What is the ACCA CMA MoU: Facts & Information Disclosed

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What is the ACCA CMA MoU: Facts & Information Disclosed


The Memorandum of Understanding is usually signed between the two or more parties to mutually agree on some pre-decided conditions. When it comes to the IMA, ACCA, and ICAI, they have agreements to exempt the member of their respective organizations. There is an ACCA CMA Mou with top institutions in particular nations to give participants the option to practice accounting in other locations without incurring additional costs. It reduces the need for duplicate credentials and allows ACCA members to have two memberships. The article will discuss the various aspects of the MoUs and agreements.

Before that, let’s briefly overview these three accounting bodies.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a global professional association that offers a professional certification of the same name, ACCA. Candidates with this certification are considered the top accountants worldwide since the course focuses on improving the candidate’s foundation of accounting concepts, which is beneficial in the domains of audit and tax. The Insititute of Management Accountants (IMA) is a global accounting organization offering the prestigious Certified Management Accountant (CMA) USA certificate. This certification program prepares students for positions in financial management and accounting. The Institute of Cost Management Accountants of India (ICMAI) is the national-level organization that provides the CMA India certification to students and professionals who complete their three-level exams.

Now let’s understand the various aspects of the MoUs.

Mutual Recognition Agreement Between ACCA and IMA

CMA USA is the world’s most renowned management accounting program offered by IMA. It is more common in the United States and is recognized in over 100 countries. The ACCA and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) have signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to provide members of both organizations with a clear path to each other’s credentials. ACCA and IMA collectively represent 653,000 members and applicants and have a global network of 89 offices and centers worldwide. The effort is a part of Financial Leadership and Performance, a new strategic effort by the two professional associations that aims to assist the professional aspirants of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and other up-and-coming leaders.

According to the MRA, ACCA members who have passed the ACCA’s Professional Level advanced management accounting papers would be granted immediate admission to IMA upon application. Members of the IMA who hold the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) USA designation will be eligible to join ACCA after completing three of ACCA’s Professional Level papers, the professional ethics module, and demonstrating 12 months of additional practical experience in a relevant role.

Difference Between ACCA and CMA USA

Even though several characteristics may be used to distinguish CMA from ACCA, the five fundamental differences listed below are regarded as the most important:

  • When it comes to worldwide recognition, ACCA is a more recognized course than CMA USA. ACCA has graduated approximately 436,000 students from 180 countries to date. Conversely, CMA has just 40,000 members yet a global presence in over 100 countries.
  • CMA USA is a more lucrative career option than the ACCA. Passing CMA USA is somewhat more difficult than ACCA. The pass rate for CMA USA is around 45%, whereas the passing rate for ACCA is around 50%. This roots in the fact that US CMAs earn more money than ACCAs.
  • That said, if we compare ACCA with CMA USA, there is a significant pay disparity between these qualified professionals. If you complete your CMA, you will earn an average income of around 70,000 USD per year if you have worked in the domain for 1 to 5 years. ACCA, on the other hand, would allow you to earn an average of $46,000 each year.
  • If you complete CMA USA, you will be considered an expert in your profession, and numerous chances will become available to you. ACCA is adequate, but it is significantly older in comparison. As a result, Fortune 500 organizations prefer US CMAs over ACCAs.
  • ACCA could be a better option than CMA USA if you just have a limited amount of money to spend on a certification. Because CMA fees are significantly higher than ACCA fees, CMA fees are almost three times those of ACCA.

What is the ACCA CMA MoU?

On August 9, 2021, the Institute of Cost Accountants of India(ICMAI) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (ACCA CMA MoU) to cooperate on professional training, education, and examinations. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by CMA Biswarup Basu, President of the Institute, and Helen Brand, Chief Executive of ACCA. The two top professional organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the highest professional and ethical standards. Both organizations pledge to collaborate in professional training, education, and examinations.

