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Understand These Acronyms To Find A Qualified Management Accountant

Like many professions, accounting is full of acronyms, especially when it comes to professional designations.  Being able to decipher the abbreviations described in this article can help you understand what qualifications a particular management accountant brings to the table.

Management Accounting

Management accountants function at the boundary where finances and business collide.  Also known as corporate accountants, they help managers understand the financial ramifications of decisions, plan business strategies, assist in tax preparation, and monitor internal finances.  Because they operate across the business, management accountants are in a unique position to protect a company's overall financial security.

CMA -- Certified Management Accountant

While many management accountants have a bachelor's degree in either finance or accounting, there are a number of more specialized studies on top of this basic preparation that help these individuals fulfill their important roles.  Most common is the Certified Management Accountant designation, or CMA.  In order to qualify as a CMA, you must have a bachelor's degree, pass a two-part exam from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), and possess two years of professional experiences in a related field, such as financial management.

CGMA -- Chartered Global Management Accountant

Another common designation is that of Chartered Global Management Accountant, or CGMA.  This credential is offered by a collaboration between the American Institute of CPAs and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.  A more recent recognition than the CMA, the CGMA has only been officially offered since 2012, and until 2015 was based entirely on professional experience.  To qualify, an individual must have at least three years of relevant experience.  Since 2015 an exam requirement has also been added.  

CPA -- Certified Public Accountant

It isn't unusual for a management accountant to also be a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant.  To be designated as a CPA, an accountant needs to meet education and experience requirements determined by the professional accounting organizations in their state.  They also need to have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.  While there are many similarities between the CMA and CPA requirements, a CMA typically focuses more on issues such as cost accounting, management, and organizational financial planning.

Additional Certificates

Beyond these core designations, there are a handful of other credentials that may serve to further qualify a management accountant to perform in their unique position.  These include:

  • CIA -- Certified Internal Auditor
  • CTP -- Certified Treasury Professional
  • CFM -- Certified Financial Manager

Each of these certificates comes as the result of completing a standardized examination and completing minimum experience requirements in areas generally under the direction of a management accountant.

Management accountants can provide a business with crucial business-level insight when it comes to finances and planning.  Understanding the acronyms in this article will help you find a management accountant that is best qualified to meet your organization's needs. 

Once you understand the differences between the acronyms, contact a local management accountant such as Dale K. Cline, CPA PLLC to help with your financial needs.