CMA USA vs CA India: Full Comparison of Top Accounting Courses

CMA USA vs CA India

India is growing globally, and opportunities for people with skills in Accounting, Financial Management, Business Analysis, Decision Support, and other fields are also increasing. Therefore, enrolling in accounting courses is a wise choice for students who want to build a successful career in the accounting industry. But it's easy to get confused while choosing between these two fascinating courses, especially when you live in India. CMA USA and CA India are both highly regarded and lucrative in the business world. Both courses are challenging and require dedicated study hours to pass the exam.
This informational blog will help you understand the difference between CMA USA vs CA India, depicting all the details to help you make the right decision, ultimately choosing a career between CA and CMA.
Let's start with a short introduction to both courses.

What is CA (or Chartered Accountant)?

In India, CA courses are by the ICAI (expanded as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), and only the ICAI is authorized to grant the CA certification. CA is also regarded as the most challenging course globally, and the Indian Chartered Accounting Institute, or ICAI, is the second-largest accounting body in the world. Government agencies and public and private sector businesses can hire CAs to work as tax accountants and auditors, general management accountants, and budget analysts.
In addition to being held accountable for managing the company's financial and legal issues, CA is well known for receiving substantial rewards from employers.

CA Course Structure

CA course consists of three levels:
  • CA Foundation
  • CA Intermediate
  • CA Final
There are also three years of practical training, a mandatory part of the CA curriculum.
CA Course Details after 12th
The CA Course duration is five years following the 12th class. You must pass three CA examinations and finish the articleship program during these five years.
  • CA Foundation Course - It takes six months to complete the CA Foundation course. After finishing their 12th-grade examinations, students can sign up for the CA Foundation exams. After registration, students must complete a 4-months study period before taking the CA Foundation Exam.
  • CA Intermediate Course - The CA Intermediate course takes ten months to complete. After registration, a candidate must complete an eight-month study period before taking the examinations. ICAI releases the CA foundation and CA Intermediate results within two months of each exam date.
  • ICITSS - After finishing the CA Intermediate exams, you can enroll in the ICITSS course. To finish this training, you must complete 100 hours of information technology training and one week of orientation.
  • CA Articleship Training - CA Articleship training duration, which is mandatory for each CA aspirant, is three years.
  • AICITSS - AICITSS stands for Advanced Information Technology, Management, and Communication Skills. Students can enroll in this program while completing their last two years of Articleship Training.
  • CA Final - Students must pass both CA Intermediate groups before enrolling in the CA Final Course. While completing the final six months of their Articleship training, students can sit for the CA Final Exam.

CA course Eligibility

  • For the Foundation Course
Candidates must have completed grades 10 and 12 at an authorized educational institution.
A minimum of 50% of grade 12 is essential.
  • For Intermediate Course
For admission to the CA Intermediate Course, candidates must successfully complete the CA Foundations program. Candidates must also have a bachelor's or master's degree with an overall score of 50 to 60%.
  • For the CA Final Course
Candidates for the CA Final program must pass the mid-course examinations in both groups. Additionally, candidates must complete a four-week advanced integration course in Soft Skills & Information Technology.

CA Course Fee

The overall cost of the CA Course after Intermediate is around INR 50-80k. It incorporates the registration fees, orientation course fee, Entrance exam fee, and Journal payments. The approximate Fee Structure would be like this:
  • The foundation stage fee is around 9200 INR.
  • The intermediate stage fee is about 18000 INR.
  • The final stage fee is approximately 22,000 INR.

CA Course Syllabus

CA Foundation
Fundamentals of Accounting
Mercantile Law
General Economics
Quantitative Aptitude
CA Intermediate Group 1 CA Intermediate Group 2
Accounting Advanced Accounting
Corporate and other Laws Auditing and Assurance
Cost and Management Accounting Enterprise Information Systems & Strategic Management
Taxation Financial Management & Economics for Finance
CA Final Group 1 CA Final Group 2
Financial Reporting Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation
Strategic Financial Management Any one of the below: (Optional paper)-Risk Management-Financial Services and Capital Markets-International Taxation-Economic Laws-Global Financial Reporting Standards -Multidisciplinary Case Study
Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
Corporate and Economic Laws Indirect Tax Laws
Thats all for the CA, now lets move onto the next aspect of CMA USA vs CA India.

