CMA Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

The percentages show the relative weight range given to each section in the exam.

A. External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%

  • Financial Statements

    • Balance Sheets
    • Income Statements
    • Statement of Changes in Equity
    • Statement of Cash Flows
    • Integrated Reporting
  • Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, and Disclosure

    • Asset Valuation
    • Valuation of Liabilities
    • Equity Transactions
    • Revenue Recognition
    • Income Measurement
    • Significant differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS

B. Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting – 20%

  • Strategic planning

    • Analysis of internal and external factors affecting strategy
    • Long-term mission and goals
    • Alignment of tactics with long-term strategic goals
    • Analytical techniques and Strategic planning models
    • Characteristics of successful strategic planning process
  • Budgeting Concepts

    • Operations and performance goals
    • Characteristics of a successful budget process
    • Resource allocation
    • Other budgeting concepts
  • Forecasting techniques

    • Regression analysis
    • Learning Curve analysis
    • Expected value
  • Budgeting methodologies

    • Annual business plans (master budgets)
    • Project budgeting
    • Activity-based budgeting
    • Zero-based budgeting
    • Continuous (rolling) budgets
    • Flexible budgeting
  • Annual profit plan and supporting schedules

    • Operational
    • Financial
    • Capital
  • Top-level planning and analysis

    • Pro forma income
    • Financial statement projects
    • Cash flow projections

C. Performance Management – 20%

  • Cost and Variance Measures

    • Comparison of actual to planned results
    • Use of flexible budgets to analyze performance
    • Management by exception
    • Use of standard cost systems
    • Analysis of variation from standard cost expectations
  • Responsibility Centers and Reporting Segments

    • Types of responsibility centers
    • Transfer pricing
    • Reporting of organizational segments
  • Performance Measures

    • Product profitability analysis
    • Business unit profitability analysis
    • Customer profitability analysis
    • Return on investment
    • Residual income
    • Investment base issues
    • Key performance indicators (KPIs)
    • Balanced scorecard

D. Cost Management – 15%

  • Measurement concepts

    • Cost behavior and cost objects
    • Actual and normal costs
    • Standard costs
    • Absorption (full) costing
    • Variable (direct) costing
    • Joint and by-product costing
  • Costing Systems

    • Job order
    • Process
    • Activity-based
    • Life-cycle
    • Basic Financial Statement Analysis
  • Overhead costs

    • Fixed and variable overhead expenses
    • Plant-wide vs. departmental overhead
    • Determination of allocation base
    • Allocation of service department costs
  • Supply Chain Management

    • Lean resource management techniques
    • ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning
    • Theory of constraints
    • Capacity management and analysis
  • Business Process Improvement

    • Value chain analysis
    • Value-added concepts
    • Process analysis, redesign, and standardization
    • Activity-based management
    • Continuous improvement concepts
    • Best practice analysis
    • Cost of quality analysis
    • Efficient accounting processes

E. Internal Controls – 15%

  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance

    • Internal control structure and management philosophy
    • Internal control policies for safeguarding and assurance
    • Internal control risk
    • Corporate governance
    • External audit requirements
  • Systems Controls and Security Measures

    • General accounting system controls
    • Application and transaction controls
    • Network controls
    • Backup controls
    • Business continuity planning

F. Technology and Analytics – 15%

  • Information Systems

    • Accounting information systems
    • Enterprise resource planning systems
    • Enterprise performance management systems
  • Data Governance

    • Data policies and procedures
    • Life cycle of data
    • Controls against security breaches
  • Technology-Enabled Finance Transformation

    • System Development Life Cycle
    • Process automation
    • Innovative applications
  • Data Analytics

    • Business intelligence
    • Data mining
    • Analytic tools
    • Data visualization

65 Comments on “CMA Part 1”

  1. Dear ,

    I went 2 time for the CMA part 1 exam and did not pass , It the only part for me to get my cma I have chance till June 2014 , otherwise I had to take the 2 part . It seem my problem is the easy question . as I finish the MSQs and the essay opened for me .

    I am planing to go in Janurary 2014 .

