CMA Vs CA Which is Better,Ultimate Guide to Choose Your Career Path in 2024


Choosing your career path is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. It will impact the rest of your life. While many people want to become a Chartered Accountant, others want to become Certified Management Accountants. Are you confused between choosing CMA Vs CA ?
While both these courses have the same objective, still there are many differences between the two. This blog will help you decode these differences and show you how you can make the right decision, as we are here to explore the difference between CMA and CA and end up with a conclusion that finds which is better for you CMA or CA!

CMA Vs CA : What is CMA?

CMA is an advanced designation offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), and it certifies that the holder has acquired the skills needed to be a certified professional in management accounting.
The certification program is designed to help financial professionals and students meet the competencies needed to effectively communicate and apply the specialized finance and accounting knowledge used to analyze and interpret management information, such as understanding the basic processes involved in the planning, directing, and controlling of business enterprises. 
The focus is on the specialized knowledge needed to understand, interpret, and effectively communicate cost and management accounting concepts related to the organization's planning, budgeting, and control activities.

Steps to Become a CMA

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a great way to further your career. To begin you'll need to pass the CMA exam. You can take the exam right after 12th, to get the final certification you'll need to have at least a bachelor's degree and 2 years of relevant experience. 
  • As the next step, you have to appear for an exam which has about two parts, Part 1 and Part 2. 
  • The total marks of these exams are 500, to pass and obtain completion certificate, the candidate has to secure a minimum of 360 marks. 
For an average person taking the tests, the completion time for both parts comes out to be about 6-9 months. When you complete your education and pass both parts, you can fulfill the extensive education requirements to become a certified management accountant.
CMA Vs CA Which is Better
contact us now

CMA Vs CA: What is CA?

As a Chartered Accountant, you can work in all fields of business and finance. For example, there are tax accountants and auditors, general management accountants, and budget analysts. You can be employed by government bodies and public and private sector companies. 
In short, people who are skilled in this field are always in demand in all industries. To become a fully-qualified CA, you must take different exams and the training process is rigorous. When you are a Chartered Accountant, you can manage financial accounts for an organization, be it tax accountant, management accountant, budget analyst, and of course, the most interesting of all, an auditor.

Steps to become a CA

If you are willing to pursue a chartered accountant career, you can appear for the CA Foundation exam when you are done with your 12th standard or you can also take up the intermediate exam when you complete your graduation. 
A trainee must work at a chartered professional firm for three years to be a part of the final examination. The trainee must also enroll in an IT course that teaches various basic tech-related skills like excel, word etc.
They can take the article assistant level exams after three years of working as a trainee. Before they write it, they need to complete 100 hours worth of soft skills development classes and learn how to effectively deal with customers.

The difference between CMA and CA

  • CA and CMA both are accounting-based courses but CA is based on financial or monetary principles accounting whereas CMA is on managerial accounting. The CMA course is basically known for its strategic management accounting. 
  • In CMA deals with Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics whereas CA deals with  taxes, business laws etc. CMA is an advanced course, which is more practical and deals with the application of knowledge in the business field.
  • When it comes to course duration, CA courses take about 5 years. On the other hand, a CMA course is just about 6 to 9 months.
    Though both are professional courses, CMA can be cracked more quiker than CA exams. 
  • On comparing the job profiles, CA is an individual who manages tax,goods and service tax, corporate finance, business recovery, and forensic Finance. In CMA, the individual has the roles of financial controller, finance analyst, cost accountant and finance manager.

