CMA Experience Requirement: Determine Your Eligibility

As you know, to become a CMA you are required to have two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management.

Unfortunately, this CMA experience requirement can be quite confusing for many, particularly for those who aren’t sure if their current job is considered eligible.

If you are unsure about the eligibility of your current position, here are a few ways to determine whether or not you fit the CMA experience requirement.

3 Tips for Determining CMA Experience Eligibility

If you want to become a CMA then here are a few factors to consider if you are questioning the eligibility of your current work experience.

1. Is Your Work Experience Relevant?

Firstly, it may be helpful to review what the actual CMA Candidate Handbook deems to be appropriate work experience. The 2014 handbook states:

Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgments regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management. Such employment includes:

  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Monthly, quarterly and year end close
  • Auditing (external or internal)
  • Budget preparation and reporting
  • Manage general ledger and balance sheets
  • Forecasting
  • Company investment decision making
  • Costing analysis
  • Risk evaluation

Chances are you’re reading that and still thinking the definition is pretty broad. Well, that’s because it is.

The truth is, as long as your work is in the capacity of an internal or external audit or financial analysis within a corporation, handing financial statements and how they affect the company, or analyzing and reporting on financial investments for a company, then your work can be considered eligible.

2. Does Your Experience Include Analysis?

A critical aspect of consideration for CMA experience is whether or not you are analyzing data.

If you are simply inputting data or preparing journal entries, but not actually analyzing or considering any of the data, then your experience will likely not be considered.

Additionally, if you are not in any sort of accounting or financial field, but rather in an area like HR, marketing or sales, then this will not be considered eligible either.

3. Are You a Permanent Employee?

Though internships and trainee programs are a great way to gain valuable experience, they are not considered the same as being a permanent hire in the eyes of the IMA.

You must be considered a permanent employee for two consecutive years for your experience to count.

There is one caveat here though – your two years can be made up of part-time work as long as you clock a minimum of 20 hours per week for 4 consecutive years. Two years of part time work is considered the equivalent of one year full time.

Some of you may be thinking to yourself, “But Nathan, I have a decade of financial experience running my own business” for example.

Well good news, the IMA does take special cases into consideration. In these cases you must submit a proposal containing your job description showing how your experience qualifies.

Just a reminder that your CMA experience requirement can be fulfilled prior to sitting for the CMA exam or within 7 years of completing the exam.

If you have any more questions regarding your work experience, I would encourage you to reach out to the IMA. They have a work verification form on their official website and you can email it to them at ima[@]imanet.org.

Until next time, 

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P.S. Did you know that my highly successful online CMA prep course is now open for enrollment? Click here to learn more about how I can coach you until you become a CMA. 

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13 Comments on “CMA Experience Requirement: Determine Your Eligibility”

  1. Nathan , I recently subscribed for your online webinar. But I couldn’t watch it. I wanted to watch it. Send me its url address. I am very much looking forward to enroll for cma part 2 Lite Course .

  2. Hi Nathan,

    Your blog helped me a lot for selecting CMA studies. I already registered for the course and want to confirm that my work experience is sufficient to get CMA charter. My present work designation is Senior Manager (Middle management level) since last 4 years. (3 years as Branch Head and now since last 1 year as Forex back office head). will tat experience be relevant?

    1. Hi Nivedhitha,

      You may fulfill your CMA experience requirement after passing the CMA exam within seven years.

      According to the CMA Handbook,

      “Candidates for the CMA Certification must complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination. Academics can meet this requirement if at least 60% of their course load is in accounting and corporate financial management courses above the principles level. Professional experience is expected to be gained in full-time employment. However, continuous part-time positions of 20 hours per week meeting the definition of qualified experience will count toward this requirement at a rate of one year of experience for every two years of part-time employment.

      Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgments regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management.
      Such employment includes:
      • Preparation of financial statements
      • Financial planning & analysis
      • Monthly, quarterly, and year end close
      • Auditing (external or internal)
      • Budget preparation & reporting
      • Manage general ledger and balance sheets
      • Forecasting
      • Company investment decision making
      • Costing analysis
      • Risk evaluation

      Employment requiring the occasional application of management accounting principles such as in computer operations, sales and marketing, manufacturing,
      engineering, personnel, and general management will not satisfy this requirement. Internships and trainee, clerical, or non-technical positions do not provide appropriate experience to fulfill this requirement.”

      For complete details about the CMA exam, you may check the link below:

      http://www.imanet.org/docs/default-source/cma-lib/cma_handbook_2016.pdf?sfvrsn=8

      Thanks and Regards,
      Nathan

  3. Hi…Nathan…Very much informative content..But still i have some more ambiguty regarding this requirement.i want to know…Do i need to have 2 years of professional experince to pursue CMA if i already have MBA finance degree…Please reply me

    1. Hi Azeez,

      Yes, you’ll need to gain 2 years of relevant professional experience despite your degree. There are 2 requirements that you need to meet in order to become certified: the education requirement AND the experience requirement.

      However, you can also fulfill them within 7 years of passing the exams.

  4. Hi Nathan
    I am planning for CMA course. I do not have any work experience. After clearing my CMA exam( both levels) can I get the job on the basis of this?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Anuj,

      Even if you cannot meet the experience requirement yet to get certified as a CMA, by passing both exams you can demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge to distinguish you from your non-certified peers, which will help you find a good job and subsequently fast-track your career.

      Cheers!

  5. Hi…Nathan…I am Sahil from India..I am a commerce graduate and working in operation department of a manufacturing company from past 3 years..do i need to go for professional registration or student registration?

    1. Hi Sahil,

      The student membership is only available for students who are taking 6 or more credit hours per semester. If that is not your case, then the professional membership is probably the right one for you.

      Cheers

  6. I have a bachelors degree in accounting and am single again, reentering the workforce after 13 years. I would like to know is there any accounting professional certifications I can earn without having a masters degree/additional accounting hours

    1. Yes, the CMA certification is one of them – to meet the education requirement you only need to hold a bachelor’s degree.

      Click here to learn more about this certification.

      Best wishes!

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