Today I wanted to talk about two of the most notable designations across the globe – the CMA vs CIMA.
As you may know, when you become certified as a CMA in the United States, it is overseen by the IMA – Institute of Management Accountants. In the UK however, this designation is handled by the CIMA, or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Both the IMA and CIMA have been been around for ages, which is why so many candidates have a hard time determining which designation would be best for them.
Though both are respected qualifications and offer opportunities to those who want to work and live abroad, which one should you choose? Let me break down a few considerations for you.
Education and Other Requirements
Before diving into which designation you want to go for, you probably want to know how much time and education you will have to invest in order to attain it.
Unlike the CMA which requires you to have a bachelor’s degree and pass a 2 part exam, the CIMA requires candidates to pass 15 qualifying exams. In addition to this, candidates must complete 3 years of relevant work experience and receive an endorsement from their supervisors.
The CMA requires 2 years of relevant work experience, but you are able to complete both your exams in one year or less, as the testing windows are open for 2 months three times a year.
In terms of time commitment and effort, it is pretty obvious that becoming a CMA would be a bit easier. This is not to say that either designation is easier or better, because that isn’t the case.
This brings me to my next point. If you are going to invest years and money into earning your certification, you may want to consider which country you want to work from as this may influence your decision.
Choosing a Designation Based on Location
The CIMA is recognized in many countries, especially those in the UK and commonwealth. Though less so in the US, it still holds a rather strong presence in the global setting.
Over the years the IMA has been growing and extending its global presence, and is now well known in countries like China and throughout the Middle East.
If you wanted to take into consideration where in the world you wanted to settle down and work from, then here is a quick breakdown of which appears to be most popular in certain locations. (Remember, we are just comparing CMA and CIMA, not any other accounting designation):
In the United States and China there tends to be a stronger presence of the CMA. Canada tends to skew slightly more to the CMA as well. In the UK and Commonwealth countries, the CIMA dominates. What perhaps is most interesting is that the CMA and CIMA are nearly 50/50 in the Middle East.
As you can see, where you choose to live may influence your final decision. Regardless of which path you choose to follow you can be certain that it will improve your future career in finances and accounting.
More by Nathan Liao
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