Home / Articles / CMA VS ACCA – WHICH CREDENTIAL IS THE BEST? | Acca Study Material




CMA vs ACCA – Which Credential is the Best? The best decisions should not be made in haste. Because most of the time when you choose in hurry, your decision becomes costly. Thus, we want you to take your time to read the details below before choosing what suits you best – CMA certification vs ACCA certification

Both of these domains of study have great potential. But one may suit you best; another may not fit your idea of career you should pursue. So there are three things you must do to ensure that you don’t take any hectic decision. First, you know your career goals. Don’t follow your friends or colleagues. They may have reasons of their own. But those reasons may not resonate with you. To decide on a course, you need to have your own reasons of pursuance. Those reasons will be served by your career goals. Think big. Think long term. Then try to see whether your long term goal is getting aligned with your decision now. This perspective will help you take the right decision.

These courses need dedication and devotion. You just start and can’t give in between. Think before you even start. Ask yourself – “Am I ready to put in the hard work and commitment toward it for few years?” If the answer is yes, go ahead. Till you get the answer as ‘yes’, think and ponder.

The last part is as simple as it can be. Read about these courses. As a starting point, just read this article. We have filtered out the best information for you to help you decide the best course.

 If you’re ready, let’s get started.

Here’s the flow of the article –

  1. CMA Vs ACCA Table
  2. What is Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?
  3. What is Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)?
  4. Key differences between CMA vs ACCA
  5. Why pursue CMA?
  6. Why pursue ACCA?


CMA Acca
Certification Organised By : CMA is approved and sponsored by Institute Of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA). ICMA is affiliated by Institute Of Management Accountants (IMA). Acca course is organized by the global body of Association Of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Number Of Levels : CMA has only one level to clear. The level has two parts, Part one is about Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance & Control and Part two is all about Financial Decision Making. If you like to qualify as an Acca, you need to clear four levels :
  1. Knowledge
  2. Skills
  3. Essentials
  4. Options
Duration Of Exam : In CMA, you need to sit for two exams. Each exam will consist of 4 hours. In Acca Other than the first 3 papers under Knowledge level, duration of all exams consist of 3 hours each.Duration of  the first 3 papers under Knowledge level is 2 hours each.
Exam Sessions :
  • January
  • February
  • May
  • June
  • September
  • October
  • March
  • June
  • September
  • December

What is Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?

  • CMA is one of the most reputed management accounting courses all over the world. It’s more popular in USA, but it has presence over 100 countries. Its reputation has brought forth a lot of students under its umbrella and ICMA has produced a ton of high quality students over the years. It’s being seen that if you do CMA, you would earn almost 1/3rdmore than your non-certified counterparts.
  • Most domains in finance concentrate on the subject of the certification only. But CMA is different. It focuses on management accounting as well as financial management. Thus CMA is more comprehensive than any other courses in financial domain.
  • Sitting for CMA is more convenient for students. It has over 100 examination centres all over the world and you just need to clear two exams to get certified. Even each exam is only of 4 hours duration.

What is Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)?

  • ACCA is one of the best accounting certification courses. ACCA has been training and educating students for a long time.

Over 436,000 students have already passed out doing ACCA and they all are employed in reputed companies. What makes ACCA more dignified is its presence over 180 countries.

  • Like CMA, the curriculum of ACCA is also very comprehensive. It not only deals with finance domain, but it also emphasizes on technical and management aspects of finance as well.
  • ACCA has a great global presence. Moreover you would get a world class education under a very short budget which is rare. And once you complete the course, you would be recognized as one of the best accountants in the world. Even companies prefer ACCA more than anyone in accounting domain.

Key differences CMA vs ACCA

There are many differences between CMA and ACCA. Let’s have a glance at all of them.

  • Fees: If you want to get a global certification within a short budget, you should choose ACCA over CMA. Because the fees for CMA are much more than ACCA; the fees of CMA are almost three times of ACCA.
  • Global presence: If you compare international recognition, ACCA is more recognized course than CMA. Till now, ACCA has produced over 436,000 students over 180 countries. Whereas, CMA has produced only 40,000 members and has global presence over 100 countries.
  • Salary difference: There is a huge difference of salary if we compare between ACCA and CMA. As we’re telling you that ACCA is much more globally recognized than CMA, in terms of salary CMA is much ahead of ACCA. If you complete your CMA, you would be able to get an average salary of almost US $70,000 per year if you have experience between 1 to 5 years in the domain. Whereas, if you complete your ACCA, you would be able to earn on an average US $46,000 per year. If you do the math, you can see completing CMA is much more beneficial to you in terms of compensation.
  • Pass percentages: If you look closely (details below), you would see that CMA is much tougher than passing ACCA. How would you know? Look at the pass percentages. The pass percentages for CMA is near to 20% whereas, pass percentages for ACCA is on an average 40-50%. No wonder why CMAs get more salary than ACCA!
  • Value addition: If you complete CMA, you would be treated as an expert in the field and many opportunities will open up for you. ACCA is good enough but much older in perspective. Thus, Fortune 500 companies look for CMAs more than ACCAs.

Why pursue CMA?

  • 40,000 students in the span of 40 years cannot be wrong. They pursued CMA and now they are top-notch professionals in Fortune 500 companies. An industry professional who has a career goal to do something in accounting domain should not let go of CMA if she really wants to make her mark.
  • CMA doesn’t only concentrate on developing countries; it also takes care of the students of developed countries. Thus, CMA in its truest sense a global course, not the sole domain of American and European students. IMA has its students in Middle East, China and India along with students in USA & Europe.
  • It has an incredible history of placement. Once you complete your CMA, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge base to join in any Fortune 500 companies. You will not only feel as an expert of the field, you will also feel dignified.
  • Not only a great placement, CMA certification also offers compensation very few global courses can offer. The average salary per year after you pass out doing CMA is around US $70,000. All you need is a CMA certification and one to five years of experience in the field.

Why pursue ACCA?

  • ACCA is available in 180 countries and thus it has an international recognition very few global courses can compete with. It has also more than 436,000 students who have already proved why you should pursue this course.
  • ACCA is of much shorter duration. If you want to get a global degree within short stint of 2 years, you can definitely choose ACCA. Moreover, the fees for this course are also a boon for students who want to pursue a global course within a limited budget.
  • ACCA is much easier to complete than any other courses in finance domain. That doesn’t mean that ACCA has no value. It has been serving its students since 1904, more than 110+ years. No institute can last so long without adding value to its students.

Other comparisons that you may like :

  • CIMA or CMA – What’s better?
  • CMA vs CFA – how do they differ?
  • CMA or CFP – What’s the difference?
  • CPA vs CMA – Which is better?
  • ACCA or ACA – What’s better?
  • CPA vs ACCA – Which is better?

Check Also

How Acca F8 and P7 students should deal with recent changes in audit report by Paul Merison - Acca Study Material

How Acca F8 And P7 Students Should Deal With Changes In Audit Report ? Article By Paul Merison

How Acca F8 And P7 Students Should Deal With Changes In Audit Report ? Article …