Difference Between CMA and CS

CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant and this course is duly sponsored and offered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) and this course focuses on cost and management accounting whereas CS stands for Company Secretary and it is offered by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and this course focuses on corporate law.

Yes, I agree. It is important to compare two different courses if you have confusion about what needs to be done. And two major financial courses are definitely not easy to decide between. The notes given below can help you with your confusion, as the comparison below will make it easy for you to decide about your future.

Below is the flow of the article –

  1. CMA vs. CS Infographics
  2. What is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?
  3. What is Company Secretary (CS)?
  4. CMA vs. CS Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CMA?
  6. Why pursue CS?

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CMA vs. CS Infographics

Reading time: 90 seconds

Let’s understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CMA vs. CS Infographics.


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CMA vs. CS – Comparative Table

SectionCMA CS
Organizing BodyThe exams are organized by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USAThe exams are organized by the   Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), India.
PatternThe course is divided into 2 parts

  • Financial Planning, Performance & Analytics
  • Strategic Financial Management
The course is divided into 3 levels

  • Foundation course
  • Executive program
  • Professional program
Duration of courseThe candidates must complete the course in 3 years. However, most candidates complete the course in 12 to 18 months.The candidates usually complete the course in a span of 2 to 3 years.


SyllabusThe syllabus covers the following topics

  • Financial Reporting Decisions
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Cost Management
  • Internal Controls
  • Performance Management
  • Decision Analysis
  • Risk Management
  • Investment Decisions
  • Technology & Analytics
  • Professional Ethics
The syllabus covers the following topics

  • Basic Economics & Business Environment
  • General & Commercial Laws
  • Company Law
  • Tax Laws
  • Economic Labour & Industrial Laws
  • Banking & Insurance – Law & Practice



Exam FeesThe course expense includes entrance fees and exam fees. The overall cost comes to be around $1,080 for professional members and $810 for students.The cost of the course varies in the range of $400 to $500. The ICAI members and commerce graduates are eligible for certain exemptions.
JobsSome of the common profiles include

  • Financial Consultant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Risk Manager
  • Cost Accountant
  • Internal auditor
Some of the common profiles include

  • Chief Advisor to Board
  • Strategic Manager
  • Corporate Planner
  • Executive Secretary to MD/ CEO
DifficultyThe exams are moderately difficult. During January-February 2020, the overall pass rate was 45% for both Parts I and Part II exams.The exams are quite difficult. During June 2019, the pass rates for the Executive program and Professional program were in the range of 24% to 33% and 8% to 17% respectively.
Exam DateThe exams take place during Jan-Feb, May-Jun, and Sep-Oct every year. The schedule for the upcoming exams for the year 2021 (both Part I and Part II):

  • Jan 01 – Feb 28
  • May 01 – Jun 30
  • Sep 01 – Oct 31
The exams take place in the months of June and December every year. The upcoming exams for the year 2021 will begin on June 01.




What is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?

Suppose you want to pursue a course with professional documentation that can earn you good value in the fields of advanced management accounting and financial management areas. CMA is a certification that gives you and your profession international or global recognition. It will confirm your knowledge in the domains of financial planningFinancial PlanningFinancial planning is a structured approach to understanding your current and future financial goals and then taking the necessary measures to accomplish them. Because this does not begin and end in a specific time frame, it is referred to as an ongoing more, decision support, analysis, control, and professional ethics. These skills and knowledge are extremely important in the finance industry across the globe. This certification globally recognized course and is offered by the institution called the Institute of Management Accountants, which is a US-based institute. More than 75,000 CMAs have been certified as of 30th June 2019, out of which around 40,000 active members. To become a CMA, you have to meet a number of criteria, especially a commitment to learning continuously through continuing professional education.

For more details, you can look at this Nuts & Bolts of CMA Exam.

What is Company Secretary (CS)?

This job is not typically a clerical or a secretarial job; in fact, it is none of these. A company secretary position is one of the senior management positions in any company, be it a private sector company or a public sector one. A company secretary makes sure that the administration of the company is efficiently handled, making sure that the compliance the regulations and the statutory requirements are met, and also making sure that the decisions of the board of directors are implemented. It is just the name that sounds clerical; however, there is a huge difference in the designation and the job role of a company secretary. Meeting regular legislations and regulations laid down by the government, the company secretary also makes sure that the board of directors is reminded and does follow their legal responsibilities. A CS is also called a company named representative on legal papers who make sure that the company and its board of directors operate its functions within the set laws.

CMA VS CS Exam Requirements


  1. You need to first have a bachelor’s degree of 3 to 4 years maximum from an accredited college or an accredited university.
  2. You then need to have two full and continuous experiences of applying the principles of management accounting and financial management in domains such as preparing financial statements, financial planning and analysisFinancial Planning And AnalysisFinancial planning and analysis (FP&A) is budgeting, analyzing, and forecasting the financial data to align with its financial objectives and support its strategic decisions. It helps investors to know if the company is stable and profitable for more, monthly closure, quarterly closure, and also annual closure, auditing, budgeting, etc.
  3. Even after becoming a certified CMA, you need to still have 30 hrs of CPE credits along with 2 hours of ethics to maintain the annual IMA membership with an active status.


  1. To become a CS, you need to be a 10+2.
  2. After you complete high school, you need to pursue a 3 stage course, which includes the foundation, executive, and professional program.
  3. In case you are joining the course after clearing your graduation, you can start directly with the executive and professional program.

Why Pursue CMA?      

To work towards one of the rarest courses like CMA is defiantly a pleasure, and this pleasure comes to you with definite hard work. This certificate gives you the certification of US-based institutes, which is international recognition in financial management fields and in advanced management accounting. Besides maintaining your membership, you have to be committed to CPE. After being certified, you can easily work for various domains in the finance industry for either a public or a private sector company. CMA certification signifies the knowledge you possess in various domains of the industry. There are more than 75,000 CMA members as of 30th June 2019, out of which around 40,000 active members.

Why pursue CS?

Being a CS gives you an amazingly rewarding career both professionally and financially, for you can work as an independent professional as well as with a company. This course is a correspondence course, which means you do not need to attend any sort of class to crack it. Studying at home and by yourself is the way you do it. Although the registration is valid for 5 years, you can complete the course in a span of 2 to 3 years. As of 15th September 2020, there are more than 62,000 registered CS professionals across 4 regional offices and 72 chapters of the institute.

This has been a guide to CMA vs. CS. Here we discuss the difference between CMA and CS along with infographics and a comparative table. You can learn more from the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Alia says

    Very informative, I really like your way you present your blog with the help of infographics. really appreciable. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Cressida Dane says

    I must say in your every blog you come up with something new and detailed information. Keep doing such great work. Coming to the point, would like to tell me how to register for CMA exam. Please tell me the registration process.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Here I have a detailed article on CMA EXAM DATES AND REGISTRATION PROCESS. Here I have elaborated in stepwise manner how can one register themselves as the member of IMA, also important prerequisites to sit in CMA Exams, how to register for the CMA exam and exam related policies have also been included for your benefit. I hope this helps you.

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