What is CMA (Certified Management Accounting)?

The CMA is a top-level certification provided by theInstitute of Management Accountants (IMA). Itcertifies the holder's achievement of the competencies required to be a certified professional in management accounting. This course emphasizes the specialist knowledge needed to comprehend, interpret, and effectively convey cost and management accounting concepts linked to the organization's planning, budgeting, and control operations.
CMA Course structure
CMA USA exams are into two parts, namely:
Part I: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
Part II: Strategic Financial Management
Candidates must pass both exam sections to pass the exam. Registration for the CMA USA test is done once a year in three slots.

CMA Course Eligibility

Candidates must meet the requirements below to receive this CMA certificate:
  • Gave an IMA membership
  • Have two years of work experience in management or financial accounting.
  • Possess a bachelor's degree in accounting, economics, finance, or management from a prestigious university.
Candidates with errors on their application forms will not be permitted to take the CMA USA test.

CMA Course Fee

Here are two tables that show the CMA USA course fees for both working professionals and students:

For Students

Fee Particulars Fee (USD)
Membership Registration Fee 135
IMA Entrance Fee 210
Part 1 Exam Fee 345
Part 2 Exam Fee 345
Total 1035

For Professionals

Fee Particulars Fee (USD)
Membership Registration Fee 260
IMA Entrance Fee 280
Part 1 Exam Fee 460
Part 2 Exam Fee 460
Total 1460

CMA USA Syllabus

CMA USA Part 1 CMA USA Part 2
Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics Strategic Financial Management
1. External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%) 1. Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
2. Planning, Budgeting, & Forecasting (20%) 2. Corporate Finance (20%)
3. Performance Management (20%) 3. Decision Analysis (25%)
4. Cost Management (15%) 4. Risk Management (10%)
5. Internal Control (15%) 5. Investment Decisions (10%)
6. Technology and Analytics (15%) 6. Professional Ethics (15%)

Difference Between CMA USA vs CA India

This table will give a detailed account of the CMA USA vs CA India, including their duration, job profiles, and average salary.
Duration The CA Course duration is a minimum of 4.5 years, including three years of articleship training. The CMA course takes between 6 and 9 months to complete. CMA USA training is also required as part of this course.
Job Profile A CA can work on several Job Profiles such as:Advisor in Direct or Indirect TaxationInternal AuditInvestment DecisionsHandling Transfer PricingFinancial and Accounting Management The following job profiles are available for US CMA:Cost AccountingCost AuditingDetermine the Prices of Goods and Services.Financial Planning
Average Salary A Chartered Accountant can be offered an average salary of 6-7 lakhs which increases with experience and ability. A CMA USA usually makes between 3-4 lakhs per year. However, this amount might vary based on talent and experience.

CMA USA vs CA India - Which Certification is better?

We have listed down a brief comparison between CMA USA vs CA India to help you make an informed choice:
  • Even though both CA and CMA are accounting-based courses, CA is focused on financial or monetary principles accounting, while CMA is on management accounting. The main focus of the CMA course is strategic management accounting.
  • CA courses duration is approximately five years. A CMA course, on the other hand, lasts only 6 to 9 months. Both are professional degrees, but CMA USA exams are easier to pass than CA examinations.
  • When comparing the job descriptions, it becomes clear that a CA is someone who oversees tax management, G&S management, corporate management, business recovery, and forensic finance. The person with CMA certification has the positions of Cost Accountant, Financial Controller, Finance Analyst, and Finance Manager.
  • A Chartered Accountant may earn an average income of around 6-7 lakhs right after passing the exam and getting the certification. In contrast, the CMA US salary in India is between Rs. 5-7 lakhs which rises over time.
After reading about the differences between the CA and CMA USA programs, you must thoroughly understand the courses. There is a significant market opportunity and demand for CA in India. However, you can choose between CMA USA vs CA India according to your needs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is CMA USA better than CA?

