CIMA Vs CMA:Which is Best course in India: A Detailed Overview

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CIMA Vs CMA:Which is Best course in India: A Detailed Overview

CIMA Vs CMA:Which is Best course in India

If you have a knack for management and accounts and aspire to be certified globally as a professional management accountant, certifications like CMA USA and CIMA can help. CIMA Vs CMA is a common conflict encountered by professionals who want to globally accredit their work goals. How to compare both qualifications? Which one will suit you? 

In this blog, we will target the scope of CMA USA and CIMA certifications in India, and learn more about CIMA Vs CMA.

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Both certifications are accredited by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). CIMA stands for Chartered Institute of Management Accountants which is a designation from the UK. CMA is the Chartered Management Accountant in the USA. 

What is the difference between CMA and CIMA?

Particulars CMA USA CIMA, UK
Educational requirements Bachelor’s degree 12th pass or more
Format of the exam  2 exam with 2sections 12 exams which includes 9 Objective Tests and 3 Case Study exams
Salary Starting from 4 lakh to 6 lakh Starting salary 8 lakh to 10 lakh
Exam costs $2,000 or $2500 US $6,800. 
Job opportunity Finance Analyst Cost AccountantManagement AccountantFinancial Controller Cluster AccountantManagement AccountantFinance Manager Cost Controller
Work experience needed 36 months of experience in the four core areas. 24 months of experience in management accounting

CIMA Vs CMA is a hot topic for professionals worldwide. Both of these professional qualifications can make you stand apart from non-certified professionals. Let’s shed light on the differences they uphold.

Global Network and Membership

CIMA or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has a broader base than the CMA. CMA has around 70,000 members and CIMA has 218 thousand members. A constant debate over CIMA Vs CMA is hence dependent on the global recognition and standards. However, the CMA USA course recognition is on the swift upsurge as the companies are getting more and more familiar with CMA USA’s importance.

Global Acknowledgment 

CIMA certification is acknowledged in the UK whereas CMA is more acknowledged in the USA. Altogether CIMA has a global recognition in most places around the world like the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries whereas CMA or CPA is widely known around Canada, Australia, and the United States of America. 

Countries like China and the Middle East have seen a rapid presence of CMA or IMA courses. IMA has an active presence among these countries and is well established around China.

On the other hand, CIMA has collaborated with AICPA with a new qualification called CGMA. The business community is comprehensive and is extensive around qualification and designation.

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CMA USA is more recognized in the United States of America, making it a more exotic credential to have on your Resume. Canada has its Version of CMS certification called CPA and in the Middle East, both the certifications have the same standing.

In India, both certifications have their own set of pros and cons. You can choose according to your choice. Here is a detailed view of CIMA Vs CMAon some topics. 


In India, CIMA has mutual reciprocal agreements or MOU with ICAI. It also has many alliances with other colleges and associations in accounting. The basic difference between CIMA Vs CMA is the mutual reciprocal agreement. 

In Canada, the CMA is subjected to changes due to CA/CMA/CGMA. You can also qualify for the CMA examination if you are a member of ACCA. The IMA has a strategic alliance with the same. 


Educational requirements for both certifications may vary. For the CMA examinations, you need a bachelor’s degree. Although if you are an ACCA member, you may be given an exemption. The CIMA is a complex program and is in itself a degree. Education stands the same in the argument on CIMA Vs CMA


CMA USA Syllabus

Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

15%External Financial Reporting Decisions

20%Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

20%Performance Management

15%Cost Management

15%Internal Controls

15%Technology and Analytics

Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

20%Financial Statement Analysis

20%Corporate Finance

25%Decision Analysis

10%Risk Management

10%Investment Decision

15%Professional Ethics

CIMA Syllabus

Certificate Level

BA1 – Fundamentals of Business Economics

BA 2 – Fundamentals of Management Accounting

BA 3 – Fundamentals of Financial Accounting

BA 4 – Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance, and Business Law

Exam: 4 Objective type Exams

Certification: CIMA Certificate in business accounting CIMA cert BA

Operational level

E1:Organizational Management

P1: Management Accounting

F1: Financial Reporting and Taxation

Exam: 3 Objective type Exams and a Case study Exam

Certification: CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA dip MA)

Management level

E2: Project and Relationship Management

P2: Advanced Management Accounting

F2: Advanced Financial Reporting

Exam: 3 Objective type Exams and a Case study Exam

Certification: CIMA Advance Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA ADV DIP MA)

