Certified Management Accountant (CMA)/Certified in Financial Management (CFM)

views updated


The certified management accountant (CMA) and the certified in financial management (CFM) programs are designed to recognize the unique qualifications and expertise of those professionals engaged in management accounting and financial management. These certifications provide distinction in today's economic climate and afford the opportunity to certify expertise in the business areas that are critical to the decision-making process. The CMA and CFM certifications, introduced by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in 1972 and 1996, respectively, have global recognition and have received the endorsement of approximately 200 corporate and academic organizations.

The CMA and CFM Programs have four objectives:

  • To establish management accounting and financial management as recognized professions by identifying the role of the professional, the underlying body of knowledge, and a course of study by which such knowledge is acquired
  • To encourage higher educational standards in the management accounting and financial management fields
  • To establish an objective measure of an individual's knowledge and competence in the fields of management accounting and financial management
  • To encourage continued professional development

The content of the certification examinations represents the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by business professionals in the fields of management accounting and financial management. The content is validated periodically by a practice analysis conducted by the IMA. The content, covered in four examination parts for each program, encompasses:

  • Economics, finance, and management
  • Financial accounting and reporting (CMA) or corporate financial management (CFM)
  • Management reporting, analysis, and behavioral issues
  • Decision analysis and information systems

The Financial Accounting and Reporting Exam is waived, upon request, for individuals who have passed the U.S. CPA Exam; this is not the case, however, for the Corporate Financial Management Exam.

Candidates for certification must meet the following criteria to become a CMA or CFM:

  • Education: Candidates must hold a baccalaureate degree, in any area, from an accredited college or university. Students attending accredited U.S. universities may take the examinations but must satisfy the education requirement prior to certification. Degrees from institutions outside the United States must be evaluated by an independent agency. The education requirement may also be satisfied by holding a CPA license to practice or other comparable professional qualification.
  • Employment: Candidates must complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgments regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management. This experience may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination.
  • Character references: The names of two character references must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Ethics: Candidates for certification must agree to comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Practitioners of Management Accounting and Financial Management.
  • Membership: Candidates for certification must be a member of the IMA because the certification programs are a privilege of membership.

The CMA and CFM programs have been designed to meet the evolving needs of business and are focused on the dynamic roles that management accountants and financial managers play in business, public, and government accounting. Certified professionals are more frequently identified for promotion and have greater earning potential than those professionals who are not certified. To gather more information or to join the CMA/CFM programs, visit the IMA Web site at www.imanet.org or call (800)638-4427 for a certification information booklet.

Priscilla Payne

About this article

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)/Certified in Financial Management (CFM)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article