Difference Between CPA and CMA

The world of business has changed quite a lot over the past few years and the scope of finance and accountancy has also expanded, forcing organizations to hire people with varied skills.

In finance and account jobs, the role CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) has become quite important and many organizations (larger ones) have to employ people having expertise in both fields. There are lots of job opportunities for people having a CPA and CMA certification, but general public still does not know much about the two fields.

Since finance is a diverse field, CPA and CMA have several differences and the roles in any company.


  • 1

    CPA and CMA are two different certification course, having their own course outlines and subjects. Both certifications can be studied any state university, but the job opportunities and the technical expertise required are very different.

    If you have done a simple MBA (Masters in Business Administration), you can still get a decent job that will pay you a good salary, but when you do CPA or CMA, you become specialized in accountancy and managerial accounting.

  • 2

    CPA covers the area of general accounting, which also goes by the name of financial accounting in some countries. CPA is a USA-based certification. While in some countries, the certification is offered under the tile of Chartered Accountant (CA). CMA is all about managerial accountancy, or cost accounting, which mainly deals with production and operation of an organization.

  • 3

    The qualification you require in order to enroll in CPA and CMA is graduation. If you have acquired a bachelor’s degree from a university, you can join one of the certifications (CPA and CMA). CPA certification is awarded by the American Institute of CPA’s. Each state employs different procedures for the CPA.

    On the other hand, CMA certification is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants. Like CPA certification, the CMA certification also requires the interested candidate to have a Bachelor’s degree. But CMA is a more advanced course than the CPA and that is why you have to have at least two years of experience in management accounting.

  • 4

    CPA has to handle financial accounting issue such as taxes and auditing. Getting a decent is easy for a CPA as tax and auditing firms usually hire them. While persons having a CMA certification can get a job at manufacturing concerns.  CMAs are also wanted by companies for internal auditors.

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