If you are a Commerce student aspiring to build a successful career in accounting and finance, you have probably come across a situation involving the decision: ACCA vs CMA? 

This is quite a common scenario prevalent in most families where youngsters opt for the Commerce stream. However, lack of proper understanding and expert guidance can lead to undesirable consequences. This article provides you a realistic and unbiased comparison that can help you make the right choice.

Before we dive deep into the comparison, let’s take a quick look at the ACCA and CMA programs.

About ACCA

ACCA is the acronym for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is a globally recognized professional accounting body that offers qualifications and certifications for individuals aspiring to become versatile professionals in accounting and finance. Covering various aspects of finance, accounting, management, and taxation, ACCA will enlighten you with the nuances of financial reporting, audit and assurance, taxation, and more.

ACCA-qualified professionals are in high demand in the leading global accounting and finance firms. And for good reason.  The skills, knowledge, and outlook of ACCA professionals enable them to add value to  the organization and work in challenging business environments, both in India and abroad.  And the best part is they are able to build an exciting and lucrative career, with the freedom to settle in almost any part of the world.

Also Read – 6 Most Important Benefits of ACCA Course

About CMA 

CMA is a professional financial certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA. The course is designed to help accountants and finance professionals gain specialized knowledge in the field of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics.

A prestigious certification with global acceptance, CMA is rapidly growing in popularity among students who are keen on taking up managerial and financial leadership roles in global organizations by gaining specialized knowledge in planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

ACCA vs CMA: Quick Comparison Chart

The following Table shows key points of difference between the two courses:




Organizing Body Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
Recognition & Acceptance Recognized globally with 300 Approved Learning Partners worldwide. Recognized in 150+ countries with over 100,000 certifications earned globally
Exam Pattern
  • Operational 
  • Management
  • Strategic
  • Professional 
  • Part I: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
  • Part II: Strategic Financial Management

Course Duration Three years 12 to 24 months
Course Complexity/ Pass Percentage Hard/30% to 40% Quite Hard/20% globally
Program Fees
  • Registration – £30
  • Applied Skills (£129 per exam). 
  • Professional Skills Exam (£71 per exam). 
  • Strategic Professional (227 per exam). 
  • Strategic Business Reporting (£162 per exam). 


In total, a student can spend between £1500 to £2000. 

  • Application Processing Fees – $15
  • CMA Entrance Fees – $210
  • Exam Fees Part-I – $345
  • Exam Fees Part-II – $345
No. of Papers 13 2
Study Focus Accounting, Auditing, and Taxation Business Strategy and Management Accounting
Skills Gained Technical knowledge of accounting and financial concepts  Strategic Cash Flow Analysis, Budgeting, Forecasting, and Decision-making 
Job Prospects
  • Financial Consultant
  • Internal Auditor
  • Taxation Manager
  • Finance Manager
  • Accountant
  • Business Analyst
  • Cost Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Finance Analyst
  • Internal Auditor 
Average Salary  6 to 8 LPA 8.1 LPA
Who Should Do It? ACCA is best suited for those who:

  • Have a liking for numbers 
  • Wish to carve out a career in Accounting, Auditing, or Taxation
  • Aspire to set up their own consulting practice and work independently
CMA is best suited for those who:

  • Nurture an interest in business strategy and financial management
  • Wish to carve out a career in Management Accounting
  • Aspire to rise rise higher inside companies and organizations and command financial leadership positions 

Still have questions about these accounting courses?

ACCA-qualified Career Paths and Job Prospects

Broad areas of work        

Financial accounting, tax, audit, advisory, finance, and risk advisory are the key areas where ACCA-qualified candidates can find lucrative employment.

Job positions/profiles

Since ACCA spans multiple areas within the accounting and finance domain, there is a big basket of profiles that qualified candidates can aspire for. These include:

  • CFO
  • Statutory Auditor
  • Finance Manager
  • Internal Auditor
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • Financial Accountant
  • Fund Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Tax Specialist


An ACCA-qualified candidate can earn an average salary of up to INR 8 LPA. Depending on the organization, industry experience, and job position, it can further reach 15 LPA.