Following this agreement of ACCA CMA Mou, members of both Institutes will be granted advanced mutual entrance via exemptions from appearing in the majority of papers in order to get the qualification of the other Professional Body. Both Institutes have also committed to offering continuing professional development (CPD) courses, seminars, and conferences that are collaboratively organized and co-branded. In addition, the two institutes will identify appropriate research opportunities and conduct cooperative research and publishing.

So, that’s all for the ACCA CMA MoU, now let us understand the ACCA exemptions for CMA in detail.

ACCA Exemption for CMA

There are ACCA exemptions for CMA USA-qualified professionals in the same manner that there are exemptions available for people who desire to pursue CMA after ACCA. If CMA members wish to get certified by both the CMA and the ACCA, they can apply for certain exemptions as per the ACCA CMA MoU.

You are exempted from passing the following ACCA test papers if you are an IMA member:

F1 – Accountant in Business

F2 – Management Accounting

F3 – Financial Accounting

F4 – Corporate and Business Law

F5 – Performance Management

F8 – Audit and Assurance

F9 – Financial Management

This means you are not required to complete the whole Fundamental Level, which consists of 9 examinations covering the Knowledge and Skills modules. You can move directly to the professional level and pass the remaining five examinations at that level to become ACCA certified.

  • ACCA members who finish P4 (Advanced Financial Management) and P5 (Advanced Performance Management) will receive full recognition, allowing them to qualify for US CMA certification.
  • For other ACCA members

a) Part 2 of the CMA USA exam has been waived.

b) To obtain the CMA USA certification, you must pass the I P4 and/or P5, (ii) Part 1 of the CMA exam.

What are the US CMA Exemptions for ACCA Exam?

  • Finish the mandatory ACCA papers P1 (Governance, Risk and Ethics), P2 (Corporate Reporting), and P3 (Professional Practice) (Business Analysis)
  • Complete at least one year (12 months) of ACCA Practical Experience Requirements, as well as all Essential Performance Objectives.
  • Continue working on the Professional Ethics module.

Why should a candidate continue with ACCA after CMA?

  • The ACCA program focuses more on accounting, auditing, taxation, and cost. However, there is a prerequisite for knowledge of business and leadership, which is handled by CMA USA.
  • The individual grasp is increased with more worldwide (100 to 180 countries) career possibilities by ACCA.
  • Alumni of a significant financial industry network.
  • Due to the exclusions of 9 papers out of the 13 ACCA tests, it becomes easy to have one more achievement listed on your Resume.
  • Access to the ACCA jobs employment portals for overseas careers.

CMA USA Exemptions for CMA India

If a student wants to study CMA USA after completing CMA India, he must apply for membership. The exams are not required. CMA India and CMA USA are both equally regarded in terms of employment in India. However, CMA USA cannot function as a signature authority in India. Similarly, CMA India does not receive specific rights, and the MoU just provides them with job prospects.

Why is CMA USA better than CMA India?

Choosing between CMA USA and CMA India is a decision that often leaves students feeling overwhelmed. Let’s look at the main differences between the two courses to see which one is better:

  • As opposed to CMA India, which is a three-year program, CMA USA is hardly a one-year program.
  • The CMA USA exam format consists of two exam parts or two papers only, and the CMA India exam consists of three levels (foundation, intermediate, and final levels). The CMA India program consists of 20 papers.
  • The global pass percentage for US CMA is 50%, whereas it fluctuates around 30-35% for CMA India.
  • While CMA USA is a worldwide recognized certification, CMA India is only accepted in India.
  • The US CMA training is based on international accounting standards (US GAAP and IFRS), whereas the CMA India course is based on Indian accounting standards (Indian GAAP).
  • CMA USA can work in Big 4 or Fortune 500 companies in India and throughout the world. CMA India, on the other hand, can only function in the Indian market. CMA USA is unquestionably a favoured alternative for anyone who intends to work outside of India or for multinational corporations.
  • When comparing the salaries of those with CMA USA and CMA India credentials, there is a big difference. CMA USA offers way higher pay than CMA India does. If you obtain your CMA USA and have one to five years of experience in the industry, you can expect to make an average salary of roughly 70,000 USD annually. On the other hand, CMA India enables you to make an estimated $30,000 annually.