Comparison table on CMA Vs CA

Particulars  CMA CA
Exams are controlled by  Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
Eligibility 2 exams with two years of relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree. CA has 20 exams with 3 levels. It requires 3 years of work experience in a chartered professional firm(Articleship)
Difficulty level Not so difficult  Difficult 
Pass rates 45-50% Around 8-12%
Duration of the course 6-9 months Around 5 years
Salary difference between CMA vs CA Entry-level CMA: 4-7 lakh per annum Entry-level CA: 6-7 lakhs per annum
Comparison table on CMA Vs CA

CMA Vs CA Syllabus

CMA USA Syllabus

Part 1 CMA USA Part 2 CMA USA
Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics Strategic Financial Management
Section A External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%) Section A Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
Section B Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (20%) Section B Corporate Finance (20%)
Section C Performance Management (20%) Section C Decision Analysis (25%)
Section D Cost Management (15%) Section D Risk Management (10%)
Section E Internal Control (15%) Section E Investment Decisions (10%)
Section F Technology and Analytics (15%) Section F Professional Ethics (15%)

CA Syllabus

CA Foundation
Fundamentals of Accounting
Mercantile Law
General Economics
Quantitative Aptitude
CA Foundation

CA Intermediate Syllabus

CA Inter Group 1 CA Inter 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 Intermediate Syllabus

CA Final Syllabus

Group 1 CA Final subjects Group 2 CA Final subjects
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
CA Final Syllabus

CA VS CMA: Which one pays more?

In India, the average salary of a Chartered Accountant is 8,06,154 INR per year, whereas the average compensation of a Certified Management Accountant is 5,50,000 INR per year. Thus, it may be concluded that a CA has a higher salary than a CMA. However, the wage also depends on your level of expertise and the company for which you work.

CA VS CMA: Which one is less time-consuming?

The Chartered Accountancy program requires a minimum of 4.5 years to complete, including 3 years of articleship or practical training.12 months to 18 months are required to qualify for the CMA examinations. In terms of exam dates and schedules, applicants are permitted to choose the dates for CMA exams but not for CA exams. This means that CMA offers greater flexibility as a learning course and can be completed in less time than CA.


1. CMA or CA which is tough?

CA is more complicated than CMA when it comes to syllabus. However, the number of students who pass CMA exams are always better than the number of students who pass CA exams. That being said, both require constant efforts. 

2. Which course will be better, CA or US CMA?

There is no right answer for this, it completely depends on your requirements, If you want a course with a short duration and global recognition, you can opt for CMA USA, and if you want a course with a longer duration and in-depth subject knowledge, you can choose CA. 

3. How difficult is CMA for a CA dropout?

CMA as well as CA are the well known courses in India. If you are a dropout in CA, you can try CMA. But, you can only succeed with perfect preparation and dedication. 

4. Are job opportunities for CMAs low?

No, CMA jobs are plentiful in India as all the big companies request accounting and Management Accountants to grow their business. So, you can find more opportunities for CMA. 

5. What is the structure of the CMA course? 

CMA course has three levels which are Foundation, intermediate, and final levels. 

6. Which is the best, in terms of salary: CA or CMA? 

When it comes to salary an entry-level CMA holder earns up to 4 to 7 lakh per annum, whereas the entry-level CA holder earns up to 6-7 lakhs per annum. 


If you think you have an aptitude for business and are looking to pursue a career in financial accounting, then you might have to decide between choosing a career in Chartered Accountancy or Chartered Management Accounting. 
Chartered Account or CA is a long term course that is taken after 12th or after completing a Graduation or bachelor's Degree in any subject. The CMA (Certified Management Accountant)  is a professional certification that can be taken right after secondary education.
Chartered Accounts are the people who are involved in the business of finance and accounting and help the company to make a profit and loss account of the company. Obtaining the CMA signifies to employers the ability to gain knowledge within financial planning, analysis and control, decision making, professional ethics, and support capabilities in management accounting and financial accounting fields.
By choosing a career in Certified Management Accounting, you can be part of a growing field that is revolutionizing the world of finance and management accounting. If you are planning to make a move towards the evergreen courses out there,  choose CMA from NorthStar Academy - The best training institute in India for Finance Aspirants. Enroll now by filling in the CMA USA Enquiry form or call +918147470707 now!