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Chartered Management Accountant: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chartered management accountant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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A chartered management accountant assesses a company's financial records in order to determine whether a business is adhering to federal laws, achieving profitability, and maintaining workplace efficiency. They also monitor a company's asset ledgers, budget, and performance objectives. Reporting their findings to business leaders is another important role of these professionals.

Essential Information

The role of a charted management accountant is to look over financial records, making sure businesses are abiding by federal laws and working at an efficient rate. These professionals access profitability and risk to help organizations make better financial decisions for the future. In order to become one of these professionals, students must get their Bachelor of Accounting. Courses that these programs offer include business law, auditing and corporate taxation. Students must also get the required certification and have at least three years of work experience to be qualified for this position. To maintain credentials, students must complete 30 annual hours of continued education.

Career Charters Management Accountant
Education Requirements Bachelor of Accounting
Other Requirements Certification and work experience required
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 6% growth (for accountants and auditors)*
Median Salary (2018) $70,500 (for accountants and auditors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Management Accountant

Whether chartered or certified, management accountants are responsible for evaluating the financial information of companies and advising them on issues like profitability and risk. These professionals analyze performance objectives, asset ledgers and budgets and report their findings to business leaders so that they can plan the direction of their company or organization. For example, a management accountant may review network infrastructure investments and determine that the company isn't adequately prepared to handle future demands and must allocate more capital to this area. Additionally, these professionals may generate reports for outside groups, such as investors and government auditors.

Chartered Management Accountant Requirements

Chartered Management Accountants are members of and designated by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) (www.cimaglobal.com). In order to attain this certification, students must first earn the CIMA's certificate in business accounting by completing five exams in topics ranging from corporate governance to financial accounting. This certificate is for individuals with little or no prior financial education.

CIMA provides online study guides that students can purchase to prepare for each exam. Upon completion of all five exams, students earn their certificate. Those with an undergraduate or graduate degree may be exempt from taking the certificate.

Professional Qualification

To advance in the accounting field, students who've earned their certificate in business accounting from CIMA may move on to attaining professional qualification through the organization. Accountants must take ten exams in business management, financial management and management accounting and have three years of work experience to become qualified. The series of exams also includes a final case study in which the student applies learned knowledge to a business problem.

Certified Management Accountant Requirements

Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) begin their training by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in accounting, business administration or a related field. Bachelor's degree programs in accounting generally take four years to complete and require students to complete core courses in accounting principles, business law and auditing. Upper division topics may focus on banking and finance, corporate taxation and contract law.

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) certifies qualified candidates as CMAs (www.imanet.org). In order to be eligible, applicants must be a member of the IMA, have completed a bachelor's degree program from an accredited school and have at least two years of work experience in financial management or management accounting. Certification requires the successful completion of a 2-part qualifying exam covering aspects of accounting ranging from financial planning to decision making. Once certified, CMAs must complete 30 annual hours of continuing education in order to maintain their credentials.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts slightly faster than average growth for accountants and auditors during the 2018-2028 decade, at a rate of 6%. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for chartered accountants was $70,500 in 2018.

The first steps to becoming a chartered management accountant involve earning a Bachelor of Accounting degree, obtaining professional certification and then gaining work experience in the field for at least three years. At least 30 hours of continued education must be taken each year in order to retain one's credentials.

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