Chartered Management Accountant (CMA) is a prestigious credential awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) for accountants and financial professionals to validate their capabilities in management accounting. As per CMA Global Salary Survey, March 2016, professionals with CMA designation earn 61% more than their non-CMA peers in terms of base salary as well as total compensation.
It is necessary to become a member of IMA for anyone willing to earn the designation. However, membership can also be of different types depending on the education, professional work experience, and other relevant factors. There is a wealth of information available on various aspects of CMA designation and how it can help a student or professional build and further a great career in the field of finance and management accounting. It is well-known that management accounting essentially broadens the scope for professionals, making it possible for them to work in non-finance career roles while benefiting from their knowledge and expertise in management accounting.
In this context, the value and credibility of CMA as a designation is indisputable. However, those well acquainted with the significance and utility of CMA may well already have decided to pursue it for all the benefits it can afford. This article is specifically meant for such individuals who have made up their minds to take up the challenge of CMA to further their career and skill set in management accounting. In the course of this article, we would elaborate in a stepwise manner on how can one register themselves as the member of IMA, an important prerequisite to sit in CMA exams, register for the exams, schedule their exam appointment to appear for the exam at one of the authorized testing centers and clear the tests to obtain this coveted certification. Useful information about the entrance fees, exam fees along with exam dates, and exam-related policies have also been included for the benefit of the reader.
- How to Join IMA?
- Paying CMA Entrance Fee
- The CMA Entrance Fee covers
- CMA Exam Fee
- How to Register for CMA Exam
- CMA Exam Format
- CMA Exam Subjects
- CMA Exam Window
- CMA Exam Dates
- How to Schedule Your CMA Exam?
How to Join IMA?
To enroll as a member of IMA, visit this page
As the first step to CMA, one must register as a member of CMA, but there are several types of membership available. This includes:
This is available to students willing to acquire IMA members and gain access to useful resources and learn more about the role of accountants and financial professionals. One must have been enrolled for 6 or more credit hours in a college or university. Member Price: $39
Professional Membership & Application Processing Fee
This membership package is specially designed for full-fledged professionals working as accountancy and other financial roles, which is aimed at equipping them with cutting-edge support and necessary resources to take their career a rung higher. For these members, a one-time-only application fee of $15 is also applicable. Member Price: $245
Academic Membership & Application Processing Fee:
This membership package is specially designed for teachers and researchers and offers access to special tools and resources useful for the purpose. This includes access to the ethics curriculum, webinars, research grants, case studies, and other materials. A one-time-only application fee of $15 is applicable for them as well. Full-time faculty of accredited institutions can receive a 50% discount on the membership fee. Member Price: $135
Two Years Student Membership
This membership package offers several benefits at a discounted rate, usually available only to professional members, and helps them prepare for a successful career in accounting and finance. One must be enrolled in 6 or more credit hours in a college or university to qualify for this membership. Member Price: $78
Paying CMA Entrance Fee
After registering as a member of IMA, one must enroll in the CMA certification program offered by IMA by paying the CMA entrance fee. This $250 fee is non-refundable and must be paid before registering for an exam. Any applicable discounts, including student and academic discounts, would be automatically applied at the time of checkout.
Step 1: Pay CMA Entrance Fee
To pay the CMA entrance fee, visit this page (see screenshot below). Here, you will find the fee payment details, click on the ‘Add to Cart’ option below the CMA Entrance Fee, after which a green checkbox will appear on top against the words ‘Product added to the cart. Please visit your shopping cart to check out.’ Click on the highlighted words ‘shopping cart’ or ‘Checkout’ on the top right of the page, which will take you to the next page.
Step 2: Create the New User Account
This is what the next page looks like (see screenshot below). If you are an existing user of IMA, log in with your details or register as a new user. By clicking on the ‘Register Now’ button, you will be directed to the next page.
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Step 3: Provide your Personal Details
This is what the next page looks like (see screenshot below).
You will be required to provide the following details here.
- Personal details, including your name, gender, and date of birth.
- Details of any Non-IMA Credentials you may have obtained earlier.
- Details of your educational background, including details of your Degree and major along with start and completion date of degree and the educational institution
- Details related to your profession, including the industry, job title, responsibilities, company name, and details of the company, including a number of employees and current annual revenues.
- You will be required to provide details of the business or home address along with the telephone number.
- Finally, you will need to provide an email address for registration and choose a username and password.
Next, click on the submit button, which will take you to the next page (see screenshot below).
This page would display details of shopping cart items (CMA Entrance Fee in this case), along with the price and the date.
You might see a red bar below ‘Demographics’ with a cross on it opposite the words,’ action required to continue,’ clicking on this red bar would take you to the next page (see screenshot below), which displays a confidentiality agreement. You are required to read the agreement carefully before clicking in the checkbox for ‘Do you abide by the confidentiality agreement?’
