There are several management accounting certifications across the globe, with each country having its own governing body and accounting standard. This blog discusses the four leading management accountant certifications in the world.

Institute of Management Accountants, USA

The CMA certification comes under the purview of the IMA. Currently, there are over 70,000 members, consisting of both certification holders and aspiring candidates.

For a candidate to become a CMA in the United States, he or she must hold an undergraduate degree, have relevant work experience of two consecutive years, and must pass an examination of two parts.

The IMA is affiliated with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which makes the members of the ACCA automatically eligible for the CMA examination. The IMA also has a partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Due to the mutual recognition agreement between the IMA and the ICAI, individuals who pursue the CMA program outside of India are eligible to apply for the membership of the ICAI.

According to a 2012 statistic on, the average annual income of a member of the IMA is USD112,625.

Certified Management Accountants, Canada

Until 2013, CMA was the professional body of accountants in Canada. The unification of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada), the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), and the Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA Canada) gave birth to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA), which is the current governing body. The new-formed organisation has approximately 1,25,000 members and around 20,000 candidates.

However, the qualifications and requirements are tailored to suit only those who live and work in Canada. According to, a CMA in Canada earns between CAD45,343 to CAD133,709. This range is based on the various positions available for employment after obtaining the certification.

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK

The CIMA, founded in 1919 has more than 2,18,000 members, including students, from 177 countries, is the largest and one of the most popular certifications. It has numerous mutual partnerships with other certifications, including the ICAI. In January 2012, the CIMA joined hands with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to start a venture called the Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA).

However, to become a member a candidate must pass 15 qualifying examinations and have a work experience of at least 3 years, apart from getting endorsed by his or her supervisor. Fortunately, a candidate may be exempted from some of the qualifying examinations depending on his or her education level. According to, the income of CIMA-certified accounting professionals in the UK is GBP61,816, which is more than twice the national average income. This statistic makes it worthwhile to pursue the CIMA certification.

Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Australia

Founded in 1996, the ICMA has around 2500 members in total, handing CMA certifications in Australia.

Since the ICMA is comparatively new, it is not linked with other professional bodies. However, there are exemptions for the qualifying examinations in Australia if a candidate has obtained a CA or CPA certification in another country.


Of the lot, the IMA and the CIMA are the best certifications for a candidate to pursue. The CIMA is globally-recognised and has partnerships with other professional bodies of other countries. The IMA is prominent in the United States, Asia, and the Middle East. Depending on the choice of workplace of the candidate, he or she may choose the CIMA for working in the European region or the IMA for working in the United States, Asia, or the Middle East.