    I really appreciate your support to help me pass this time

    1. Hi Hindoia,

      You are very close to achieving your CMA credential!! If your weakness area is the essay section, take a moment to read my latest blog post. I wrote all about the essay section of the exam. Let me know if you have any questions after reading it. I’m here to help 🙂

    1. Study diligently, memorize formulas, and take mock exams until you are scoring at least 80%. Best of luck!

  2. Hi this ayeda

    I want to know if aim going to purchase the CMA study guide and coach when it’s the possibility to be deliver as my exam after 1 month part one and aim from UAE

    thanks really and appreciated your achievements


    1. Ayeda,

      My study guide is delivered via email so you’ll get it within a few minutes after purchasing it 🙂

  3. alsalm 3lykom.
    hello dear
    I hold an MBA degree in finance and banking specialization and I want to attain CMA please advice me and provide an appropriate strategy to start.
    thank you:)

  4. please note that cma exam isn’t available in my country sudan cause of sanction program so if I ready to take it will cost me a lot, your advice is much more important 😮

  5. I have taken CPA exams several times and have failed by couple of points, I’m at the point of giving up it’s been on and off trying to pass, I was wondering if maybe I should be getting my CMA instead and if it is an easier exam than the CPA?

  6. Hi Nathan,

    I want know is this totally correspondence course and how many parts are there to complete a CMA.

    Thank you,

  7. Hello Mr. Nathan,

    I am really interested to do the CMA. I am already having MBA finance. Currently I am working in Saudi Arabia. Could you please brief what should I do for getting the CMA.

  8. hi, can you please let me know whether we can use same 2015 study materials for coming years CMA preparation.

    1. Hi Ancy,

      Yes, Ancy. The 2015 study materials can still be used for the coming years as there is no announced curriculum change from IMA yet.


  9. Dear Nathan,

    I have appeared twice for part 1 and failed to succeed both the times. Can you recommend any possible solution so that I can complete my certification since my membership is expiring by the end of December-2016. Kindly suggest any study material in particular so that I can focus better.



  10. Hi Nathan,
    Let me first congratulate you for the work you are doing,It is highly appreciable.Your help made me boost my confidence to do CMA.
    As you know CMA is uncommon as compared to CPA,so I always get confused to which course to do.
    Also just like you I have a full time job with household work,and I find very difficult to take out some time to study,So can you please help me as to how to approach to CMA.
    Also what % we need to pass each part(MCQ and Essay Individually)
    I am planning to part 1 first because it is comparatively difficult and I like to chase for that first.

    1. Hi Trupti,

      Please check our CMA Courses using this link.

      MCQ is 75% and Essay is 25% of your final score. You have to get 50% (or at least 50 correct MCQ items) of the 100 item MCQs in order to get to the essay portion. But that 50% should have a scaled score of at least 235 and have a perfect essay equivalent score of 125 to get a total of 360. The best way is to have at least 282 (75% x 375) scaled from your multiple choice questions or more and a decent score from your essay of 78-94 (62% to 75% of 125) to pass the exam.


  11. Hi sir ,
    First of all thank you for give good clarification about to CMA what exactly I needed.I am really interested to do the CMA .I am already having . currently I am not working and house wife too …so I didn’t have working experience too ….is working experience required for doing CMA?

    1. Hi Sherinaz,

      The two-year working experience requirement can be fulfilled prior to or within seven years after passing the exam. You can take the CMA exam and attain the “CMA Passer” status until you complied with the CMA experience requirement.

      Thanks and Regards,

  12. Hi Rajesh Here,

    When can I complete the exam if I purchase the course in this month?

    Thanks in advance


    1. Hi Rajesh,

      If you purchase the course this month, we can advise you to take the exam either on the last week of February or more preferably, in May.

      Thanks and Regards,

  13. Dear Nathan,

    I’m a finance guy with 4 years of experience in a Treasury Dept. I’m actually debating between CMA or CTP.

    So my question is, what should I go for and why?

    1. Hi Haitham,

      If you are planning to specifically target Treasury as a long-term career, then, I would suggest pursuing CTP. But if you would like to expand your competitive reach in the corporate world, it would be best to take the CMA. Treasury is only one aspect of management accounting. Management accounting covers a lot of disciplines from accounting to economics to corporate finance. The CMA exam is a broader than CTP. It covers financial planning, analysis and decision-making (recently, the CMA expanded on external financial reporting). Regardless of what you choose, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Keep learning and improving, Haitham!


  14. Hi sir ,
    I am really interested to do the CMA .I am already having . Since 8 years i’m working as an accountant in a contracting company … is CMA is only related to cost accounting?? really confused on this. but i would like to get a professional qualification also.

    1. Hi Tanya,

      Based on IMA’s LOS, there’s always chance that the question you mentioned will be tested but to a very limited extent.


  15. i am Abdiwahab
    I am really interested to do the CMA .I am already having . Since last 4 years i’m working as an accountant in a contracting company. really confused on this. but i would like to starta professional qualification. please advice me which one to start?

    1. Hi Abdiwahab. If management positions are appealing to you, then go for the CMA, you won’t regret it. Wish you best of luck in your journey and if you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out!

