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CMA Requirements

What is the IMA?

The CMA program is administered by the Institute of Management Accountants (the IMA). The IMA was founded in 1919. Today, in 2021, it has more than 1250,000 members. It operates in 150 countries, and has more than 300 professional and student chapters around the world.

The CMA designation was developed in 1972 by the IMA as a benchmark for measuring the competency of management accountants.

The ICMA (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) which is part of the IMA, is the body responsible of regularly reviewing the content of the CMA exam to make sure the CMA designation is aligned with the always changing business practices.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility can be divided to two categories; eligibility to take exams, and eligibility to become certified, the reason for this division is the fact that you can start preparing for the CMA and take exams before meeting all the conditions required to become certified.

Requirement Taking exams Becoming certified
Active membership in IMA yes yes
Active CMA entrance fee yes yes
Satisfy the education qualification No yes
Satisfy the experience qualification No yes
Complete all required examination parts Yes Yes
Comply with the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice Yes yes

You can sit for the CMA exams while you are still at university or when you are a fresh graduate, but you need to graduate and get the required experience to become certified.

CMA Entrance Fee

The CMA entrance fee must be paid in order to be able to take the CMA exams.

A CMA candidate must pass the two exams within three years of paying the entrance fee (being accepted to the CMA program).

By paying the CMA entrance fee you will have access to the following features:

  • CMA support package, which includes practice questions
  • Review of educational and experience requirements
  • Notification of employer about your CMA status
  • Listing on the IMA’s website of CMAs
Education Requirements

The education requirements must be fulfilled within seven years of completing the CMA examination.

Bachelor’s degree

You can find a partial list of accredited US institutions here:

https://univ.cc/world

Degrees that are not credited must be evaluated. You can find a list of evaluation agencies here:

aice-eval.org

naces.org/members

Contact the IMA if your university is not listed.

ima@imanet.org

Verification of education requirements: Transcripts (or notarized copies) must be directly mailed from your university to the IMA on the following address.

ICMA

Member # _______

10 Paragon Drive

Suite 1

Montvale, NJ 07645

Professional certifications

Here are the approved certifications in the US:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), CFA Institute
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP), Association of Financial Professionals

You can find a list of approved certifications in all countries here.

Verification for certification programs: an official letter is required to be sent directly from the certifying organization to the IMA at the address mentioned earlier.

All education documents must be submitted in English. If the original is not in English, a notarized translation must be mailed along with the original certificate/transcript.

Experience Requirement

Two years of experience are required. These two years can be acquired before or within seven years of passing the CMA exams.

Qualifying experience: Positions that require judgment and employing the principles of management accounting and financial management are accepted.

Typical tasks:

  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Monthly, quarterly, and year-end close
  • Auditing (external or internal)
  • Budget preparation and reporting
  • Manage general ledger and balance sheets
  • Forecasting
  • Company investment decision making
  • Costing analysis
  • Risk evaluation
  • Management information systems analysis
  • Management accounting and auditing in government, finance, or industry
  • Auditing in public accounting

Is teaching experience accepted?

Teaching is considered a qualifying experience if the following conditions are met:

  • It’s a full-time job.
  • At least 60% of the course taught is accounting or finance.
  • The content of finance or accounting is beyond the introductory level.

Is part-time experience accepted?

Part-time positions that require 20 hours of work per week are accepted if they meet the above requirements, but each two years of experience are considered to be equal to one year of full-time experience.

CMA Examination

You must pass the two exam parts:

  • Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics (4 hours – 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essays)
  • Part 2: Strategic Financial Management (4 hours – 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essays)

You can find a detailed outline here.

Exam Format

Each exam part consists of two sections:

  • MCQ questions
    100 questions
    3 hours, if you finish earlier; remaining time is allocated to the essay section.

You must answer at least 50% correct to continue to the essay section.

  • Essay questions
    2 essay questions, each essay question may consist of 10-12 written response or calculation questions
    1 hour

Exam results

Exam results are emailed approximately six weeks from the end of the month in which you tested.

The passing score is 350 out of 500.

Candidate Conduct

False credentials will result in expulsion from the CMA program and the IMA.

You must not disclose the contents of the exams to anyone. You also can’t take any exam material from the test center.

Cheating is a violation of the IMA’s statement of ethical professional practice and will result in expulsion from the IMA.

Ready to start?