MyCIMA

CIMA versus CMA

Replies : 20
What is the real difference between the CIMA and CMA designations? If I have an MBA and work in the US, will either one of these really increase my marketability? What do companies truly recognize?

re: CMA

Hi Helen, 

I happened to be looking at this the other day as I was toying with the idea of working in the US.  Through my brief research online, it seems that you can convert a CIMA membership into CMA.  Which if correct, seems to imply that there isn't much difference at all.

What I didn't manage to get to the root of is how much demand there is for CMA/CIMA members stateside or how much it would add to an already attractive CV.

A view

I assume the 'CMA' qualification is that of the USA - Institute of Managment Accountants. If you are working in the USA, the probabilty is that more organisations will be familiar with the CMA.

Personally when working in the USA I took the CMA route. (see www.imanet.org)

Best regards

Cliff Moggs

CMA vs CIMA

Cliff is right. The CMA qualification in the US is naturally more well recognized than CIMA.

It does depend on the organization one works for. If you are working for a US subsidiary of a UK MNC, I reckon they would not be too particular about whether it is CMA or CIMA.

However, CMA US has recently streamlined its examination process and it is well worth considering. (Two papers instead of four.)

The 800-lb gorrila for accounting in the US is still the CPA designation. No harm in adding that too. It can be done in six months for about US$ 3,000 (exam fees plus review course). The CMA may even be cheaper.

 The CMA/CIMA reciprocity applies to CMA Canada, but there appears to be more restrictions for CIMA members than there are for CMA members. For one, there is a residential requirement for CIMA members wishing to become CMAs.

An Answer

What is the real difference between the CIMA and CMA designations?

CMA is easier than CIMA, and really an American only qualification. CMA does not hold equal ranking with a CPA which as Chee pointed out is the standard US qualification. CIMA is recognised across the world as an "international" accounting qualification. CIMA members can gain a limited form of membership of the CPA. 

If I have an MBA and work in the US, will either one of these really increase my marketability? 

I am an ACMA in the states, I always explain its a UK CPA - which works 90% of the time. I've neer had any problem because I've always being doing commercial roles. The only time I could see it being an issue is if you want to do some technical accounting specialising in US GAAP.

 What do companies truly recognize?

Most local companies will recognise MBAs and CPAs. As the size of the company increases - the more they are likely to recognize CIMA. I haven't met one CMA in my company of 3,000!! You might think about a CFA as well...

USA CPA

Brian Peers wrote:

What is the real difference between the CIMA and CMA designations?

CMA is easier than CIMA, and really an American only qualification. CMA does not hold equal ranking with a CPA which as Chee pointed out is the standard US qualification. CIMA is recognised across the world as an "international" accounting qualification. CIMA members can gain a limited form of membership of the CPA. 

If I have an MBA and work in the US, will either one of these really increase my marketability? 

I am an ACMA in the states, I always explain its a UK CPA - which works 90% of the time. I've neer had any problem because I've always being doing commercial roles. The only time I could see it being an issue is if you want to do some technical accounting specialising in US GAAP.

 What do companies truly recognize?

Most local companies will recognise MBAs and CPAs. As the size of the company increases - the more they are likely to recognize CIMA. I haven't met one CMA in my company of 3,000!! You might think about a CFA as well...

 

Sorry to correct you Brian (and correct me if I have missed something) but you can not (currently) get a limited membership to the US CPA. They are currently reviewing their international policy.

https://www.aicpa.org/About+the+AICPA/Membership+Information/International+Associate.htm

I am interested to know how you can convert to the U.S CPA from CIMA in 6 months; do you have to work for a recognised firm in the U.S? I don't suspect you can do it from the U.K can you?

Am also interested in pursuing a career in the U.S as a new ACMA so any help would be appreciated.

US CPA

Hi David

It is possible to pass the CPA exams in six months (I did my exams between Aug05 and Jan06) or perhaps even less since the first two months of every quarter are examination windows.

It is also possible to qualify outside of the US so long as the experience is verified by a CPA. There is also no concept of "recognized" US firms as such. Check out this link particularly on the work experience part, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certified_Public_Accountant

But currently the exam is offered only in the US in a prometric center. So you will still have to sit for the exam in the US.

I hope this helps.

Good Call

David - good call on the international associate. It was open last time I checked!

