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When thinking of pursuing a professional certification in Accountancy, the first names that come to mind are usually CMA USA and ACCA. While both certifications are globally recognized and are two of the most popular career choices among finance and accounting community students, there are quite a few differences that might make you choose one from the other.
In this blog, you can check all the features in this comparison of ACCA vs CMA USA, consisting of all the deciding factors, including exam syllabus, exam pattern, duration of completion, etc.
Let us help you navigate these two Accountancy certifications so that you can ultimately decide which one to pursue as your professional career.
ACCA, or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is an internationally recognized accounting body providing the globally valued and highly competent professional certification of the same name – ACCA. The ACCA curriculum covers all the aspects of business accounting, making it one of the most preferred and relevant credentials.
CMA USA, or Certified Management Accountant, is a professional credential offered to individuals by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), validating their knowledge and skills in the field of financial management and business accounting. Moreover, it is a globally recognized professional certification and is valid in over 100 countries.
The eligibility requirements for ACCA and CMA USA will help you decide which certification you should choose based on your educational qualification and level of work experience. Check the eligibility requirements for both ACCA and CMA USA below.
When pursuing ACCA, candidates are offered some exemptions based on their level of knowledge accumulated up to the time of registration for the ACCA qualification exam. These exemptions are given in some of the papers of the ACCA exam. Check the details of the exemptions that can be availed based on your educational credentials.
|Qualification||Number of Exemptions Allowed||Papers Exempted From|
|Commerce Graduates||4||BT, MA, FA, LW|
|CA IPCC (both groups)||5||BT, MA, FA, TX,AA|
|CA Final or passed||9||BT-FM (9 subjects)|
However, such ACCA exemptions are not available for any of the papers of the CMA USA exam. It is an important factor of ACCA vs CMA USA compared as it will help you reduce your exam duration based on your educational qualification.
Knowing about the syllabus of both certification exams will help you gauge which certification exam syllabus suits you according to your preference and interests and based on your educational qualification. Check the exam levels and the weightage in each paper, so you know where to focus more.
The ACCA UK exam syllabus comprises 13 exams which are divided into three levels:
The CMA USA exam is divided into Part-I, which consists of “Financial Planning, Performance, and Analysis” and Part-II, which consists of “Strategic Financial Management”.
Now let us discuss the examination format for both certifications.
|Sections (for EACH paper)||Applied Knowledge||Applied Skills||Strategic Professional Level|
|Exam Duration||2 hours||3 hours||4 hours|
|Total Marks Allotted||100||100||100|
|Exam Name||Type of Questions||Time Duration of Exam||Total Marks Allotted||Passing Marks|
|Part-I: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics||Multiple Choice Questions (100) + Essay (2)||4 hours; including 30 minutes for each Essay||500||360|
|Part-II: Strategic Financial Management||Multiple Choice Questions (100) + Essay (2)||4 hours; including 30 minutes for each Essay||500||360|
The passing percentage of the ACCA exam is greater than that of the CMA USA. The passing rate for the CMA USA exam is around 40-45%, while the passing rate for the ACCA qualification exam is around 40-50%. However, your chances of clearing an exam can be improved with the help of coaching from a reputed Institute for CMA USA or ACCA.
ACCA and CMA USA both certifications offer an international platform for pursuing a career in accounting and finance. Knowing about the job opportunities offered after obtaining either certification will help you narrow down the possible future career prospects for yourself. Take a look at the job roles offered to such certified professionals.
One of the most prominent factors guiding the decision to choose from “ACCA vs CMA USA” is the duration within which either certification exam can be completed.
While pursuing ACCA, candidates can take a maximum of 5 years to clear all 13 papers. However, it is possible to complete the ACCA exam in 18-24 months with the right preparation. On average, it takes 3 to 4 years to complete the exam.
In the case of the CMA USA exam, candidates may take a maximum of 3 years. But with the right preparation, the US CMA certification can be acquired in 12-18 months.
One of the most important aspects you should consider while choosing between ACCA vs CMA USA is the exam fees for both courses.
In the ACCA exam, candidates need to pay an Initial Registration Fee of £30, an Annual Subscription Fee of £116, and a Re-registration fee of £89. Candidates are required to pay for each exam they take in the ACCA qualification exam. Check the fee for each exam below.
|Exam Level||Exam Entry Period||December 2022 (per exam)|
|LW, PM, TX, FR, AA, FM||Standard||£129|
|Ethics & Professional Skills||Standard||£71|
Business & Technology (BT), Management Accounting (MA), and Financial Accounting (FA) are the on-demand CBEs (Computer-Based Exams). You can book them; their fees depend on in-house centers, ranging from Rs 8k to Rs 10k.
The fee break-up is different based on the papers you are exempted from in the ACCA qualification exam. Check the fee break-up in case of exemptions in the ACCA exam.
|Each Knowledge Exam||£84|
|Each Skill Exam||£111|
The fee break-up of students and working professionals taking the CMA USA exam is different. The fee break-up has been listed below.
|Category||IMA Membership Registration Fee||IMA Entrance Fee||Part-1 Exam Fee||Part-2 Exam Fee||Processing Fee|
|Students||$135 (valid for 3 years)||$210||$345||$345||Nil|
|Professionals||$260 (valid for 1 year)||$280||$460||$460||$15|
Now that everything has been summed up for you, you can tally everything and decide which way between ACCA vs CMA USA you want to go. No matter what certification you choose, ACCA or CMA USA, you can get comprehensive exam guidance at NorthStar Academy. Enroll yourself at NorthStar Academy and reap many more benefits of both courses, such as concise study material, discounts on exam fees through Bundle discounts, access to online classes, and much more.
Depending on what you are better at and which path interests you more, you can make a decision between ACCA vs CMA USA. If you are interested in financial and accounting management, CMA USA is the right choice. If you are more inclined towards all things related to Accountancy, ACCA is the way to go for you.
The earning potential of ACCA-certified professionals ranges between $36,737 and $43,715, while certified CMA USA professionals can earn an average annual salary of around $100,000.
Yes, it is possible to pursue CMA USA after completing the ACCA certification exams. If you have ACCA full membership, you will be exempted from the Bachelor’s degree eligibility requirement for taking the CMA USA exam
According to ACCAGlobal, ACCA-certified professionals can work in a number of locations in the USA
Going by the percentage required to pass an exam, CMA has a high pass Percentage of 70%, while ACCA has a pass percentage of around 40-50%. It makes ACCA an easier exam to pass than CMA USA. Going by the duration, ACCA can be completed faster than the CMA USA exam.
The average annual salary of a certified ACCA professional working in the USA is around $87,000
The passing rate of ACCA ranges within a range of 40-50%
In India, an ACCA-certified professional can earn between INR 29 lakhs per annum and INR 88 lakhs per annum on average.
ACCA can be completed within a duration of 1 year. However, in this case, candidates can take a maximum of 7 years to complete all 13 exams
US CMA-certified professionals get exemptions in 3 papers of ACCA.
To make it easier for you, NorthStar Academy provides ACCA and CMA USA certification courses for all-inclusive, comprehensive guidance on their exams. Expert guidance from highly experienced mentors such as M. Irfat sir and your dedication will help you clear the CMA USA and ACCA certification exam on the first attempt.
There are more perks if you enroll at NSA, such as access to Bundle discounts on exam fees. NSA also provides well-researched and highly organized study material highly preferred by students and successful professionals. You can also access online classes as per our courses on Android and iOS. This means you can study for these certification exams anytime you want, from anywhere you want.
You can contact our counselors if you need to know more details.