Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What differentiates a CMA® from a CPA?

2. What are the other professional accounting bodies in Australia?

3. If I have a recognized accounting qualification such as CPA, do I still have to become a GMA® or AMA® first?

4. How do I qualify to become a CMA®?

5. What do you mean by "recognized" accounting qualification?

6. What do you mean by an "accredited" university?

7. Which Universities and other providers conduct subjects accredited by ICMA in the CMA® Program?

8. Is there a membership category for those who don't have an accredited degree or approved professional qualification, but still interested in managerial accounting?

9. Do I have to sit exams to become a CMA®?

10. Where do the courses run?

11. If I don't have an accounting degree, can I still become a CMA®?

12. If I am a part qualified accountant, can I still become a CMA?®

13. If I have an Australian TAFE Advanced Diploma, can I still become a CMA®?

14. Will I get University Credit for the subjects I do with ICMA?

15. Is the CMA® qualification recognized for immigration into Australia?
 

 

1. What differentiates a CMA® from a CPA?

A Certified Management Accountant (CMA®) is part of the management team, focusing on business strategy and strategic decision-making. A CMA® understands the business formula for delivering value to the customer, arriving at strategies for identifying, developing, marketing and evaluating a product or service throughout the entire life cycle. He or she assesses the competitive environment and ascertains whether there is a sustainable competitive advantage. Unlike a CPA, which emphasize financial reporting, auditing, theoretical applications and after-the-fact verification, the CMA® looks to the future to provide real-world strategic direction, business management and leadership. A CMA® creates value, instead of just measuring it.

 

 

2. What are the other professional accounting bodies in Australia?

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA) and CPA Australia are the two large accounting bodies in Australia. There are two smaller bodies, the National Institute of Accountants-NIA (operating at the Diploma "Accounting Technician" level) and the Institute of Certified Management Accountants-ICMA (operating at the Masters degree "Accounting Specialist" level).

 

The education programs of the ICMA mainly consist of a Graduate Conversion Program for non-accounting graduates, and a Certification (CMA) program for accountants. In Australia and other countries, these subjects are taught within university masters degree programs such as the MBA and Master of Professional Accounting programs. As such, whilst the NIA originated as a professional body for those holding Technical College Advanced Diplomas, and the Chartered and CPA qualifications are for undergraduate degree holders, the ICMA is a very specialized body at the post-graduate end of the profession. In fact, most members have masters' degrees or are already qualified as a CA or CPA, and must have at least 5 years relevant professional experience.

 

 

3. If I have a recognized accounting qualification such as CPA, do I still have to become a GMA® or AMA® first?

No, you may wish to undertake the CMA® Program as a student, and upon completion, apply for CMA® membership directly if you have over 5 years relevant experience.

 

 

4. How do I qualify to become a CMA®?

Those with an "Accounting" background (such as an accounting degree, CA or CPA) need to do 2 specialist electives, which is the CMA® Program, to get the CMA® certification as follows:

A. Strategic Business Analysis

B. Strategic Cost Management

 

 

5. What do you mean by "recognized" accounting qualification?

A recognised accounting qualification is either:

1. An undergraduate degree with an accounting specialization (at least 25% of the degree must be accounting and finance subjects) from an "accredited" university, or

2. A professional accounting qualification from a body granted a Royal Charter or Government Charter. Most "Certified" bodies are also acceptable, however, in some countries, as the word "Certified" is not a restricted term, there are some accounting bodies using "certified" in their title that would be unacceptable to the ICMA as a recognised accounting qualification.

3. Those holding membership of the following accounting professional bodies HAVE been recognised in the past by the ICMA as having a recognised accounting qualification.

- CMA Certification of the Institute of Management Accountants (USA)

- All Chartered Accounting bodies worldwide

- AICPA (USA)

- CPA Australia

- MIA (Malaysia)

- MICPA (Malaysia)

- ICPAS (Singapore)

- ICWA (India)

- ICMA (Pakistan)

- CIMA (UK)

- CACA (UK)

- ICSA (UK)

- CGA (Canada)

- SMA (Canada)

- CPAC (China)

- CPA (Philippines)

4. Those holding membership of the following accounting (and related) bodies HAVE NOT been recognised in the past by the ICMA as having a recognised accounting qualification.

  • Association of International Accountants (UK)

  • Association of Cost and Executive Accountants (UK)

  • Society of Certified Management Accountants (Sri Lanka)

  • Associate of the Institute of Co-operative and Management Accountants, (Malaysia).

  • CPA Ireland

  • CPA International (there are many bodies with this name operating in different countries)

  • Institute of Financial Accountants (UK)

  • Chartered Financial Management Analyst (USA)

  • Chartered Portfolio & Investment Manager (USA)

  • Chartered Trust and Estate Planner (USA)

  • Certified Economic Policy Analyst (USA)

  • The Registered Financial Planners Institute (USA)

  • Society of Registered Financial Planners Limited (HK)

  • Institute of Financial Consultants

  • Association of Financial Planners (UK)

  • Chartered Business Administrator (USA)

  • Chartered Business Administrator (Canada)

  • Institute of Professional Financial Managers

 

 

6. What do you mean by an "accredited" university?

In most countries the word University is a protected name, and granted to institutions after significant demonstration of academic rigor and research scholarship. However in some countries the word "University" is registered as a business name, and degrees are granted for "life experience". A majority of such universities are in the USA and UK, but there are some in Asia, Europe and Africa. The ICMA considers as "accredited" only those universities accredited by the 5 regional accrediting agencies in the USA, or those that have a Royal Charter as a university in the UK. In most other countries, as the word "University" is strictly controlled, the ICMA will recognise all such institutions registered in their countries as universities.

