More than 40 years ago, we established the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. As a management accounting credential, the CMA emphasizes the abilities accounting and financial professionals need to run a business and move it forward, not just to examine what happened yesterday. As the demand increases within organizations for financial professionals to possess more analytical and problem-solving skills, an increasing number of professionals are earning the CMA, including CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) looking to complement their financial accounting competency with management accounting.

Recent reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the field of accounting will double by 2024, yet, according to the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy), the number of students sitting for the CPA exam has stagnated or declined for the last five years. One result of this trend is that the AICPA recently discovered what IMA has recognized for decades: There’s a great opportunity to enrich careers, organizations, and society with competency building and certification in management accounting. In 2011, the AICPA and U.K.-based CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) jointly launched the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) credential with a three-year grandfathering process that required demonstrating three years of experience and writing a check, but noticeably no exams.

At IMA, when we speak about the CMA, we place a strong emphasis on “earning the credential.” It’s a source of pride for those who have taken the time and expended the effort to achieve every necessary requirement for CMA status to have those three letters appear after their names. And it serves as a marker of quality and integrity in the eyes of employers. But while the CMA is earned through rigorous commitment, study, testing, and experience, a vast majority of U.S. CPAs have earned CGMA status by writing a check and attesting to minimal work experience. IMA believes that with a significant proportion of global CGMAs having never taken a competency-based management accounting exam, the severe talent gap is exacerbated and the public interest isn’t served.

IMA is focused on growing the CMA program with confidence and integrity, and we will leave it to others to grow through grandfathering. The CMA program continues to grow in double digits, and we aim to continue this trend.

I need your help and your ideas to grow the CMA program. If you are a CMA, let me know if you’re willing to become a CMA ambassador. If you aren’t a CMA, become a CMA candidate or exert your influence on others to earn the world’s leading global credential in management accounting. It matters.

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