Frequently Asked Questions


  • CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification has been the global benchmark for management accountants and Financial professionals. The CMA is an advanced professional certification designed to measure the Management Accounting and Financial Management skills. This is especially relevant for success in a current business environment.
  • The US CMA certification is governed and awarded by the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) in the USA. 
  • The US CMAs are similar to the Cost Accountants in India.

Thanks to the advent of Internet and Globalization, the entire globe has become one market place.  The world has effectively shrunk with the geographical boundaries losing its meaning for doing business.   In this changing scenario it is important that a finance professional also is capable of playing the game with the newly defined rules than just the old ones.  CMA perfectly fits to this need and is important on account of the following:

  • International credibility and recognition
  • Strong knowledge base in Management Accounting and Financial Management
  • Significant career development opportunities
  • Yes. Management Accounting and Financial Management skills do not differ majorly on a global perspective.   The skill sets of such professionals are in demand all across the globe and India is certainly no exception.   Thus, US CMA is and will be one of the most sought-after professional qualifications not only for the Multi-National Companies in India but also for Indian Companies of repute as a qualified US CMA will be able to add a lot of value to them.

  • Considering the fact that the curriculum is updated every 5 years one can safely presume that what is relevant is what is being learnt and hence the CMA Certification does carry a lot of value not only in India but across the globe.

CMA is perfectly suited for the following categories of candidates: –

  1. Candidates who have completed their Class 12.
  2. Candidates who have completed their B. Com or any other degree with or without work experience.
  3. Candidates who have not been able to clear their CA Intermediate exams or any other professional exams.
  4. Candidates who have completed their degree and are working in an organization with an ambition to become professional accountants.

One should pursue the CMA immediately after Class 12 for the following reasons:-

  • Get an early start to one’s career.
  • Become financially independent sooner than your peers do.
  • Wider scope to explore one’s skills with global opportunities.

To be eligible for earning the Certification a candidate must fulfill the following requirements:-

  • Payment of Entrance fees at the time of registration.
  • Payment of yearly membership fee and be an active member of the IMA.
  • Passing both parts of the CMA Examination.
  • Fulfilling the educational qualification requirements (a degree from an accredited University).
  • Complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination.
  • Comply with the IMA Statement of Ethics for Professional Practice.

Eligibility for doing CMA can be divided into two components as under:-

Eligibility for taking up the exams

A pass in Class 12 or equivalent is sufficient to take up the exams. Thus, anyone pursuing any graduation can take up the exams.

Eligibility to earn the certification.

After successfully completing the CMA exams and on fulfilling certain requirements (Ref FAQ No. 6) specified by IMA, one can get the certification and is eligible to officially use the title US CMA after his or her name.

  • CMA certification requires completion of the following two parts:
    • Part 1 – Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics
    • Part 2 – Strategic Financial Management
  • Each exam part consists of 100 multiple choice questions and two descriptive type questions.  
  • The candidate will have 3 hours to complete the MCQs and 1 hour to complete the essay questions.   
  • The descriptive section opens up upon completion of 3 hours and when a candidate has answered at least 50% of the MCQs right.  In case the candidate has not, the descriptive section does not open up and the candidate is declared unsuccessful.
  • In case the candidate completes the MCQ section earlier than the allotted time of 3 hours, the unutilized time is carried forward for the descriptive section.
  • All scores are expressed as scaled scores ranging from 0 to 500 with the passing score being 360.

The CMA examination consists of 2 parts and the competencies covered along with the weightage for each competency is as under:-

Part-1 – Financial planning, Performance and Analytics

Topics Covered & Weightage
  1. External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%
  2. Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting – 20%
  3. Performance Management – 20%
  4. Cost Management – 15%
  5. Internal Controls – 15%
  6. Technology and Analytics – 15%


Part-2 – Strategic Financial Management

Topics Covered & Weightage
  1. Financial Statement Analysis – 20%
  2. Corporate Finance – 20%
  3. Decision Analysis – 25%
  4. Risk Management – 10%
  5. Investment Decisions – 10%
  6. Professional Ethics – 15%  



  • A freshly qualified US CMA professional will be sought after by both MNCs in India and also companies of repute since they know the value-add that a CMA can bring to the table.
  • The candidate can expect a placement much higher than what a normal B. Com graduate would be offered.
  • It is proven globally as well as in India that a qualified US CMA will be able to add a lot of value to his employer and his career growth will be on the fast track as compared to candidates who only have graduation background.

In addition to the above on account of a distinct possibility of employment in a MNC, the candidate can look for a global position in the years to come based on the performance during his or her career.


Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a premier Accounting Certification Program of the USA and is the US equivalent of the Indian Chartered Accountant (CA).   It is a designation provided to licensed accounting professionals who have passed the Uniform CPA Examination conducted by the AICPA.

Uniform CPA Examination is a  four-section exam that any student must pass to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This is a common exam for any of the 55 U.S. Jurisdictions which includes all the 50 States  apart  from  the  District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S.Virgin Islands, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana  Islands. In layman terms, a Certified Public Accountant in the USA  is equivalent to the Chartered Accountant in India.

The following are the key  website  links  that are relevant from  a  student  perspective :
  • AICPA  (CPA-EXAM.ORG)– The AICPA is responsible for  developing and scoring the CPA exams.
  • NASBA  (NASBA.ORG) – The NASBA maintains the National Candidate Database, provides candidates with the NTS and keeps the candidates records.
  • PROMETRIC (PROMETRIC.COM/CPA)  – Prometric Test Centers are where the CPA exams are given. They are responsible for scheduling and administering the exam, as well as sending the answer sheets to the AICPA for scoring.
    A student has to book the dates for his exams with the center that is most convenient for him.