Next, click on the finish button to complete the formalities and make the payment by choosing a suitable mode of payment.
The CMA Entrance Fee covers
- Credential review for educational qualification
- Credential review for experience qualification
- Six months access to the CMA Exam Support package which includes printable practice questions
- Final Score Report
- Performance feedback reports for candidates who do not pass
- Personalized, numbered certificate for office display
CMA Exam Fee
We can summarize the information about membership and exam fee as below:
|Type||Professional Member Fees||Student Member Fees|
|Certification Entrance Fee (nonrefundable)||$250||$188|
|Exam Fee||$415 per part||$311 per part|
How to Register for CMA Exam
To register for CMA exams, visit this page. On this page, choose CMA Program Exam Part 1 or Part 2 for a pre-specified exam window. Click on the ‘Add to Cart’ button below the applicable exam, which would take you to the next page to complete the checkout process (see screenshot below):
If you encounter any issues during checkout, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-638-4427.
After completing the registration process, you will receive confirmation of the same, including your authorization number and testing window, along with further instructions meant for exam candidates.
CMA Exam Format
Before we discuss further details about exam dates and policies, it would be better to get acquainted with the format and content of CMA exams.
It is a single-level certification program consisting of Part 1 and Part 2 exams. These are multiple-choice online tests administered at hundreds of testing facilities worldwide. Each exam is of 4-hour duration and consists of 100 multiple choice questions and two essays. Candidates are required to complete the multiple-choice questions in 3 hours and tackle two essays in the remaining one hour. This leaves 30 minutes to complete each of the essays.
CMA Exam Subjects
CMA Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
- External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%)
- Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (20%)
- Performance Management (20%)
- Cost Management (15%)
- Internal Controls (15%)
- Technology and Analytics (15%)
Duration – 4 hours
Marks – 500 (passing percentage 72%)
Question pattern – 3 hours- 100 multiple choice question(weightage 75%) and 1 hour- 2 essay type question(weightage 25%)
CMA Part 2: Strategic Financial Management
- Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
- Corporate Finance (20%)
- Decision Analysis (25%)
- Risk Management (10%)
- Investment Decisions (10%)
- Professional Ethics (15%)
Duration – 4 hours
Marks – 500 (passing percentage 72%)
Question pattern – 3 hours for 100 multiple choice question (weightage 75%) and 1 hour for two essay type question 30 minute each (weightage 25%)
CMA Exam Window
CMA exams are available in 3 exam windows every year.
- January and February
- May and June
- September and October
CMA Exam Dates
|Exam Window (Part 1 and 2)||First Exam Date||Last Exam Date||Last Day to Register|
|January and February 2021||January 1||February 28||February 15|
|May and June 2021 (includes April)||April 1||June 30||June 15|
|September and October 2021||September 1||October 31||October 15|
Important Points to Note
Some of the things worth keeping in mind while pursuing the certification are included here:
- The authorization number issued to you on exam registration is valid only for the testing window you selected. It cannot be postponed.
- It is a must to register for at least one exam part within the first 12 months of enrolling for the program.
- Fees are subject to change at the discretion of the organizing body.
- To avail of the student or academic discounts, one must hold a student or academic membership of IMA.
How to Schedule Your Exam?
The next step is to schedule the exam appointment with Prometric. Prometric is the testing partner for CMA exams, which administers them through a global network of more than 8,000 Prometric Testing Centers spread across 160 countries, including the US and other parts of the world. To locate the nearest test center and schedule an exam, visit www.prometric.com/ICMA. It is also possible to schedule an exam with Prometric by phone. The number specific to your location can be found on the Prometric website.
Registration Deadline, Exam Refund & Rescheduling Policy:
Any exams must be scheduled at least 72 hours before the exam date. CMA entrance fees are non-refundable, and one can seek a refund of exam registration fees within 30 days from the date of registration. This includes a deduction $25 as processing fee from the refund and is possible only if no exam appointments have been scheduled with Prometric.
No postponement of exam parts is allowed, and the candidate must sit in the same exam window for which the registration is sought. If, for any reason, one is unable to schedule an exam appointment after registration, they cannot sit for the exam in that testing window and must re-register for another testing window and pay the exam fee again. However, if, for any reason, after scheduling an exam with Prometric, one needs to reschedule, one must provide a 30-day notice and is required to pay $50 as rescheduling fees.
Specified Time Limit for Completing CMA
Every CMA candidate must complete both the exam parts in a maximum of 3 years from the date of registration for certification. Failing to do so, any completed parts will automatically expire, and the candidate will be required to repay the CMA entrance fee and retake both of the exam parts.
CMA aspirants can refer to this article as a ready reckoner for key information related to the process of enrolling for the certification program, registering for the exam, and certain useful pointers that will prove to be of help along the way.
However, before making the choice of CMA as a designation, an individual must consider every aspect carefully to ensure that it can make a value-addition to their profile and help enhance career prospects in the desired direction.