1. How many ACCA papers are exempted following the CMA?

There are seven papers you would be exempted from in ACCA after completing CMA, per the guidelines of the ACCA CMA MoU. In some cases, qualified applicants may also be able to request exemptions if they have appropriate job experience in the accounting and financial fields. Based on the previous credentials, a student can claim a maximum of nine exemptions from Knowledge Level or Skills Level papers.

2. Is ACCA tougher than CMA?

Furthermore, to determine which is more challenging, consider the passing rate, and as you can see, US CMA is far more difficult to pass than ACCA. CMA USA pass percentages are close to 40%, but ACCA pass percentages range from 45-50% on average. However, many people try to have dual certifications completing one after another. It becomes easy with the help of ACCA CMA MoU agreements as they get the exemptions.

3. Is CMA equivalent to ACCA?

Both credentials are widely recognized and have global recognition, but if you finish CMA USA, you will be treated as an expert in Accounting Management, and numerous chances will present themselves to you. On the other hand, ACCA is for accounting, auditing, and taxing, but it is significantly older in comparison. As a result, Fortune 500 organizations prefer CMAs over ACCAs.

4. Can we do both CMA and ACCA?

You can enroll in CMA as an ACCA member if you meet the other qualifying conditions. Members of the ACCA who want to gain a US CMA credential can pass the two-part CMA test and fulfill the two-year experience requirement in a management accounting employment capacity. After ACCA CMA Mou, If you are a member of one of the institutions, you may be eligible for various exemptions if you want to pursue the other course.

5. Are there any Exemptions available if you are already an ACCA?

 According to the ACCA CMA MoU, if you are currently an ACCA, you are not obliged to have a bachelor’s degree. In other words, you will benefit from this exemption if you choose to pursue the ACCA qualification immediately following your 10+2 school leaving exams and did not pursue or have not yet completed your bachelor’s degree. As an ACCA member, you are still eligible to enroll in CMA and fulfill the remaining CMA qualifying requirements.

6. How do I apply for ACCA exemptions?

ACCA CMA MoU exemptions are not granted automatically, and you must apply to ACCA for them. The application letter should be accompanied by copies of official papers such as certificates, mark sheets, or transcripts that have been issued to you by IMA. These documents must be written in English, and the copies must be appropriately signed and stamped by IMA; otherwise, they will be rejected. When ACCA gets your application, they will review it to make sure everything is in order before granting you the exemptions.

7. When may you not claim an exemption even though you are eligible?

Candidates will not be eligible for ACCA CMA MoU exemptions if their job experience is irrelevant to the field of finance and accounting or if their degree was obtained from an institution of higher learning that the ACCA does not recognize.


Now, it should be simple to interpret the terms of the ACCA CMA MoU, which exempts professionals from various exams or eligibility criteria. 

To prepare for these certifications, whichever course you like to pursue first or second, you must enroll yourself in a reputable training facility, such as NorthStar Academy (NSA). NSA provides well-organized CMA USA and ACCA courses with a strategic approach for effective completion. Get help from NSA’s finest mentors and pass these certification examinations easily. Our top Mentor, M. Irfat sir, has helped thousands of professionals and students achieve their dream. He won the Teaching Excellence Award for his contributions to education, and his only mission in life is to guide the students’ aspirations to excellence. 

NorthStar Academy also provides top-of-the-line study material in association with Gleim and has a passing rate of around 83%. Reach out to us at NSA if you’re still stuck, and we’ll provide you with all the assistance you need to accomplish your ambitions.

Call us at +918147470707 to speak to an expert.

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