CMA USA vs CMA India vs CPA: Which is the best course to choose in 2023?

CMA USA vs CMA India vs CPA

A large number of professionals and students, today, want to pursue top accounting certifications. However, they might be unsure which of the certifications - CMA USA, CMA India, and CPA - they should acquire to advance in their careers.
Most of them struggle to decide if it is necessary to enroll in a certification program like the CMA USA, CMA India, or CPA. Which certification is suitable for them? What distinguishes a CMA course in the US from a CMA course in India or a CPA course? This dilemma demands spending time and effort to understand the relevance and underlying details of these courses. 
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No worries! We will assist you in making that crucial decision by providing a detailed account of these three prestigious certifications so that you can choose wisely.
Lets discuss the differences between these popular certifications, CMA USA VS CMA India, CMA USA VS CPA, and CMA India VS CPA

What is CMA USA?

The highest level of management accounting certification awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA, is Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The CMA USA certification is recognized worldwide and is ideal for financial professionals who are working in financial management positions in the company.

What is CMA India?

Cost and Management Accounting (CMA) is a certificate program that prepares students for employment in various corporate management and accounting roles. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) is the organization that offers the CMA India certification to the students and professionals who take their three-tier exam and crack it.

What is the CPA examination?

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers the CPA USA exam. Candidates must pass the US CPA Examination to acquire this worldwide recognized designation. The Chartered Accountant (CA) title is equivalent to CPA in India.

CMA USA VS CMA India - Key Differences

Eligibility details: CMA USA vs CMA India

Candidates for CMA USA may come from any background. In CMA USA, an applicant must be a college graduate or have a 12th-grade pass. To receive the final CMA USA certification, they must also have two years of professional work experience in finance and accounting. The candidate must get a minimum of 360 out of 500 points in each of the two parts.
The minimum qualification for CMA India is a 12th-grade diploma and six months of articles. Additionally, the candidate needs to receive at least a 40% on each of their papers and a 50% overall for their Intermediate group aggregates.

Course Details: CMA USA vs CMA India

The price for CMA USA varies according to whether you are a professional or a student. To begin your preparations, you can enroll in the course for 12500 INR, with a total cost of approximately 1 lakh to complete the course in about one year. Examine the US CMA Course Fee.
The US CMA prioritizes cost reduction and auditing procedures in CMA, whereas the Indian CMA prioritizes cost control. The CMA test in the United States is divided into two parts:       
Part 1 Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
Part 2 Strategic Financial Management
The CMA India consists of three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Final. It includes about 20 exam papers in total. 

Course fees: US CMA vs. CMA India

The course fees are another important factor to consider while selecting a course. Each exam section of the US CMA test includes an entry fee and a registration fee. As of May 2021, the cost of US CMA certification is roughly USD 1,000, which includes all expenses. This does not include the cost of a study review course.
The fee for CMA India certification exam is typically around 53,000 INR for all three sections, including other expenses. The Indian CMA course expenses include a foundation exam cost of around INR 6000, an Intermediate exam cost of approximately INR 22,000, and a Final papers cost of around INR 25,000, for a total cost of vaguely 1.5 lakhs with a course completion time of around 2 to 3 years. However, it might vary slightly depending on the number of parts you take on the exam and your location. 

Job Opportunities: CMA USA vs CMA India

Working professionals who believe they need to advance to the professional category and support their practical experience in finance prefer the US CMA course. The US CMA course enables you to keep your accounting or financial job experience and achieve the advancement you desire in MIS, financial controller, and chief financial officer positions.
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The domestic labor market offers a variety of chances for Indians with CMA India certification to enter positions such as chief financial officer, cost manager, relationship manager, cost analyst, financial risk manager, financial controller, and cost accountant. Whether you obtain your CMA in the United States or India, the certification will enable you to further your career and set yourself apart from the competition.


Eligibility details: US CMA vs. US CPA

Students must hold a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement for course eligibility. On the other hand, students obtaining a bachelor's degree are eligible to take the US CMA tests. Another essential prerequisite of the US CMA course is that students complete the CMA work experience requirements. 
1. Two years of professional experience in accounting or finance is required.
2. The experience requirement for Freshers may be completed within seven years of finishing the examination.
Students taking the US CPA course must have a Bachelor's degree in Commerce and a Master's degree with at least 120 credit points. Furthermore, students must complete 150 hours of CPA coursework during the semester.

Course details: US CMA course vs. US CPA course

The US CMA course consists of only two parts that can be completed in 7 to 9 months. One significant advantage is that you can complete the course without interfering with your current obligations. This is highly advantageous for working people who want to improve their skills and advance their careers. Students who have completed their undergraduate degrees are more likely to take the CMA Exam and subsequently complete the certification procedure once they have met the work experience criteria.
The two portions of the US CMA test are as follows:
A. Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
B. Part 2: Strategic Financial Management
In the case of US CPA, the course is divided into four sections and takes around 9-12 months to complete. The four portions of a US CPA exam are as follows.
A. Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
B. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
C. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
D. Regulation (REG)

Course fees: US CPA vs. US CMA

The course fees are another essential factor to consider while selecting a course. Each exam section of the US CMA test includes entry and registration fees. The US CMA certification costs roughly USD 1,000, including all expenses. It does not include the cost of a study review course.
The fee for the US CPA test in India is typically around USD 1,200 for all four sections. However, it might vary slightly depending on the number of parts you take on the exam and the location. The typical cost of US CPA certification is roughly USD 1,500, which includes exam fees, application fees, and license fees.