  16. Hi Nathan,

    Im Vignesh Ravi, an IT graduate. Due to some issues I couldnt take up Commerce as my High-School Major but now I want to move to the Finance & Accounting field and I was adviced to take up CMA. Do you its a right move to make by taking up CMA exam now. If not, can you suggest any possible carrier that could take me to the Finance stream.

    Looking forward to you speedy reply.

    1. Hi Vignesh,

      If you have a bachelor’s degree in any area, then the CMA will be the fastest track to get you into accounting and even position you to obtain a management accounting job in the future. You can learn more here.

      I’m happy to answer any further questions you may have.

  17. I am a planning to take up CMA course as my career.I am an average student..not that much sharp in accounting and finance you feel it as a right move..?in which all fields should I be more careful regarding taking up CMA?reply me asap.

    1. Hi Rijas,

      The process of preparing for the exam will help you sharpen your skills in management accounting, so you don’t need to worry about that, especially if you choose to study with a coach who will be by your side throughout your journey to answer all the questions you have and help you grasp the material faster and easier.

      For more information, check the roadmap to becoming a CMA here.

      Best wishes!

  18. sir i have done mba in finance and has experience in differnt field . i want to do cma. please advise

  19. I have been studying CMA for a couple months, but the materials from the Wiley CMA doesn’t really helpful, because it does not contain specific details. Can anyone suggest me the other materials to study?

    1. Hi Kate,

      I suggest you to supplement your current study materials with this coaching course. It includes in-depth video lectures on all topics tested on the CMA exam and unlimited 1-on-1 coaching so you can ask as many questions as you need to fully understand the material.

    1. Hi Suliman,

      I can help you prepare for the CMA exam via my coaching course, check it here.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

    1. Hi Prakhar,

      It takes around 200 hours of studying to prepare for one part of the exam.

      Click here to learn more about the CMA certification and how to obtain it.

      Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  20. I am interested in the knowledge and its application rather than the exam itself. How can you help?

    1. Hi Diaa,

      Since you’re only interested in the knowledge and its application, my suggestion is to purchase textbooks and a test bank to learn the material. The textbooks will provide you with the knowledge, and the test bank will help you apply that knowledge in various scenarios and test your level of comprehension.

  21. Sir I want to know that it is very hard to crack CMA exam. I wanted to apply for this exam. Please tell me in which institute I must prefer for CMA entrance exam.

  22. Hello Nathan,

    In today’s competitive world just doing a course won’t get you a job unless you have experience. After doing CMA what about experience?


    1. Hi Deepti,

      In order to obtain the CMA certification, candidates are also required to submit the experience requirement to the IMA. Click here to read more about it.

      You can fulfill the experience requirement either prior to, or within 7 years of passing the CMA exam.

      For candidates who passed both parts but don’t have much or any work experience yet, informing the employer about the passed exam gives them a competitive edge over their peers, as it confirms that they’ve mastered the CMA material and are knowledgeable enough to take on a management accounting role.

      Here’s another blog post on how to promote your CMA designation.

      Let me know if this answers your question, Deepti, and also if you have any others 🙂


        1. Hi Deepti,

          I’m sorry about that! Could you please try accessing the links again?

          Thank you,

  23. Dear Mr
    Lathan Liao
    Iam working in KSA Ihave master degree in financial accounting
    Iwant to obtain CMA certification. but I have no time
    How can u pelp me to prepare for the exam
    Is it possible to send the overall course via my email
    with my best regard

    1. Hi Muzzamil,

      My coaching course and the step-by-step study plan will slash your study time in half. If you’d like to enroll, please click here.


  24. Hello Sir,

    This Sunny here
    I am going to attempt this exam in next year of Jan 2020 and I am not getting time due to job.
    I want to know that should I am able to clear the exam in first attempt. If I study for a month and than give exam .

    I want to clear the exam the exam in first attempt.
    So please sir guide me regarding this.

    And i am using the willey reference book is it okay for me or not

    1. Hi Sunny,

      I recommend studying for at least 4 months (15 hrs/week) before taking the CMA exam for one part.

      It’s not an easy exam and to increase your chances of passing on your first attempt you’ll need to devote more time to learning the material and practicing on exam simulations in a test bank.

      As for your CMA textbooks, make sure that you have the latest edition that covers the 2020 exam changes. The exam is changing next year so it’s important to study form the most up-to-date materials.

      Do you have a test bank, too? It’s a critical study tool as well.

      Thank you,

  25. This Nazik
    Iam intersting to get CMA part 1 in Sept 2020 need your advice and from where can I start and need material CMA part1 2020 and exam

    1. Hi Nazik,

      The first step is to enroll in CMA review course. If you’d like to study with me, you can enroll in my flagship course here.

      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to hit Reply 🙂


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