • However, it is suggested to join an institute that provides high-quality study materials and is IMA&rsquo’s gold-approved partner. 
  • EduPristine in Mumbai is one such institute that is IMA&rsquo’s gold-approved partner and provides quality study material from Becker&rsquo’s, which is timely updated and is focused on student’s success.

Whereas for CIMA as well, many candidates think it is very difficult to crack it, but again, success depends on many factors. If one is committed and fully focused, then it is not that difficult to crack it. Once the candidates pass the examination, it becomes much easier for them to apply for higher positions, which justifies the level of difficulty as CMA is not for everyone.

CMA Certification Skillset

Coming to the very important question which is, what is CMA salary in India?

  • The salary offered to candidates after completing CMA in India starts from 4 L per annum for a fresher and goes up to 6 L per annum. This is for both the courses, which are US CMA and UK CIMA.
  • Both the courses are highly respected, but when it comes to flexibility, US CMA is the better option as there are just 2 examinations as compared to CIMA, where one needs to appear for 15 exams. 
  • US CMA can be completed in a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 12 months, whereas for CIMA it takes around 2-4 years as it has many subjects and topics which are covered. 
  • Some of the common profiles offered to US CMA candidates are Financial Risk Manager, Cost Accountant, Financial Consultant, Financial Analyst, and Internal Auditor. The common job profiles offered to CIMA candidates are Business Analyst, Forensic Analyst, Finance Controller, Management Accountant, and Project Manager.
  • For US CMA, a candidate is required to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized/accredited university along with 2 years of relevant professional experience in the field of Management Accounting or Financial Management. Whereas in CIMA, one needs to hold a high school diploma, and need to have 3 years of relevant work experience. 
  • The PER (Practical Experience Requirement) is an essential part of the CIMA qualification and the membership application process.

Soft Skills Training

Why pursue US CMA?

  1. Individuals pursuing US CMA have a major advantage as this course develops decision-making capability, which facilitates productive results in critical situations.
  2. The US CMA course is very relevant and does not limit its scope for financial professionals.
  3. The US CMA course provides an edge and allows the employer to evaluate the professional ability, which may be favorable for higher positions.

Both these courses are globally recognized, so one must decide carefully. You can also get in touch with our counselors, who would be more than happy to guide you and help you make the correct decision. All the best and happy learning!