Certified Management Accountant is an exciting credential in the accounting and finance industry. It is an internationally recognised credential that has the power to transform an individual’s career. But understanding the way to becoming one can be incredibly difficult. In this article, a detailed description of the steps involved in the process of becoming a CMA is explained. There are common misconceptions concerning CMAs, one among the many is that the path to achieving the CMA qualification is challenging. As said, it’s just one of the misconceptions. The truth is that becoming a CMA is absolutely attainable. All you will need is proper guidance on how and where to start your CMA journey and the processes that fall their way. Below, we have explained the 10 steps that you can follow to make your CMA journey incredibly smooth and make the world’s most sophisticated title yours.
The confusion and misconceptions regarding CMA qualifications have resulted in the inception of various CMA course where all the necessary steps to becoming a CMA is explained thoroughly. Let’s take a look into the milestones of the CMA journey step by step.
1) Meet the Educational Requirements for CMA
The first and foremost step towards becoming a CMA is meeting the education requirements established by the Institute of Management Accountants. In order to become a CMA, the IMA guidelines request individuals to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field.
2) Become an IMA Member
Becoming a member of the Institute of Management Accountants is the second step in your CMA journey. The IMA membership will provide you access to the CMA exam preparation materials, employment boards and courses to continue your education in the field of management accounting which will help you in maintaining your certification. The IMA offers different membership options, which are IMA Professional members, IMA Students members, and IMA Academic members.
3) Join the CMA Program
After becoming an IMA member, becoming a CMA candidate is only one step ahead. By joining the CMA program, you will get access to the CMA exam support package. This enrolment requires you to pay a CMA entrance fee which can vary depending on your IMA membership. The enrolment fee for the CMA program is a one-time, non-refundable fee that is to be paid before taking the CMA exam. The IMA provides a 3-year validity for this CMA program within which members are to complete the program and pass both parts of the CMA exam.
4) Enrol in a CMA Course
Although the CMA program and IMA membership come with access to the CMA support package and CMA exam preparation materials, candidates don’t usually find them helpful. That’s where the CMA course comes into the picture. The CMA course is a cutting-edge training program where CMA-certified professionals train candidates on the tips and tricks to ace the CMA exam. It will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and exam-taking strategies.
5) Build a Study Plan and Start Studying
Everyone has a different pace of learning concepts. The actual time that is to be allotted when studying for the CMA exam differs from person to person. Building a study plan is an important step in the CMA journey. You can develop a study plan that is unique and suitable to your learning style. Once you build your study plan, you can start studying and preparing yourself for the CMA exam. By doing so, you will have a better track of your progress.
6) Register and Pay the Fees for CMA Exam
The IMA offers 3 windows in a year for taking the CMA exam which falls in January-February, May-June, and September-October. Alongside your CMA exam preparation, you can go through the exam dates and register yourself for the exam. CMA exam registration can be done upon paying the examination fees which are to be paid separately for each part and is different for individuals depending on their IMA membership.
7) Take the CMA Exam
Once you have registered and paid the fees for your CMA exam, all you should have in your mind is to be prepared for the D day. The CMA exam is a 2-part, computer-based exam, each part is 4 hours where the first 3 hours are dedicated to multiple choice questions and the final hour to 2-essay questions. Although IMA does provide you with the option of taking both exam parts in the same window, experts suggest taking each part separately. By doing so, you will have ample time to study and prepare for each part individually. This will also help in boosting your confidence.
8) Accomplish the Experience Requirements
Completing two years of professional experience is another mandatory requirement established by the IMA for candidates to achieve the CMA certificate. The IMA gives its members the luxury to complete their professional experience qualification either before or within 7 years of passing the CMA exam. This system makes achieving the CMA certificate easy for college students or individuals with no or less professional experience.
9) Apply and Get the CMA Certificate
Now that you met all your eligibility requirements and acquired the passing score for your CMA exam, all that is left to do is to make that golden badge yours. Upon the completion of experience qualifications and exam, you will get awarded the CMA credential. It is the mark of domain excellence and helps you land high-paying jobs in the world’s most prestigious organizations.
10) Comply with Ethical Standards and CPE
While getting awarded the CMA certificate is the end of your acquiring CMA journey, this is not the ultimate stop. The IMA demands credential holders to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses each year to keep their certification active. Of these 30 hours, two hours are to be dedicated to studies in the area of ethics and compliance with the IMA’a statement of ethics for professional practitioners.
That’s it… Is it as taunting as the myths portray??? Definitely no. If you got the right guidance and a clear understanding of what to do, achieving the almighty CMA certification is a piece of cake.