Strategic level

E3 Strategic Management

P3 Risk Management

F3 Financial Strategy

Exam: 3 Objective Type Exams and 1 Case study Exam

Format of the exam 

The format of the exam consists of a specific duration and questions. CMA is favorable to those who want to get qualified professionals in a short duration. CMA USA is divided into two parts and is expected to be completed within 3 years. However, if you take the course from NorthStar Academy, they will help you acquire the degree in 6-9 months, provided you are sincere. You get to take the exams in two parts:

Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

Both the parts have 100 MCQs carrying 375 marks (3 hours time to complete) and 2 essay questions carrying 125 marks (1 hour time to complete). You can take both parts with a gap of months and have to score 360 marks out of a total of 500 marks in both of them to get accredited as a CMA USA professional.

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To qualify for the CIMA examination you’ve to pass 12 papers. It consists of 9 objective-type tests (each 90 minutes long) and 3 essay/case studies questions (each 3 hours long). All these papers are divided into three pillars, where each pillar has 3 objective exams and one essay exam. The number of papers for the CIMA Vs CMA can make professionals opt for the CMA USA. 

The time duration for the same is 3 years and one is required to practice, endorse, and verify each from their guides or superiors. A CIMA professional can achieve the certification with effort, time, and commitment. 

Exam Costs

To understand the CIMA Vs CMA exam costs, the CMA examination is short and fast, it’s cheaper than the CIMA. The fees for the CIMA are higher than CMA. The study materials for the latter are also cheaper than the CIMA. The average fee for the CMA USA is around the US $2,000 or $2500 and CIMA is US $6,800. 

A Detailed Overview of CIMA Vs CMA Salary

CMA’s average salary is around $33,500 which is approximately Rs.21,30,000 whereas the CIMA’s salary is around $33,000 which is approximately 21,00,00 rupees. These figures may vary according to your experience, expertise, country, company, and skills.

Both courses are beneficial for management professionals who want to enhance their skills and knowledge of the financial sector. If you have the skill to work in financial management, planning, control, analysis, decision, support, and problem-solving around the financial sector, these certifications can help. 

To work comprehensively in accounting and business, CIMA can be beneficial. It can help you with the current trends of the industry and accelerate your career in the business field. The CIMA Vs CMA both have different salary compensation. 

What is the difference in the CIMA Vs CMA difficulty?

Both certifications have different difficulty levels. As discussed, CMA can be completed within 6-9 months whereas CIMA takes around 3 years to complete. You also have to give more exams in the CIMA whereas in CMA you only have to pass two papers.

It depends on the candidate’s interest and passion that can help them decide which courses are better. Both are related to the business field but offer extensive and comprehensive services. Both courses are beneficial for management professionals who want to improve their abilities and knowledge in the financial sector. 

These certificates can help you if you have skills in financial management, planning, control, analysis, decision-making, support, and problem-solving. CIMA certification can help you perform more effectively in accounting and business. It can help you keep up with industry developments and advance your career in business.

We hope the basic differences between the CIMA Vs CMA are clear. 

CIMA and CMA India- CIMA certification is recognized in the United Kingdom, although CMA certification is more widely recognized in the United States. Both certifications are becoming increasingly popular in India as the corporate world demand is becoming more specific.

There are numerous job opportunities for both certifications in India. In order to acquire these certifications, there are a lot of institutes that claim to provide the best course for these. However, you should choose the best institute like NorthStar Academy as our CMA USA course comes with a well-planned curriculum covering all the vital aspects. You get the desired support from India’s top mentors in this field, like M Irfat Sir.  

IMA, CMA USA’s official body, is actively growing and becoming more and more known among Indians in the financial management field.

What are some of the vital CIMA exemptions for CMA USA Qualified?

Professionals who are already working, and have a social and family life do not want to invest time studying. If you want to be certified for the CIMA, and you are already a CMA USA qualified, you are awarded many exemptions. You do not have to waste your time learning the same concepts and chapters and can get CIMA certified easily. 

Less Exam stress

You do not have to write the exams that you completed in the CMA qualification and this will lessen your stress for the exam. You just have to study the remaining basics and give the examination.

Learning recognition

CIMA respects and recognizes your early learning or prior learning. They exempt you from not learning the same concepts and moving ahead with other subjects, work, and life.

Finish Course Early

You will be able to finish the course early. As time is valuable, you only have to pay for the things you study. If your course duration is around nine months, you may finish it in four and only pay for those months.