Top employers

Internationally acclaimed organizations that hire ACCA include:

  • KPMG
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • PwC
  • BDO
  • Grant Thornton
  • Credit Suisse

Also Read – How to get ACCA jobs in the Big 4?

CMA-qualified Career Paths and Job Prospects

Broad areas of work

Corporate finance, management accounting, budgeting, and compliance are the key areas where CMA-qualified candidates can find lucrative jobs.

Job positions/profiles

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is indeed the gold standard in management accounting.. As a successful CMA-holder, you can work in one of the following capacities:

  • Business Analyst
  • Cost Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Finance Analyst
  • Internal Auditor 


The average salary for a CMA in India is INR 8.1 LPA. However, based on the individual’s knowledge, skills, experience, job profile, location, expertise, and industry, it may vary considerably.  

Top employers

Reputed global organizations that seek out CMAs include:

  • Amazon
  • World Bank Group
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Wipro
  • World Bank Group
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Grant Thomton
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Invesco
  • Sintex
  • Genpact

Also Read – Are you a Fresher Accountant? Follow these steps To Ace the Profession

How to Choose the Best Course for You?

‘ACCA vs CMA: Which Course is Better?’

This question is actually frivolous. And so is the debate surrounding the superiority of one particular course over the other. 

Both ACCA and CMA are globally recognized prestigious qualifications in the Accounting and Finance domain.  Both have their own characteristics and are suited for different groups of aspirants. Instead, the question ought to be: ‘Which Course Should I Choose?’

Well, the answer to this depends on your long-term career goals. It also depends on your natural aptitude and inclination or area of interest.

ACCA essentially covers the advanced skills and principles of accounting. So if you have a yen for accounting, auditing, and taxation, you should think of pursuing ACCA.

CMA, on the other hand, prepares candidates for financial leadership roles. Organizations depend on CMAs for management and decision-making, in particular. They offer financial research and insights to assist firms in making informed decisions, boosting profitability, and efficiently allocating resources. So if you are gifted with leadership qualities and would like to manage cash flows in a strategic way, then CMA is just the right course for you.

Let Proschool help you decide your next career move.

Start Your ACCA Journey with Proschool

Proschool has been at the forefront of ACCA coaching for several years now.

As students in growing numbers are discovering, Proschool provides the right learning environment for candidates aspiring to pursue the ACCA qualification.

Top reasons why Proschool is the academy of choice for ACCA include:

  1. 12,000+ trained in Accounting and Finance
  2. They could save on registration fees and training costs
  3. Proschool helps in getting exemptions
  4. Classroom training available in 10 cities
  5. Exam pass commitment – Proschool offers unlimited classroom and doubt-solving sessions in case you fail ACCA Exams
  6. ACCA Demo Class Available
  7. Extensive Pool Of Questions – Students solve 600+ questions for each of the ACCA subjects which helps them ace the exams easily.
  8. Faculty from Barclays, Standard Chartered, Crisil etc., with 80+ years of combined experience
  9. Financial Modeling worth Rs 40k free
  10. The batch starts every month

We Guide, You Decide 

Choosing between ACCA and CMA is entirely a personal decision, which is largely dictated by your career goals and aptitude. Both are international qualifications with worldwide recognition and command respect in the job market; each one of the programs will equip you with specialist skills and knowledge that you can apply at your workplace to build a successful career.  


Q1: ACCA vs CMA: Which course is costlier?

A1: ACCA is costlier than CMA.

Q2: ACCA vs CMA: Which one is easier?

A2: ACCA is easier to crack than CMA.

Q3: Can I do ACCA after CMA? If so, how many papers of ACCA are exempted after the US CMA? 

A3: Indeed you can; you benefit from getting up to 9 exemptions in ACCA.