There is no correct response to this; it depends on your needs. Choose CMA USA if you want a course with a quick learning curve and widespread recognition, and CA if you want a course with a longer learning curve and in-depth topic knowledge. So, it depends on your preferences and what you choose in CMA USA vs CA India.

2. Is US CMA valid in India?

CMA professionals have a promising future at many prestigious multinational corporations worldwide, and India is also no exception. In a market like India, where there is a lot of offshore activity, the CMA Certification is quite valuable. Most multinational companies in India are open to hiring CMAs for corporate finance jobs. We have several US companies in India investing and looking for accountants acquainted with US GAAP and IFRS. According to the IMA Global Salary Survey 2020, CMAs in India earn more than non-CMA-certified coworkers.

3. Who earns more CMA India or CMA US?

Several factors influence the pay of US CMA and CMA India experts. The job profile, organization, and location are essential to establishing the average professional income. US CMA has a more excellent range than CMA India since it is accepted globally. An annual salary of 68 lakhs is typical for a CMA USA. And CMA India brings in 56 lakhs.

4. Is the US CMA equal to CA

Although both CA and CMA USA are accounting-based courses, CA is focused on financial or monetary principles accounting, while CMA is on management accounting. The main difference between CMA USA vs CA India is that the US CMA course focuses mainly on strategic management accounting. Chartered Accountants can be hired by individuals and businesses, while large-scale companies can only hire US CMAs.

5. Is CMA USA harder than CA?

When comparing the CMA USA vs CA India, the former is a little simpler than CA for the following reasons:

CMA has a relatively short amount of chapters to finish, but CA has a more significant number of branches to complete.

Because CMA does not have a challenging syllabus, all chapters are relatively simple to grasp and calculate. However, there are several stages in CA, such as Foundation, Intermediate, Final, and Internship.

Regarding the CMA USA vs CA India syllabus, CA is more complex than CMA. The number of students passing CMA examinations is always greater than that of students passing CA exams.

6. Is Indian CMA valid in Canada?

Yes, CMA India certification is valuable in Canada. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in demand for CMAs. CMA India is globally recognized, and CMA has several opportunities both in India and overseas. You should consider taking this course if you wish to pursue a career in finance internationally. A CMA can serve in public and private sectors as a financial analyst, cost accountant, management accountant, chief financial officer, and many more.

7. How to do CMA USA in India?

Following is the list of eligibility to pursue the CMA USA certification in India:
have an IMA membership
Have two years of managerial accounting or financial accounting experience.
Have a bachelor's degree in accounting, economics, finance, or management from a reputable college.
Follow the IMA's Statement of Ethics and Professional Practice.

8. What is the CA subject list in India?

Here is the complete list of the CA subjects in India.

CA Foundation Subjects:

Fundamentals OF Accounting
Quantitative aptitude
Mercantile Law
General Economics
General English

CA subjects in Intermediate Course:

Cost Accounting and Financial Management
Advanced Accounting
Auditing and Assurance
Business Laws, Ethics and Communication
Information Technology and Strategic Management
Corporate and other Laws

CA Final Subjects:

Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics
Financial Reporting
Strategic Financial Management
Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation
Corporate and Economic Laws
Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
Indirect Tax Laws


If you believe you have a knack for business and want to pursue a career in financial accounting, you might need to choose between a career in chartered accounting or chartered management accounting. Chartered Accountants are people who work in finance and accounting and help businesses develop profit and loss statements. Your CMA certification indicates your capacity to develop expertise in financial planning, analysis and control, decision-making, and management assistance.
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