A candidate is exempted from the topics and modules that were already covered in the CMA (USA) qualification. There will be a certain set of examinations that you don’t have to write or give.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Which is better CIMA or CMA US?

One of the hottest topics is CIMA Vs CMA. CIMA can equip your skills in the overall management of the business and financial sector. It provides education comprehensively around the business world. CMA is a quicker certification course that can help individuals to own potential in the business and financial sectors. 

They both are globally recognized but run in different countries. If you want to get settled in the United States of America, opt for CMA certification, and if you want to settle in the United Kingdom, opt for CIMA certification. However, both are recognized in India.

2. Are US CMA and CIMA the same?

The Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA, has certified both certificates. CIMA is an abbreviation for Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, a UK-based designation. In the United States, a Chartered Management Accountant is known as a CMA. 

CIMA certification is recognized in the United Kingdom, although CMA certification is more widely recognized in the United States. CIMA is known in most parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, whereas CMA or CPA is known in Canada, Australia, and the United States of America.

3. Is CIMA accepted in the USA?

CIMA had a joint venture with the AICPA and became CGMA. CGMA designation is management related to accounts and finances that is globally recognized and represents more than 500,000 accounting professionals. It is recognized in the United States Of America. 

The course will build a comprehensive foundation around technical, business, people, and leadership skills. This mass tree will involve overall professional and practical experience development and qualifications. The exam will assess the same skills and learning that are expected from the CMA-qualified candidate. The designation is an authentic mark that a candidate has a better drive for business decisions and making. 

4. Is CMA US Valid in the UK?

Yes, the CMA USA certification is valid in the United Kingdom. It is highly respected by European employers. The certification qualifies the candidate to be eligible in making faster business decisions, cope with the repercussions and manage the account. It is an international career certification that works domestically and abroad. You will be registered as a chartered management accountant internationally.

5. What is the salary of CIMA in the USA?

The average CMA salary is around $35000 where the range is from $20,500 to $114,000 annual compensation. These figures may differ depending on your level of experience, competence, and skills. 

6. Can I convert CIMA to CPA?

Yes, if you are a member of CIMA, you can qualify as a CPA. It has a mutual recognition agreement in US & Canada. It is done under MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement). All the professions in the country are regulated at the provincial level and if you want to get recognized in the same, you have to apply for membership for the given provision or region. Membership of CIMA has a fee that is undertaken annually under the CPD declaration. You have to pay annual membership dues to keep your membership and also follow the protocols in the CPD or continue professional development.

7. Is US CMA accepted in Canada?

Yes, US CMA is accepted in Canada. You may earn around $61,991 per year or get paid hourly around $31 approximately in Canada. If you want to be CMA certified, sign up as an IMA member and pay the membership fees. Otherwise, visit the website of NorthStar Academy, one of the best institutes providing the CMA USA course with numerous benefits. It is globally recognized and hence a professional does not need to give any further examination to qualify to work in Canada. 

8. Does Canada accept CIMA?

Yes, CIMA is accepted in Canada. It has a mutual recognition agreement. MRA is also administered and you can apply to the given province as per your residency. You may read the rules and regulations accordingly. The mutual recognition agreement is between CMA Canada and CIMA. 

9. Is CIMA better than CPA?

Both have their own set of pros and cons. CIMA on the other hand is one of the largest professional bodies that can make professionals qualified for managing accounts in the UK and other parts of the world. If you have a CPL license and CIMA certification, you’ll explore many career opportunities. 

The CPA certification, on the other hand, is best for all the individuals working in the finance field in India. You can take up any top CPA certification course and start the preparation for this as well.


As we read through the article, there is no better qualification between CMA USA and CIMA options. Both have their own sets of protocols that a professional needs to follow and conquer. However, you might find a small preference for the CMA USA certification as it is a foreign qualification. The companies might get a little picky and choose the CMA USA professionals. 

If you finally have developed an interest in the CMA USA credential, join the course without any delay and get certified as an essential part of an organization. For queries related to the course contact NorthStar Academy today and get all your doubts cleared.

We provide the best study material for our courses (12-sectioned books) and make you market-ready professionals under the guidance of India’s top tutors in this field.

Our CMA USA course is one of the top courses we provide along with the CPA, ACCA, CA, etc.

Instead of CIMA Vs CMA, it is up to the candidate or professional to decide where they want to invest for their individual career possibility as both courses will be ultimately helpful.

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