Changes to CMA Program

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by friartuck, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    I just came across this information on yet another revision of the CMA exam. At this point I don't know that I would advise this as a private industry CPA alternative. It seems more like a very narrow add-on certificate.

    I think the best advice to accounting students is to get the required UD accounting credits and if necessary the 150 credits and sit for the CPA exam.

    For those who doubt they can acquire qualifying CPA experience, an alternative to CPA exam might be to take the Enrolled Agent Exam plus the ACAT Accounting exam:,,id=100710,00.html
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I'm glad to hear the CMA is now only a two-part exam instead of the previous four. It is very expensive to acquire accounting certifications, primarily due to the multiple-exam format of each cert. This is good news.
  3. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    I don't care about the length...and it was 5 grueling parts when I took it. I don't like the reduced content, the elimination of the external reporting part as well as other relevant portions. The focus seems to be directed narrowly towards CFO aspirants. This seems like a wierd amalgamation of the old part 4 (when I took the exam) and the discontinued CFM designation.

    I just hope this doesn't kill the designation.
  4. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I may have spoken too soon. Each part of that two-part exam is $350. :(
  5. sshuang

    sshuang New Member

    In addition, you also need to be a member of ICMA in order to enroll in the CMA program. It's just way too expensive.
  6. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    At the risk of sounding snarky, I actually think this is the best thing the IMA could do.

    To be frank, the CMA hasn't been a competitor to the CPA credential in some time.

    APICS went through this with their name change in the 90s and CIRM credential. Instead of focusing on inventory and production management, they tried to be the 'resource management' folks and unveiled what was a weak alternative to an MBA in the CIRM. The result? Few signed up for it and the organization was forced to refocus. They're back to the being about operations management. The CIRM has folded. And their newest certification is a 1-test exam on supply chain management.

    The best thing that could happen for the IMA is that CPA's in industry might adopt it in greater numbers. Eliminating duplicate content a CPA is supposed to know anyway (like external reporting) and focusing on CFO material is actually relevant. Those who aren't CPA's but are CMA's will benefit from the association.

    Trying to be a 2nd best CPA designation isn't a sustainable strategy. IMA's numbers have been down for some time. Reconfiguring the exam requirements is a smart move.
  7. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    I guess I never saw the CMA as a competitor per se. I saw it as a designation for industry accountants and finance people who didn't want to be in public accounting or could never acquire the PA experience, yet wished to demonstrate the basic skills required of industry accountants. I think the content should reflect the KSA's of an entry level accountant much as the CPA tests the KSA's required of an entry level public accountant.

    I thought the old CMA tested a nice cross section of subjects applicable to industry accounting and finance. The designation has declined rapidly in popularity, I think because of a series of unfortunate decisions by the IMA perhaps starting in the late 80's. I think the test was tinkered with and watered down, I know the individual pass rates in the early 80's was in the 20% range for some sections. Now it's like 50% or greater. And they've never marketed the designation well in the US.

    Personally I think they should throw in the towel, but if they can inject some value back into the designation that would be great.
  8. sshuang

    sshuang New Member

    CIMA is rather prestige in UK and Common Wealth countries. I wonder why CMA couldn't do the same in the US. It seems like people in US care less about designation.
  9. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    Well, I don't think you can market it that well to be frank because the CPA is the known entity. And you don't have to have PA experience in many states to be a CPA and CPA's work in industry so...

    What they're doing now is smart. If they tailor it to be about internal accounting and controls solely, they're capable of developing a nice niche.

    Make it easy for CPA's to do it and some will (especially those in industry who think their careers have stalled). When more CPA's take it on and promote it, you can grow it. It can't be a competitor but it can be a complement. This is almost classic Michael Porter stuff. They've decided to differentiate.

    And, trust me, any accounting certification (especially one with multiple exams) is a competitor to the CPA designation.

    Their next step should be to offer it at a greatly reduced rate to CPA's. What they need now is volume. Let CPA's take the test for $50. When 50% of the eligible CPA's fail it, they'll have more respect for those with it.
  10. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    Each state decides what qualifies for CPA experience. Until fairly recently industry experience did not. The fact is that many folks don't have the required experience in their state to get the license. Also, many folks don't have the 150 hours or proper number of credits in accounting in order to sit for CPA exam. There's a void now for industry accountants.

