CMA India or CMA USA, which of the two is better? In whose favour does the consensus tilt? Many in the field rank CMA USA higher than CMA India, but that is not to say that the latter is of a lesser value. On the contrary, CMA India is highly valued; it is just that CMA USA is seen, as a better value proposition, for many reasons.
That being said, it is important to note that CMA India and CMA USA are almost the same, with respect to knowledge and information that is acquired. However, there are certain subtle differences that give CMA USA an edge over CMA India. These have more to do with the way the exam is conducted, and not the course material.
One of the main reasons that CMA USA is seen as a better value proposition is that it takes lesser time to complete. A candidate can complete the CMA USA course within 6 months to one year, whereas, it takes a candidate minimum of 3 years to complete CMA India.
CMA USA consists of 2 exams and allows candidates to choose when to take the same. The CMA India exam, on the other hand, is tougher, with candidates appearing for a total of 20 exams, staged in three levels.
Candidates appearing for the CMA USA exam require a minimum of 2 years of work experience, in the fields of finance and accounting, while those appearing for CMA India should have completed the training period (Articleship), as part of the preparation for CMA final.
Further, those who choose to pursue CMA USA must possess an undergrad degree. However, candidates have a slight leeway in this regard, as they can complete their college education and obtain a graduation degree, within 7 years of clearing the two CMA USA exams. A candidate need not be a graduate at the time of completing CMA USA.
CMA India is not stringent about a college degree. The certification is independent of a college degree.
CMA USA is recognised globally, including in India. CMA India does not have the same acceptance and is chiefly accepted only in India.
The generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are an assortment of accounting rules and standards applicable to financial reporting.
CMA USA uses the IFRS AND US GAAP, which are accepted as global standards, whereas CMA India practices the use of the Indian Accounting Standards (IND AS – Indian GAAP), valid only in India.
CMA USA is more widely accepted giving professionals with a CMA USA certification an edge over those who have done CMA India. As a CMA USA professional you are qualified to work, in fields related to finance and auditing and in other accounting positions, across the globe, without restriction.
Since CMA India focuses on the Indian Accounting System, it has limitations. Someone with a CMA India can work only within the country and for companies of Indian origin.
Difficulty quotient of exams
There is this huge belief that CMA USA is easier to crack than CMA India, and there is definitely some truth in that.
To qualify the CMA USA, a candidate must have a minimum score of 360/500, individually, in both tests. CMA USA classes in Calicut are tuned to coach aspirants in clearing the two-part CMA USA exam.
Part 1 of the exam covers 5 topics – cost management, external financial reporting decision, internal control, performance management and planning, budgeting and forecasting.
Part 2 covers 6 topics – Corporate finance, decision analysis, financial statement analysis investment decision, professional ethics and risk management.
CMA India is divided into three levels, namely the CMA Foundation, CMA Inter and CMA Final. CMA India training in Ernakulam coaches aspirants for all three levels of the exam.
The foundation level has 4 papers –
- Fundamentals of Accounting
- Fundamentals of Business Mathematics & Statistic
- Fundamentals of Economics and Management
- Fundamentals of Laws & Ethics
The CMA Inter level has 8 papers –
- Company Accounts & Audit
- Cost Accounting and Financial Management
- Cost and Management Accounting
- Direct Taxation
- Financial Accounting
- Indirect Taxation
- Law, Ethics and Governance
- Operation Management Information System
The CMA Final level has 8 papers –
- Advanced Financial Management
- Business Strategy and Strategic Cost Management
- Corporate Financial Reporting
- Corporate Laws and Compliance
- Cost and Management Audit
- Financial Analysis and Business Valuation
- Strategic Performance Management
- Tax Management and Practice