In January of 2012, the AICPA and the CIMA joined hands and created a new professional designation, namely CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant). Being another management accountancy certification, the new designation comes head-to-head with the CMA certification. How does a person then choose which of the two is suitable for him or her?

History of the Certifications

The CMA (US) examination dates back as long as 40 years. It is the go-to choice for aspiring and potential management accountants.

The CGMA was created only a few years ago to extend the reach of the CMA (US) certification globally. The CGMA is the brainchild of the AICPA and the CIMA—two of the largest associations for public and management accountants; a person could attain this certification via either way, however, the eligibility and requirements differ for both.

Eligibility and Requirements

Candidates for the CMA (US) certification need to have an undergraduate degree and two consecutive years of managerial experience in public or non-public accounting, budget preparation, financial management, management consulting, information system analysis, research, or teaching. Furthermore, candidates are required to pass the CMA (US) examination. Eligibility is not restricted to only the members of the IMA.

On the other hand, candidates for the CGMA certification are required to have three years of work experience in management accounting. If a candidate has existing work experience in public accounting, he or she may supplement one of the three required years of work experience in public accounting.

  • If the candidate chooses to acquire the CGMA certification through the AICPA, he or she must be a member of the AICPA and must hold an existing CPA certification, and must pass the CGMA examination.
  • If the candidate chooses to acquire the CGMA certification through the CIMA, he or she must be a member of the CIMA, pass certain CIMA examinations including the CIMA Business Accounting Certificate examination, and pass the CGMA examination.

From January 2015, all candidates who choose to pursue the CGMA certification through either pathway must give the same final examination.

To ensure if a candidate’s work experience is eligible, he or she may email the administrators.

Salary Potential

According to a salary survey by the IMA, CMA-certified professionals earn USD115,763 yearly on an average, compared to an average annual salary of USD92,639 of non-certified professionals.

There is no data on the salaries of CGMA-certified professionals yet.

Employment Prospects

The CMA certification has been successful in the United States since its inception. However, the demand for accounting professionals who were holders of the CMA designation saw an increase since 2015. It is also successful in other countries as well, but there are few holders of this certification due to the nascent introduction of the CMA certification in those countries.

The CGMA certification is comparatively young, and not many countries are supportive of it. It will take many years to build its reputation against the CMA certification. Candidates looking forward to work abroad as a CGMA must consider this fact, while also remembering the mandatory requirement of a CPA license.


The management accounting topics that are covered in the CMA (US) examination are significantly much more than those in the CGMA examination. It is advised to go forward with the CMA certification if the candidate’s ultimate goal is to acquire management accounting knowledge and skills to positively impact his or her influence in the firm.

The final decision to choose a particular certification lies in the candidate’s hands, which must be taken after considering the requirements and career prospects.