How to Decide Between Pursuing a Certification of Cpa or Cma

The first certification we are going to look at is the Certified public accountant, also known as the CPA.  To earn a CPA certification in most states you must first earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a concentration in accounting. The next step is the dreaded CPA exam. Many people say that this is the hardest part of the whole CPA process. Lots of accountants have many sleepless nights preparing to take the CPA exam. The CPA exam has four parts to it. The first part is on financial accounting and reporting. Section is 4 hours with 3 multiple choice testlets and 2 simulation testlets. This section covers skills and knowledge of generally accepted accounting principals for business enterprises, not for profit organizations and governmental entities. The second part of the CPA exam is on Auditing and Attestation, and this section is 4.5 hours with 3 multiple choice testlets and 2 simulation testlets. This section covers knowledge of auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards and other standards related to attest engagements and the skills needed to apply that knowledge. The third part of the CPA exam is on Regulation, this section is 3 hours with 3 multiple choice testlets and 2 simulation testlets. This section focuses on skills and knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities and business law. The forth and final part of the CPA exam is on Business environment and concepts. This section of the test is 2.5 hours long with 3 multiple choice testlets. This section encompasses knowledge of the general business environment and business concepts that candidates needs to know for accounting. When you finally pass the CPA exam and start work as a CPA majority of your work will deal with financial accounting and auditing. So for the most part you will be preparing financial reports for firm for external parties such as investors, creditors, and tax authorities. The final requirement is you must have work experience in public accounting and supervised by an individual who is currently licensed to practice public accounting as a CPA. Getting your CPA can be very challenging but after receiving it can help you lead a very satisfying career in public accounting.


 The second certification we are going to look at is the Certified Management Accountant also known as the CMA. There are several requirements for the CMA certification. To qualify for the CMA you must first you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a major in any area of curriculum or score in the 50th percentile the GMAT (Graduation Management Admission Test) or the GRE (Graduation Record Examination).  You must also have 2 years of continuous of professional experience in management accountant or financial management.  The last requirement you have to fulfill is passing the CMA exam. The CMA EXAM is known to be just as strenuous as the CPA exam. The CMA exam has four parts the first part is on Business Analysis, it is 3 hours with a 110 multiple choice questions. The second part is on Management Accounting and reporting this part is 4 hours with 140 multiple choice questions. The third part is on Strategic Management and is 3 with 110 multiple choice questions. The last part is on Business applications it 3 hours and has 3-7 written response essay problems. The first 3 parts of the test is all computerized and can be taken all year round and you will get your results immediately at the testing site. But the final part of the test can only be taken during the months of February, may, august and only after you have taken and passed the first 3 parts of the exam, And it takes 4-7 weeks to receive your results for the final part of the exam. After you pass your CMA exam and become A Certified Management accountant your job description will be supporting decision making, planning and control. As a management accountant you will be a valued business partner, directly supporting your organization goals. Becoming A CMA can be very hard but once accomplished you will have a plethora of different career opportunities to chose from.

As you can see both Certifications will take a lot of hard work to acquire. Both certifications are essentials tools for success in the accounting career field. If you receive either of these certifications you will be on the path of a great career in accounting.

Student of West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Pursuing an Degree in Accounting.

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