Thanks to the advent of Internet and Globalization the entire globe has become one market place. The world has effectively shrunk with the geographical boundaries losing its meaning for doing business. In this changing scenario it is important that a finance professional is also capable of playing the game with the newly defined rules than just the old ones. CPA plays a major part in helping widening the opportunities for those who want to explore the world through their skills.

US CPA course might be a smart choice for you , If you are willing to invest one year of dedication, commitment and concentration to build a successful career in the field of accounting. A Great Career with an even better compensation is the ultimate result of such smart decisions. The fact that one can complete CPA within one year unlike many other courses is one of the main attractions to become a CPA.

As mentioned earlier a student has certain criteria for being eligible to take up the CPA exams and certain other criteria for obtaining its licensure. The following category of students can take up the CPA examination :

  • B.Com graduates with 70% and higher scores from a NAAC A+ rated Institution
  • B.Com graduates with 1styear M.Com completed
  • B.Com graduates with CA Intermediate / ACMA Intermediate qualifications (Indian CMA)
  • Professionally qualified candidates like the CAs, CMAs, CS with B.Com graduation

It is however preferred that you consult an expert to ascertain your eligibility before joining the program.

The following would be the indicative cost for a student from India to complete his / her CPA.The figures given here are indicative since the fee structure may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but is not expected to be substantially higher than what has been indicated.



Eligibility for the CPA can be classified into:

a) Eligibility for taking up the exams and
b) Eligibility for getting the Licensure.

A student has to have a minimum of 120 credits to take up the CPA examination while he has to have a minimum of 150 credits to get the licensure. Eligibility requirements  differ  from  one  jurisdiction (read as State) to the other and hence requirements will depend upon the jurisdiction where a student chooses to get his licensure.   Links  to  all  Boards  of  Accountancy  can  be  found  at  www.nasba.org.

There is no one answer for this question since this depends on each individual, their strengths and weaknesses. Generally speaking most of  the  students find BEC to be easiest  and FAR to be the most difficult. FAR  is considered  the  most difficult mainly on account of the volume of the syllabus and not on account of the difficulty. Between Auditing and Regulation the feeling is neutral. Both are equally easy and difficult in the sense there is very little to choose from.

Thus depending on the student’s thought process, they may want to take the easiest paper first and the difficult the last. For instance, Someone with a good Accounting and Auditing background would prefer taking up Auditing first, followed by Regulation, followed by BEC and then last FAR.

Hence, with an overall target of 12 months to complete all 4 papers a student must aspire to complete Auditing, Regulation and BEC in about 8 months time and complete FAR in the balance 4 months. However, this is only an indicative exercise and may be adjusted to the work schedule of the student.

The Online Exam is made up of 4 papers of 4 hours each. They are as under :

  • Auditing  and  Attestation  (AUD)
  • Business  Environment  and  Concepts  (BEC)
  • Financial  Accounting  and  Reporting  (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

Each paper has 5 smaller sections called TESTLETS  comprising of Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), Task Based Simulations (TBS or Simulations) and in the case of BEC, Written Communication Tasks (WCT). The table in the following page will give a clear idea on the structure of the Exam.

The passing score in each paper is 75 and to understand what the score meansone needs to understand the exam structure and the scoring pattern in detail. Whilst a modest attempt  has been made to explain this in brief from a student perspective it is felt that this may not be very relevant. A student must be prepared to score 85+ in the exams in which case the passing score must be easily achieved. The score by a student does not indicate nor can be interpreted as a percentage. Thus a score of 75 is not 75% but is a weighted combination of scaled scores from the MCQs and TBSs for Auditing, Regulation and FAR papers and a weighted combination of scaled scores from the MCQs, TBSs and WCTs for the BEC paper. The scores are calculated using formulas that take into account factors like whether the question was answered correctly and the relative difficulty of each question. Thus difficult questions have more weightage as compared to easier questions and hence a student has to answer more number of easier questions right as compared to difficult ones.

The following are the sequence of events once a student decides to pursue his / her CPA  :

  • Decide on which study program to join after appropriate due diligence  
  • Get a preliminary evaluation done by the Institution conducting the study program.  This  is only to ensure that a candidate is eligible before he / she enrols for a program.  
  • Join the Study Program
  • Get the transcripts / credentials evaluated by the official agency.  
  • Apply and pay the required fees in the respective State Board of Accountancy.  
  • Receipt of Notice to Schedule (NTS) from the State Board of Accountancy.  
  • Use the NTS to schedule the exams in the Prometric Centre where the student is planning to take up the exams. It is important to note that the NTS is valid only for 6 months. Hence a student has to take up all papers for which he or she has registered with the State Board of Accountancy within 6 months of receiving the NTS.

Generally the Institution where the student is undergoing the study program will assist the student in completing the activities listed above.

With exams administered in India in 8 locations (Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Trivandrum) a candidate from India can take the exam at  the authorized Prometric test centres in these cities. Prior to testing, a candidate must first select a participating U.S.Jurisdiction (read as State), contact  the Board of  Accountancy in  that State to obtain Application materials and submit the completed application along with  the  required fees as instructed. After receiving the Notice  to Schedule (NTS), the student may use the NTS to apply to take  the Exam in the location of his choice.