Updated on May 15, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

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). In contrast, 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. And this course focuses on cost and management accounting.

Yes, I agree. It is important to compare two different courses if you are confused about what needs to be done. And two major financial courses are not easy to decide. 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.

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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

Section CMA   CS
Organizing Body The exams are organized by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA.   The exams are organized by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), India.
Pattern The course is divided into two parts
  • Financial Planning, Performance & Analytics
  • Strategic Financial Management
  The course is divided into three levels
  • Foundation course
  • Executive program
  • Professional program
Duration of course The 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 2 to 3 years.  
Syllabus The 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 Fees The course expenses include 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.
Jobs Some 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
Difficulty The 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 Date The exams take place during Jan-Feb, May-Jun, and Sep-Oct every year. The schedule for the upcoming exams for the year 2022 (both Part I and Part II):
  • Jan 01 – Feb 28
  • May 01 – Jun 30
  • Sep 01 – Oct 31
  The exams take place in June and December every year. The upcoming exams for the year 2022 will begin on Jun 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 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 financial planning, decision support, analysis, control, and professional ethics, and these skills and knowledge are extremely important in the finance industry across the globe. This certification is globally recognized and offered by the Institute of Management Accountants, a US-based institute. More than 75,000 CMAs have been certified as of Jun 30, 2019, with around 40,000 active members. To become a CMA, you must meet several criteria, especially a commitment to continuous learning through continuing professional education.

You can look at this Nuts & Bolts of CMA Exam for more details.

What is Company Secretary (CS)?

This job is not typically clerical or secretarial; in fact, none of these. 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. 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 company’s administration is efficiently handled, ensuring that the regulations and statutory requirements are met, and ensuring that the board of directors‘ decisions are implemented. Meeting regular legislation and regulations laid down by the government, the company secretary also ensures that the board of directors is reminded and follows their legal responsibilities. A CS is also a company named representative on legal papers who ensure that the company and its board of directors operate its functions within the set laws.

CMA VS CS Exam Requirements


  1. You need to have a bachelor’s degree of 3 to 4 years maximum from an accredited college or university.
  2. You then need to have two full and continuous experiences of applying the principles of management accounting and financial management principles in domains such as preparing financial statements, financial planning and analysis, monthly closure, quarterly closure, and annual closure, auditing, budgeting, etc.
  3. Even after becoming a certified CMA, you still need to 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, including the foundation, executive, and professional program.
  3. After clearing your graduation, you can start directly with the executive and professional program if you are joining the course.

Why Pursue CMA?      

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

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, so you do not need to attend any class to crack it. Studying at home and by yourself is the way you do it. Although the registration is valid for five years, you can complete the course in a span of 2 to 3 years. As of Sept 15, 2020, there are more than 62,000 registered CS professionals across four 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, 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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