CMA Course Guide: Master Your Accounting Skills

cma course details


CMA training is provided by the Institute of Cost Accountants or ICMAI. The entire name of the course, Cost and Management Accounting, or CMA, is used by some. CWA was the previous name for the CMA course. The complete acronym for Cost and Works Accounting was CWA.

Even though the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) was the previous name of ICMAI, the course administering organization in India was still the same at that time. The ICWA course is perfect for someone who wants to manage the accounts of multiple divisions within a firm and integrate them to help reduce expenses. A formal training program or not, the CMA course lasts three years. 

Professionals in finance and management accounting around the world can obtain certification in the CMA program. Accounting, strategy, and corporate finance departments in a variety of industries employ accountants with CMA certifications.

What is a CMA?

Cost and management accounting, or CMA, is a certificate program that grants CMA designation to those who meet the requirements. A profitable career in business accounting can be accessed with this designation. Four key areas of knowledge underpin the CMA course: financial reporting, strategy, regulatory framework, and management. A candidate receives the classification of CMA upon passing the CMA exam.

The CMA exam is given at the three levels listed below:

  1. CMA Foundation
  2. CMA Intermediate
  3. CMA Final

CMA Full Form

The word CMA stands for cost and management accountant. Formerly, Cost and Work Accountant (CWA) was the name of CMA. Every eligible applicant received a CWA designation from ICWAI. Eventually, ICWAI changed to ICAI and CWA to CMA after the renaming. To rival comparable level designations in other nations, the modification was implemented.

The majority of nations addressed certified management accountants, or CMAs, with a similar designation. The nomenclature change was suggested to give CWA qualifiers equal status. To ensure that students have expertise that keeps up with the rapidly advancing technologies, the course curriculum also emphasizes management over accounting.

Benefits of CMA Certification

Here are some benefits of CMA Certification:

1 Business Appeal

Being the greatest accounting certification for management, the CMA certification offers the best combination of business and accounting, which is its key advantage. All of the fundamentals of corporate governance, finance, and accounting, including responsible accounting, are covered in CMA coursework.

Consequently, those who have earned the CMA certification are qualified to make decisions for themselves or as a group. They are given significant responsibilities within an organization because companies trust their business acumen. Those who pursue this certification will discover the distinction between lucrative and efficient accounting. Your business appeal will therefore increase if you obtain a CMA accreditation.

2 Growth Opportunities

The CMA certification, which is at the management level, offers several prospects for advancement. CMA candidates were found to have higher possibilities for entry-level jobs and promotions when compared to college graduates with only their CPA certification or without any additional qualification.

The CMA credential is a signpost indicating that you plan to do more than just bookkeeping; you will also handle the accounts and assume greater responsibility. With a CMA certification, you can advance into management roles more rapidly than other applicants who stop at a particular job and pay.

3 More Money

For most professions, money is the primary source of motivation. It entitles you to greater compensation than other applicants if you obtain a CMA certification. CMA certification holders make up to 67% more money than candidates with only a degree or CPA certificate, according to recent surveys. Compared to 2016 data, this has increased significantly.

There’s even more earning potential when one accounts for advantages like health insurance, pensions, and fringe benefits. This is because having a CMA certification makes it easier for applicants to advance into management as they gain experience. Additionally, because CMA-certified candidates are in great demand in the job market, they often receive raises even when they change jobs.

4 Global Opportunities

Global recognition for CMA certification exists. Even though you might be a graduate and land a solid position domestically, you’ll need to obtain CMA certification if you expect to work overseas. Depending on where you studied and where you wish to work, certain countries may not place much importance on a college degree. However the CMA credential is respected and well-recognized worldwide, and you may easily apply for jobs in the Middle East, Europe, and the Western world—where salaries are substantially higher.

5 Value as an Employee

Your knowledge of accounting, finance, and business will improve thanks to CMA training. As a result, you don’t just do the work; rather, you comprehend its purpose and devise effective methods to ensure that the outcome exceeds expectations. For major inquiries, you’ll establish yourself as the authority.

Soon, you’ll be an essential member of the management team, and your viewpoint will be respected. Numerous individuals who obtained their CMA certification went on to become CFOs. You will thus have greater value as an employee and always receive the recognition you deserve if you hold a CMA certification.

Also Read: DMLT Course Guide

Eligibility Criteria

The minimum criteria set by the authority to be qualified for admission to a specific course might be referred to as the CMA eligibility criteria. Candidates have to clear the entrance exam CMA offered by the Institute of Cost and Work Accountants of India if they fulfill the minimum requirements. There are different qualifications for each step. The following is mentioned regarding the stage-specific eligibility criteria.


  1. Must have graduated from an accredited board, institution, or university with a class 10 diploma or its equivalent.
  2. Must have been awarded a recognized board’s Senior Secondary Examination in the 10+2 format.


  1. Completed the 10+2 senior secondary exam.
  2. Completion of the Common Admission Test (CAT), which is offered at the foundation or entry-level by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
  3. Graduation from any field (except fine arts)
  4. The CMA course eligibility requirements can be met by candidates even while they are awaiting their results.


  1. Completion of the Intermediate level of the CMA program.
  2. Graduation in any field (except fine arts).
  3. Completing all eight of the Intermediate course’s papers successfully.

CMA Course Structure

The course structure of the CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA final is mentioned below:

CMA Foundation Syllabus:

The CMA Foundation level consists of four papers. Take a look at the accompanying table, which details a list of CMA Foundation-level papers at the first level of the CMA course.

  • First Paper: Fundamentals of economics and management.
  • Second Paper: Fundamentals of Accounting.
  • Third Paper: Fundamentals of Laws and Ethics.
  • Fourth Paper: Fundamentals of Business Mathematics and Statistics.

