What Are the Duties of a Certified Management Accountant?

Certified management accountants work closely with CEOs and business owners to develop sound financial strategies in a professional environment. Read on to learn more about what a certified management accountant does and how you can break into the field. Schools offering Managerial Accountancy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Defined

A certified management accountant (CMA) is an accountant who specializes in financial planning and decision making and has earned certification from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). You can become certified by meeting IMA's eligibility qualifications, such as possessing a bachelor's degree, becoming a member of IMA, having at least two years of related experience, and passing a certification exam.

Important Facts about This Occupational Field

Median Salary (2014) $65,940 (for accountants and auditors)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 13% (for accountants and auditors)
Key Skills Organizational, communication, math, detail-oriented, analytical
Similar Occupations Certified Public Accountant, accounting clerk, budget analyst, personal financial advisor, financial analyst

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

CMA versus CPA

A CMA credential is different from the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. If you work primarily for businesses and large corporations keeping records and planning for future income and expenditures, you may want the CMA. If you focus on reviewing records and taxation issues, you may want to earn the CPA credential. CPAs work for individuals, government agencies, and accounting firms, as well as corporations.

Educational and Professional Requirements

In order to become a CMA, you will first need to have a bachelor's degree. Your degree can be in any subject area, but it may be helpful to pursue a major in accounting. While working toward an accounting degree, you will study mathematics, business, accounting methods, auditing, and financial analysis. After obtaining your bachelor's degree, you need two to three years' experience in the accounting fields before you are eligible to become CMA-certified.

Certification Exam

Your final step in becoming a CMA is to pass the certification exam. The two-part exam covers the broad topics of financial planning and financial decision making. The planning section includes questions on budgeting and cost management, and the decision-making section covers subjects such as investing, corporate finance, and risk management.

Job Duties

As a CMA, some of your duties and responsibilities may include dealing with financial strategies set forth by your employer. You may be asked for advice on issues involving taxes, risk and cost management, financial planning, and forecasting. You will confer directly with management, owners, and CEOs and advise on proper financial planning, control, and decision making.

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