Those holding "degrees" of the following "Universities" HAVE NOT been recognized in the past by the ICMA as having a recognized university degree.

Pacific Western University (USA), Columbia Pacific University (USA), American University of Asia (Sri Lanka), European University of Ireland, Fairfax University (USA), Clayton University (USA), Newport University (USA), International University (USA), Rushmore University (USA), Somerset University (UK), Washington International University (USA).

Please see www.unidegree.com (under "Accreditation") for a full list of unaccredited universities.

 

 

7. Which Universities and other providers conduct subjects accredited by ICMA in the CMA® Program?

  • Wharton Institute of Technology and Science (WITS), Australia

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Sri Lanka (ICASL), Sri Lanka

  • IPMI (Indonesian Institute for Management Development), Indonesia

  • Telekom Training College, Malaysia

  • University of Utara Malaysia, Malaysia

  • School of Professional and Continuing Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  • University of Balamand, Tripoli, Lebanon

  • Hamidi Business Services, Lebanon

  • First Canvas Training Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

  • A&B International, China 

  • Graduate School of Management, Papua New Guinea 

  • BSI, Philippines

 

 

8. Is there a membership category for those who don't have an accredited degree or approved professional qualification, but still interested in managerial accounting?

Due to overwhelming interest in managerial accounting in recent times, there are many individuals who may not have formal qualifications in managerial accounting, but either practice as such, or wish to have an interest in the field.

 

As such, the Institute has a new membership category for such individuals, Management Accounting Affiliate with the use of the post-nominals MAA, with open entry for those with either 2 years supervisory managerial experience or 3 years of running one's own business. This category of members would be required to undertake an approved continuing professional development (CPD) program within 2-years of being granted such membership.

 

 

9. Do I have to sit exams to become a CMA®?

Yes, if you are a qualified accountant, have at least five year approved practical experience and have completed the CMA® Program.

 

If you are a qualified accountant, and have over 20-years relevant experience you be exempted from having to sit for exams (under ICMA’s 20-year rule). However you still have to attend and follow the CMA® course and do the assessments within it when it runs, even though you then do not then have to sit the exams. Those having between 10-20 relevant experience have a choice of sitting the 2-paper exams OR writing a 2,000 word assignment. They too have to attend and follow the CMA® course and do the assessments within it when it runs.

 

 

10. Where do the courses run?

Courses run in Universities (as university subjects in Masters degree programs) and via ICMA accredited Recognised Provider Institutions. Courses run in Australia, Singapore, HK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Macau, China, Sri Lanka, India and now the Philippines.

 

 

11. If I don't have an accounting degree, can I still become a CMA®?

Those with degrees in fields other than accounting need to do four prerequisite (GMA® conversion) subjects, before they do the above two, i.e.:

  1. Financial Modelling (Accounting with Excel modelling)

  2. Financial Management

  3. Management Accounting

  4. Financial Statement Analysis

 

Completion of these four subjects will give you Graduate Management Accountant (GMA®) status, and if you have three years relevant experience, Associate Management Accountant (AMA®) status.

 

 

12. If I am a part qualified accountant, can I still become a CMA?®

Those who are part qualified students of recognised professional bodies (such as stage 3 of CIMA or ACCA) need to do four prerequisite (conversion) subjects, before they do the above two, i.e.:

  1. Financial Modelling (Accounting with Excel modelling)

  2. Financial Management

  3. Management Accounting

  4. Financial Statement Analysis

 

Completion of these four subjects will give you Graduate Management Accountant (GMA®) status, and if you have three years relevant experience, Associate Management Accountant (AMA®) status.

 

 

13. If I have an Australian TAFE Advanced Diploma, can I still become a CMA®?

Those holders of Australian TAFE Advanced Diplomas in Accounting need to do four prerequisite (conversion) subjects, before they do the above two, i.e.:

  1. Financial Modelling (Accounting with Excel modelling)

  2. Financial Management

  3. Management Accounting

  4. Financial Statement Analysis

 

Completion of these four subjects will give you Graduate Management Accountant (GMA®) status, and if you have three years relevant experience, Associate Management Accountant (AMA®) status.

 

 

14. Will I get University Credit for the subjects I do with ICMA?

Most Australian and overseas MBA programs do the following two subjects as part of their core:

  1. Financial Modelling (Accounting with Excel modelling)

  2. Financial Management

 

This really means only two further electives are required for a non-accounting degree holder to finish the "conversion program" before going on to do the two CMA® program subjects. Thus a non-accountant can get an MBA, CMA® by doing four electives, in addition to their core MBA units, as follows:

  1. Management Accounting

  2. Financial Statement Analysis

  3. Advanced Management Accounting

  4. Advanced Strategic Management Accounting

 

For this reason it has been extremely popular since 1997, and over 400 masters degree students in Australia, Singapore, HK, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have taken advantage of this stream to obtain the CMA® certification along with their Masters degree.

 

 

15. Is the CMA® qualification recognized for immigration into Australia?

The Institute does not enter into correspondence as to if CMA® is a recognised qualification for purposes of migration requirements to Australia. It is aware, however, that some CMAs have obtained migration to Australia on a case-by-case basis.