    CPA's don't need an add-on for industry. The credential is strong enough to stand on its own. The AICPA also has additional certifications but they're really not well known. The AICPA smartly adds econ, finance, IT while the IMA guts it? The IMA continues pulling this designation down the drain of obscurity and irrelevance.

    No, I don't think this is good, but we'll see.
  11. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    I don't know what you mean by fairly recently. The AICPA recommends that industry experience be considered. And has for some time.

    Also, how would you plan to market the CMA? Hey, this is the certification for people without the hours or experience? Not going to work...

    And no, the CPA doesn't need an add-on but certifications like the CIA or CFE are going strong. Why? Because they occupy a niche. Same with CISA. Only the CMA tried to be a rival. And look where that got them - admitting that the certification, despite being available for 35 years, isn't really widely known.

    Again, the best thing for them to do would be to change the exam to focus, not be a 'catch all'. If they'd could go back in time, a name change to Certified Cost Accountant instead of Certified Management Accountant would have done them wonders too.
  12. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    As long as one state does not require public experience, it is irrelevant what other states have decided.

    If you do not practice in public, it does not matter in which state you are licensed. Those in industry practice may simply become licensed in the state of their choosing.
  13. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    Within the last 10 years.

    I don't think you market it against the CPA credential. You figure out your target market and go after it. I think that would be entry level folks and career changers mainly...just like the CPA is directed towards entry level public accountants.

    If you position the CMA as a practical industry credential with reasonable educational requirements against rent seeking AICPA's recommended 150 credits you should pick up plenty of interest, provided the exam is relevant and hard.

    Industry accounting and finance is not a niche market. I think there are about 300,000-400,000 CPA's in the US vs over a million accountants altogether.

    As far as Vincey's point about jurisdiction shopping. It might or might not work. First, be sure you never want to practice public accounting in your own state or you may have to take the exam over again. Also, make sure that you aren't prohibited from using the designation in your state if you're not licensed. I talked to the CPA board inspector in my state and he told me that a person may not put it on a resume, correspondence or even respond to jobs which require a CPA certificate. Also be aware that jurisdiction shopping isn't an easy proposition. Let's say you want to take the New Hampshire exam. You cannot get a NH certificate unless your experience is under a CPA.

    As SShuang says the CIMA is prestigous overseas. I think the CMA might have been except for ham fisted decisons over the years.
  14. sshuang

    sshuang New Member

    The interests in CIA exams have picked up dramatically in the past few years due to the SOX of 2002. Can something happen in the industry that boosts the demand for CMA?

    Currently, I am enrolling in the Certified Treasury Professional program. I thought it’s going to be a piece of cake as I have over 10 years of accounting experience, plus a year and half of treasury experience mainly in FX hedging. I could only scored 50-60% on the sample exams at the end of each module before tackling on the materials.

    Anyway, has anyone even heard of CTP? ICMA used to offer CFM designation. It was discontinued because there wasn’t really much demand for it. Would CTP eventually end up the same fate as CFM?
  15. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    That's a new one to me. What does one do with it?
  16. sshuang

    sshuang New Member

    The designation is offered by Association for Financial Professionals and is mainly for treasury and financial professionals. The exam is very comprehensive and probably covers more than CFM exam used to.
  17. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    I have friends in banking and finance that have the CTP designation. I don't think it will go away.

    Regarding the CMA, I think it's good that they changed the focus. There was a big overlap with the CPA exam, and if you had passed the CPA exam they waived some segments for you. I think they should stop competing with the CPA and promote the CMA on its merits. I am looking at the CMA or CTP because I don't want to go back and get extra accounting classes in order to get my CPA license. I may do it some day but the CTP and CMA designations are more accessible.
  18. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

  19. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    My prediction? It'll die on the vine. It's smart to make the CMA a complement to existing programs because it occupies a niche. It's not so smart to offer a certification for basic skills or skills covered in other programs.

    What would this 'financial accounting' certification cover exactly? The average college student in Accounting takes Intermediate I-III, which is 'Financial Accounting'. Granted, the IMA wants to give access to folks from alternate pathways but if that worked, why would they need to redesign the CMA.

    For anyone who thinks this is a good idea, be aware that what this accomplishes is splitting the CMA into two separate programs, one of which will be undoubtedly seen as a 'weak sister'.

    All things to all people = good way to be nothing much...
  20. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    I don't care for this. I don't see the point.

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