Doing a CPA in 6 months sounds like hell! But huge respect to anyone who does it! One set of exams is enough for me :)

I think the main issue with the US is always immigration over qualifications. Every well qualified Brit I know (CIMA / Masters... etc..) has never had a problem getting a job.

I actually was involved in some interviewing. One of the candidates was British. I joke not when I tell you they discussed in front of me in the wash up that they must not let the accent fool them into thinking he was more intelligent than he was. Absolutely crazy - especially as I was in the room.

David - are you currently in the US or jsut desire to live there?

The best routes from my friends are

a. work with an international firm and enter through an L visa (my route)

b. go to college and study and then work on an H1-B visa

c. get an american wife!

 Gaining the CPA won't specifically increase your immigration chances that much. (Unlike Canada with its points system).

 

 

 

USA

Hi Brian,

I'm looking to go down the H1-B route and have had CIMA officially recognised as the equivalent of a U.S Bachelors degree so an attorney in the U.S has advised me that I will be granted a visa on this basis providing i beat the cap limit.

However there are a number of problems:

Finding a company who sponsors H1-B applications

Convincing them they should have the 'hassle' of going through this process

Not being in the U.S to tap companies up direct (I'd happily jack my job in to do this, but by the time i do this year I'm likely to miss the cap)

My preference is Los Angeles, but emailing companies my C.V (I'm happy to fly out for interviews) is hitting a brick wall.

Not being able to start until October

I do have family out there with contacts but not hopeful for this year.

Do you want to employ me? I got 10 years experience in a variety of roles. I'll take the minimum prevailing wage, start at the bottom, pay all the costs and work part time. Call it a 'short term' thing as when I am out there i can transfer companies on the H1-B visa so actually being out there I can be more pro-active in my search with fewer barriers.  

I'll even pay back all my salary during this window so you effectively get my services for free. Win win situation (I am completely serious about this)

If not you, do you know anyone that might be willing to accept this offer?

Adding to my view

1.      If you want to work in the USA, join the IMA (www.imanet.org) and get the CMA. If it is easy so be it. The intent is to become 'native'. They also have a 'job search site'.      2.    To get the low down on USA accoutancy qualifications, see Gleim's 'Careers in Accounting', www.gleim.com. This will give you info on CPA license requiurements which are issued by individual state and some still issue for non public work.    3.      Try and get a job locally with a USA Subsidary and perform, being rewarde with a 'intra-co transfer', this will get you the L-1 visa. When you arrive in the USA you have the option to apply for citizenship if that is your dream.  4.    Regards from and old (meaning retired) CIMA & IMA member L

CMA

CMA only let you enter for exams with CIMA.

 

Also not sure if anyone in the U.S has actually heard if the CMA (from the research I've done), except the few that have the qualification.

 

Think I'd be better off getting the CPA from Australia as this is direct membership (of sorts).

 

The L intercompany transfer is probably just as difficult as a H1-B visa having spoken to a lawyer. I currently work for a U.S company but their HQ is in Minnisota, not really my cup of tea that.  

Work Permit

Or try looking for jobs with international organizations like the World Bank, UN, IMF, etc.

Work permits (G4-visa) are issued as a matter of course if one secures employment. Not as flexible as the green card because it only allows movement among different international organizations, but possible to convert into a green card after a certain amount of years (I cannot remember how many).

How does the CPA Australia help? I am a member of CPA Aust, but unless one enters through the normal route, one cannot sit for the IQEX exam to qualify as a US CPA.

I think the US CMA is a better route to go "native" as Cliff suggested. And as I mentioned earlier CPA in six months is not impossible, 4 papers mutliple choice with some simulation (case) questions.

keep trucking

David,

I'm afraid I'm merely a pawn in the corporate game, I don't run my own company! But I admire your guts!

You should be aware that transferring companies once on an H1-B visa is no walk in the park and still requires lots of legal fees and beaurecracy - although slightly less than getting it in the first place.

There are two particular scenarios for getting an H1-B. You cover something so superior and specialist then you are better than employing any american in the vicinity.  Secondly you apply to one of the top international consulting firms. Firms like this pay $100k + and so visa costs are less in comparison with the job and they place lots of emphasis on diversity and broad experiences. But competition is intense and they typically will only select from top universities.