Job opportunities: US CPA vs. US CMA

A CPA's income rises faster than that of his non-certified counterparts. A new US CPA in India starts with an average salary in India of 6,00,000 INR at Big4 or MNC. A CFO in India makes between INR 8 Lakhs and INR 50 Lakhs a month. In the Middle East, an entry-level CPA with less than a year of experience can expect to earn an annual income of AED 85,000. (including perks and other benefits).
A new candidate in India can expect a beginning salary of INR 4-7 lakhs per year (INR 33000-67000 CMA salary in India per month) for the US CMA. This can rise to approximately CMA India salary of INR 80 Lakhs if you become a company's CFO.
According to the most recent IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) Global Compensation Survey 2021, the median salary of a CMA professional is 58 percent more than that of non-CMAs and MBAs. The study included a sample population of 3,085 people from 79 countries worldwide.

CMA India vs CPA

Eligibility details: CMA India vs CPA

In terms of CMA USA and CPA eligibility in India, both require a bachelor's degree or a comparable professional certification. Furthermore, CPA eligibility in India includes having two years of public accounting experience, and CMAs must have two years of management accounting or financial management experience. After becoming certified, a CPA must complete 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year. CMAs must complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year to keep their credentials.

Course Details: CMA India vs CPA

The CPA course in India is organized into four sections: Business Environment & Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR), Audit & Attestation (AUD), and Regulation (REG). BEC broadly covers managerial themes, with the remainder focusing on tax and auditing. Corporate governance, economic ideas and analysis, professional responsibilities, ethics and general principles, financial statement accounts, federal entity taxation, individual federal taxation, and other topics are studied as part of the CPA course. 
Conversely, CMA places a premium on developing analytical skills such as data reporting and critical decision making. Planning, budgeting & forecasting, performance management, internal controls, cost management, decision analysis, professional ethics, financial statement analysis, and other topics are addressed in the CMA course. The CMA India course has three levels - Foundation, Intermediate, and Final.

Course Fees: CMA India vs CPA fees in India

CPA course fees in India costs roughly $1,500 on average, which includes exam fees, application expenses, and license fees. On the other hand, the CMA India certification costs around 53,000 INR, which consists of fees for all three Levels. However, in both situations, the certification fee does not include the cost of a review course, which candidates typically take to study.

Job opportunities: CMA India vs CPA

CPA practitioners typically work as accountants or financial advisors. Public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors, and others are some of the most popular job descriptions for CPAs. On the other hand, CMA-certified professionals want to work for large organizations, and some of their usual job profiles include cost accountants, consultants, financial risk managers, and so on. A CPA's average compensation throughout their career is around $120,000, whereas CMA India's average salary in India is about INR 5 LPA.


Differentiating FactorsCMA USACMA IndiaUS CPA
Duration6 to 9 months3 years18-24 months
Exam feesINR 65,000-1,00,000INR 53,000INR 1,99,860
BoardInstitute of Management Accountants (IMA)Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI)American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA)
Average salary in IndiaINR 6 LPAINR 5 LPAINR 8 LPA
RecognitionGlobal RecognitionRecognized only in IndiaGlobal Recognition

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is US CPA better or US CMA?

If a candidate is interested in auditing, taxation, reporting, and regulation. In that case, they should pursue CPA, whereas CMA is a better alternative for someone interested in management, strategic analysis, and decision making.

2. Is US CMA easier than Indian CMA?

There is a widespread assumption that CMA USA is more difficult to break than CMA India, and there is some truth to this. A candidate must get a minimum score of 360/500 on both examinations to be eligible for the CMA USA. The pass rate for CMA USA is around 45%, and that of CMA India is 50%.

3. Which is easy, US CMA or US CPA?

Both of these exams are comprehensive and have a vast syllabus. There are only two parts (as opposed to four in the CPA), and it requires even less time to study and pass. If you want to get there sooner, you can take the CMA USA exam.

4. Is US CMA eligible for CPA?

The CPA USA can be pursued after completing four years of college with 150 credit hours. Alternatively, a three-year degree with a course in between may be beneficial. You can do CPA USA following CMA USA since both share more than 40% of syllabus in common.

5. Is CPA harder than CMA?

Yes! CPA is harder as it takes around 2 years compared to the year required for CMA USA. You should expect a 30-40% overlap. If you've taken the CPA exam, you'll know that the CMA exams Part 1 is a more complicated and thorough version of the BEC and that Part 2 is akin to Level 1 of the CPA).

6. Who makes more money, CPA or CMA?

A CPA's average compensation throughout their career is around $120,000, whereas a CMA US salary is about $100,000. However, a CMA US salary in India is around 6 LPA, and CPA can earn 10 LPA.


You are much more informed and clearly know which job to pursue now that we have thoroughly analyzed the CMA USA VS CMA India, CMA USA VS CPA, and CMA India VS CPA courses. It is highly likely that you will go for the CMA USA or US CPA, both being internationally recognized and more valuable. Now to prepare in an organized manner and learn from experienced mentors is necessary, which is where NorthStar Academy would be a perfect choice.
Enrolling in NorthStar Academy (NSA) courses might make the certification process much more manageable. They provide bundle discounts and comprehensive training, making it a cost-effective experience. The study material developed in collaboration with foreign suppliers is highly preferable, with appropriate portions to assist the learning process, as well as live sessions and pre-recorded courses from top mentor Mr. M Irfat.
We hope these above comparisons of CMA USA VS CMA India, CMA USA VS CPA, and CMA India VS CPA courses help you in deciding which course you should go ahead with. Please get in touch with us here if you have any further questions about our courses. +918147470707
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