CMA Intermediate Level :

The CMA Inter level has 8 papers in total (Groups 1 and 2). Papers are given in the following table.

  • Fifth Paper: Financial Accounting 
  • Sixth Paper: Laws, Ethics and Governance
  • Seventh Paper: Direct Taxation
  • Eighth Paper: Cost accounting and financial management
  • Ninth Paper: Operation Management Information System
  • Tenth Paper: Cost and Management Accounting
  • Eleventh Paper: Indirect Taxation
  • Twelfth Paper: Company Accounts and Audit

CMA Final Level: 

The CMA Intermediate level exam must be passed before a student may be provided the designation of Certified Management Accounting. Eight papers in all are included in Groups 3 and 4 of the CMA Final. A list of these units and their ICWAI-recommended CMA curriculum (Final level) are provided below:

  • Thirteenth Paper: Corporate Laws and Compliance
  • Fourteenth Paper: Strategic  Financial Management 
  • Fifteen Paper: Strategic Cost Management-Decision Making
  • Sixteenth Paper: Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
  • Seventeenth Paper: Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Eighteenth Paper: Cost and Management Audit
  • Nineteenth Paper: Strategic Performance Management
  • Twentieth Paper: Strategic Performance Management & Business Valuation 

CMA Exam Format and Structure

The CMA 2024 foundation course test format is mentioned in the space below:

Exam FeaturesCMA Exam details
Mode of Foundation ExamOffline Centre Based
Types of questions asked in the Exam(MCQ) Multiple Choice Questions
Total Marks100
Duration of Exam120 mins
Number of Papers4

The following section details the final course and intermediate CMA exam schedule for 2024:

Exam FeaturesCMA Exam details
Mode of Final course and Intermediate CMA examOffline test from centre 
Types of questions asked in Final course and Intermediate CMA examDescriptive
Total Marks in each Paper100
Duration of Final course and Intermediate CMA exam180 mins

Registration and Exam Fees

Each exam level’s ICWA course fee is different, and ICMAI offers the students the option of paying intermediate-level course fees in advance. The costs for the foundation, intermediate, and final courses are listed below.

  • Foundation Course Fee: INR 6,000
  • Intermediate Course Fee: Upon registering, aspirants are needed to deposit either INR 23,100 or INR 12,000. The outstanding sum for the test in December and June must be paid by July 31 of each year and by January 31 of each other. With this payment plan, students can carry on their studies and exam preparation without worrying about money because the whole course fee will be paid on time.
  • Final course fee: When registering, students must pay either INR 25,000 or INR 15,001. By January 31 for the June exam and July 31 for the December exam, the balance that remains must be paid. The CMA final course allows students to easily manage their debts with the use of this payment plan.

Preparing for the CMA Exam

These are the top strategies and advice for passing the CMA exam.

1. Choose a CMA Review Program

By taking up the CMA review program. Seek out a CMA refresher course that offers you all the study resources you require, such as audio lectures, books, practice questions, in-person tutoring, and a meticulously organized study schedule.

2. Follow a Study Plan

Pick a study schedule that can adapt to your existing way of life. For instance, you need to establish a plan that will help you succeed if you’re studying for the CMA balancing work-timengwork-time work and family.

3. Determine How Much Study Time You Need

It is recommended that you schedule an average of 16 weeks for studying for each section of the exam to improve your chances of passing. This is the duration of the CMA study course. It will produce excellent results for your pupils.

Only 8 to 10 hours a week of study time are necessary. As you may have seen, that equates to 7-12 hours less than the typical 15-20 hours per week recommended by experts.

4. Create Conducive Atmosphere 

Establishing a suitable environment for your study needs is a very underutilized yet important technique to passing the CMA exam. To do that, you must turn off your cell phone, log off of social media, and clear your desk of any clutter.

5. Learning Style

Knowing your preferred method of learning is so crucial. Learn is styles categorized into three groups:

  • Visual learners: They retain information best by seeing it, have an excellent visual memory, and enjoy reading.
  • Auditory learners: Hearing is the best form of learning and people who enjoy listening to stuff also have good auditory memories.
  • Kinesthetic learners: You learn best from experiences, if you have a decent spatial memory, and you enjoy interacting with the material.

6. Establish the Mindset and Habits For Effective Studying

A specific mentality and productive study habits are necessary for CMA preparation. You may be prepared to take on a challenge like the CMA exam depending on your prior academic experience.

Career Opportunities and Job Roles

The variety of career alternatives available to CMAs both in India and overseas offers experts in these disciplines several options.

1 Corporate Sector

  • Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Cost Management
  • Internal Audit
  • Risk Management

2. Consultancy

  • Management Consulting 
  • Tax Consultancy
  • Business Valuation 

3. Financial institution

  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Investment and Portfolio Management

4 Government Sector

  • Public Sector Enterprises
  • Regulatory Bodies

5. International Opportunities

  • Multinational corporation
  • International Consultancies

Maintaining CMA Certification

To maintain the certification of CMA you have to complete 30 hrs of continuous learning each year. The ethics section needs to be at least two hours long. In addition, you will have annual maintenance dues for your CMA and IMA membership.


Overall, enrolling in a CMA course is strongly advised since it offers a wide range of knowledge and skill sets that will greatly advance your professional prospects. Both financial and strategic management are the main elements of this professional qualification, and they are crucial for anyone hoping to work in accounting or finance. Additionally, the CMA course offers a strong foundation in risk management, cost management, corporate finance, and financial reporting and analysis.

Multiple career opportunities in banking, investing, consulting, and technology are available to those with a CMA degree. Further, employers are beginning to value it more and more because it demonstrates your commitment to conceiving your career and being up to date with industry advancements.

Also Read: BDS Course Guide

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