CMA vs CIMA UK:  Understanding the key differences

Certified Management Accountant (CMA USA) is a certification program in Financial Accounting and Strategic Financial Management.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA UK) is a course that offers training and skills in Management Accountancy and other related subjects. CIMA is a body that is based out of the United Kingdom.

Eligibility  criteria

A CMA certification needs to have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 2 years of relevant professional work experience.

For enrolling in CIMA, the candidate needs to have completed the 12th class and must pass 16 papers.


CMA includes two pillars:

Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

CIMA focuses on 4 pillars:

Certification Level

Operational Level

Managerial Level

Strategic Level

"Exemptions in CIMA"

Exemptions for those with CA

A candidate who already holds a CA certification and is a member of the ICAI gets exempted from 16 out of the 17 papers for India. Such a candidate has to attempt only one strategy case study assessment.

After the one exam, the candidate needs to have had three years of professional work experience for a CIMA membership.

Exemptions for those with MBA or ACCA

Those candidates who have an MBA or an ACCA get exemption from writing the first 11 papers of the CIMA UK program. The candidate must pass a CIMA Gateway exam to be eligible for the exemption.

Post the exemption qualification; the candidate can directly start from the Strategic Level. Those exempted from certain papers will have to pay exemption fees.

Salary Trends - CIMA UK vs CMA USA

A CMA holder can earn up to $100,000 per annum as a fresher. This could range between 4 lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum in India.

A CIMA-certified accountant earns an average median salary of up to £63,000 per annum, while in India, one can earn anywhere upwards of 10 lakhs per annum.

The final decision to choose between CMA vs CIMA UK should solely be based on your interest. 

To learn more about the courses, you can contact the experts at NorthStar Academy, we will guide all your aspirations to excellence.