My recommendation would be in this order:

1. Go with your current firm, get going to the US on your development plan and go to Minnisota. Fristly Minnisota might be much mor interesting than it appears, and secondly it will be a great springboard for moving in the US. It gets you US experience and opens the door a bit to a green card or H1-B. In addition your firm should steer you through the legal stuff and pay for it.

2. Go and do an MBA in the states at a good school. Don't worry about the huge cost, you can take out loans. The MBA will massively help with your resume, you'll network lots and either you can go for a top consulting job - or you will have met someone who will be willing to sponsor that h1-B.

3. Apply to immigrate to Canada. a clear system. Once your Canadian you can get a TN-1 visa to work in the states (this whole process would take 5 years!!)

In summary I don't think the gaining of a CMA would help at all, and a CPA would only help a little. The irony is that any large firm who would be willing to do H1-B will by there nature be much more likely to know what CIMA is... These qualifications would help with normal appliactions in the states, but any normal job isn't going to give you H1-B....

these are just my opinions of course!

Cheers Brian

 

 

USA Accounting Scene (as I see it)

1.  The job scene is dominated by graduates with an accounting degree (assume >20k graduate each year). The CPA license (in essence) requires a masters degree.. The CPA license is issued by a ‘State Board of Accountancy’ (One for each of the 50 states & DC + 3 terr.) there is also a national (coordination) association ‘NASBA’ (see www.nasba.org).        2.   The IMA (CMA/CFM) are promoting to university students to concurrently take the CMA/CFM examination with their course work. To give them an ‘edge’ when taking first job. The CPA examinations cannot be taken until degree has been awarded, it is therefore a pre-requisite.        3.   Any entry level accounting vacancy will require, as a minimum a graduate accounting degree, hence IMA’s strategy “and I have passed the CMA exam”.      4.   For career development in addition to CPA/CMA/CFM/CIA some will bypass and choose to go for an MBA etc (e.g. Masters in Taxation, CFA, CFE etc).       5.   The biggest challenge is to get an immigration visa. While waiting (maybe years) pursue as part of your CPD activities to study a USA qualification text (see www.gleim.com for options). As you can get the CMA/CFM from an international location test center it achieves same as 2 above. It will also make one familiar with the ‘language’ like, SEC (1933 & 1934 Acts) - FCPA – SOX – 10K – 10Q – 8K, Employment Regulations (NLRA – Taft-Hartley –FLSA –EEOC-OSHA – Age Disc-FMLA), Antitrust (Sherman & Clayton -FTC), EPA, IRS (and your 1040), APB’s, GASB, FASB, SFAC’s, this is all part of the jargon. 

6.   Getting a CMA/CFM could ‘just be for fun’, a CPD experience (it would do no harm). Having done mandatory CPD (as a CMA) since 1984 you need to enjoy it.(CIMA finally woke up 24 years later). Rgds Cliff Moggs

CMA or CIMA for surviving in Canada

 

Would anyone care to ellaborate on the survival rate of IMA CMA graduates to that of the ACMA's ? From my secondary research it seems that since management accountants do not need to have "licenses" to practise public accountancy, probability of survival depends on the ability of the candidate to promote himself to the private sector employers. However, I've heard from a reliable source in Montreal that only U.S qualifications sell well in Canada (meaning that a CIMA might not be well accepted).  Now, I don't intend to make this thread a battleground but shed light on the differences between CMA and CIMA and their geographical reach.

CIMA vs CMA

Please don't compare CIMA with CMA. They might both focus on Management Accounting but they are nowhere near eachother in terms of value & status. Here in the UK, CIMA is ranked equal to a Masters by Government Agencies. You need a minimum of 3 years worth of experience plus completion of 15 exams (5 computer based & 10 written) to be granted ACMA status. The modules are detailed (800+ pages per textbook) and go into quite some depth as you advance through each stage (each stage becomes harder to pass). In contrast I've heard CMA can take as little as 6 months to complete. 

CIMA and AICPA have joined forces in bringing the CGMA designation. Qualified CIMA members automatically get the CGMA status meaning it is recognised in the US. 

If you like auditing or public accounting then its ACCA/ACA however if you want to go into industry and work as analysts, controllers or FD's then CIMA is your ticket. 

To be honest, provided you have a good varied amount of experience you can work practically anywhere in the world. Accountants are always in demand to help provide tighter financial control during times of uncertainty.  

 

CIMA CGMA

Hi Shane, if CIMA is now giving CGMA designation then it means ACMA will be an american recognised CPA as well?

RE: CIMA CGMA

Correct. CIMA just opened the doors to the US. I really don't get why people are complaining about how CIMA's standards are going down. Seriously, they've done us a favour. Whether CPA is weaker than CIMA is a different matter but we'll be able to have both ACMA & CGMA after our names once qualified so that's a good thing. 

CIMA CGMA

Shane Wickramasinghe wrote:
Correct. CIMA just opened the doors to the US. I really don't get why people are complaining about how CIMA's standards are going down. Seriously, they've done us a favour. Whether CPA is weaker than CIMA is a different matter but we'll be able to have both ACMA & CGMA after our names once qualified so that's a good thing. 

If only it was so, Shane. Your observations are based more on hope and intent rather than hard nosed strategic analysis. Much has been written on this issue.... But let me just remind us that value creation for mgt acct is not the same as value appropriation by CIMA. Don't forget also that AICPA is not the body issuing the CPA.

Analyze also how CGMA is positioned as a product, recall Econs 101 about substitutes and complementaries. 

RE: CIMA CGMA

@ Chee Kin Tang

CGMA designations were only introduced recently though. Obviously it won't be positioned highly yet. It's the same with companies. You can't expect a 1 year old company to be as well known as a 50 year old one. It takes time to build up a brand.

I haven't researched much about the CPA sylabus but it is the main accountancy qualification in the US and that's what employers down there ask for. Likewise in the UK employers ask for CIMA/ACA/ACCA. When you combine 2 major qualifications in 2 countries it only increases the exposure of the overall qualifcation (that being CGMA). Who issues the CPA then ?

Anyways, I guess CIMA can't please everyone. There will always be people for & against. It's not like CGMA is completely replacing the ACMA designation (CIMA knows the ACMA status has alot of value). CGMA just tells employers outside the UK that we are qualified accountants.

CIMA is moving away from just being an accounting qualification focusing on other areas of business like HR, marketing & IT. The role of an accountant has changed alot that being that they are'nt just number crunchers. They shape a company by introducing tighter financial controls. Ultimately, we measure a company's success by profits not on number of employees or how fancy their logo looks. 

CIMA CGMA

Hi Shane

Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I should elaborate a bit more. It is really not about time. If time was the only issue, all things being equal, all products would be a success. One simply has to be patient hopefully with cash to burn and any new product will be successful.

First, do you think CPAs who have control over the market will suddenly roll the red carpet just because they too have access to the CGMA? They do not mind if the C g m a enhances their profile but it is altogether unlikely they would be so generous if these CGMAs are of the CIMA kind.

Second, the CGMA is positioned as an add-on to the CPA in the US, not a qualification in its own right.  It is a complementary product, not an alternative/substitute. In other words, if the CPA is the coffee, CGMA is the creamer. CIMA on the hand would prefer the CGMA to be an alternative brand of coffee. So long as the CGMA remains linked to the CPA, then CPAs would be indifferent. But they would not want CGMAs to break out on their own because that would tantamount to introducing unnecessary competition. What would be the incentive for CPAs to enlarge the tent?

Third, as an offshoot of two above and as I expected, many CPAs do not see mgt acct as a separate discipline in its own right. Rather they fee entitled to the CGMA just because they have worked in business, industry and govt (BIG). Do you feel so entitled to say an ACA or CPA if you merely worked in public accounting. I feel such this add-on positioning reinforces this perception and cheapens both the CGMA and the ACMA since both are inextricably linked. I am a CPA and I should be happy but I am not because I am an ACMA too.

Fourth, even if AICPA was generous, it does not speak for the entire profession. The state societies would not just roll over to welcome CIMA qualified CGMAs.

Fifth, there is evidence that the real prize of the JV for the AICPA is to use CIMA's international network of offices to promote the CPA. Does that not sound strange that a JV for CGMA is used to promote another product too? It's like BMW will no sell Mercdeses in its dealer network but Mercedes has no obligation to sell BMWs in its network, let alone the main objective of this JV is to sell a joint BMW-Mercedes product.

Sixth, do you think having CGMA as a qualification in its own right outside the US but merely an add-on in the US a stable construct? If you were a new student today would you choose the CPA program or CIMA considering that the CPA would be offered globally eventually? After all with the CPA you get to the CGMA.

We all hope that CGMA would help open doors for CIMA in the US but hope is no substitute for strategic thinking.