CPA or CMA which is better?

Is CPA more difficult than US CMA? 

CPA or CMA- Which is better? Students who wish to pursue CPA or CMA as a career option, often come across this question. When it comes to building a career, we always think about various fields that can help us become successful. Jobs in accounting, management, teaching, etc., have become quite popular. 
Also, when we talk about building a prospective career, we always think about choosing the right field. CMA and CPA are two of the most important fields that not only ensure a great career but growth as well. But of course, you can do both certification courses by pursuing them one by one as dual certification. You must be confused about CPA or CMA which is better? 
Don�t worry! This article focuses on telling you everything about these courses. After knowing all about these courses, it would be easier for you to select the certification course best for you; CPA or CMA which is better for you! 
So, without any further ado, let us begin! 

What is US CPA?

If you are confused between US CPA or CMA which is better, then it is best to know all about these two courses.
Certified Public Accountant, also known as CPA is the title given to qualified accountants in numerous countries like Asia, the USA, Europe, etc. CPAs are considered equivalent to Chartered Accountants, for they provide services to the public. CPA is a license of serving the people. To do this certification course, the students have to complete 150 credit hours of college education along with one to two years of accounting and related experience. CPE, i.e., Continuing Professional Education is required to maintain the license of CPA. 
In the US, CPA is a designation given by the State Governing Agency. A CPA has to abide by the laws of the country and accordingly serve the people. To become a CPA in the US, a candidate is expected to pass the Uniform Public Accountant Examination. This exam is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. 
The CPA exam consists of four sections, namely:
  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Business Environment Concepts 
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation
Students pursuing CPA must give exams for all four sections. Amid the pandemic, the CPA exam has been transformed from a paper-pencil mode to an online mode. Now, here arises a question: what is the impact of technology in doing a CPA certification course?
Well, Technology has highly impacted the way exams and interviews are conducted. All the things have been automated. Apart from the exams and interview procedures, the complex projects undertaken by the CPAs also include using the technology. Technology is used regularly when one starts off as a CPA. 
The designation of CPA is given by AICPA. CPAs give financial advice to individuals, businesses, and organizations to help them reach their optimum financial goals. No matter whether one wants to build a house, open an office, or anything � CPA�s got you covered!
Now that we know about CPAs, let us know some facts about CMAs to conclude CPA or CMA which is better!

CPA or CMA which is better?

What is CMA?

CMA Stands for Certified Management Accountant. People with this credential majorly work in the management and accounting fields. The CMA certification emphasizes the fact that an individual possesses expertise in the areas of financial planning, control, decision, analysis, professional ethics, etc. 
The Institute of Management Accountants or the IMA in the US is one of the major bodies that offer CMA Certification. 
How to become a CMA?
This question might arise in every candidate�s mind. So, to qualify for the CMA USA exam, the candidates must pass two rigorous exams, thereby meeting and gaining educational experience. Students must also get a CPE (Continuing Professional Education) to continue to get a CMA certification. 
The CMA exam consists of two parts, namely:
Part 1 of CMA USA:  Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
Part 2 of CMA USA: Strategic Financial Management
Let us have a look at the exam pattern of CMA USA.
  • CMA USA exam consists of 2 exams of 500 marks with a time duration of 4 hours each. 
  • Each CMA exam consists of 2 parts. 
  • First CMA part consists of 100 MCQs carrying 375 marks. 
  • The second CMA part consists of 2 Essay questions carrying 125 marks. 
  • A total of 30 minutes is given to complete each essay.
  • If a candidate scores 360 marks or more than that, then he/ she gets qualified. 
The CMA exam is very difficult and the pass rate is 40% for Part 1 and 50% for Part 2.  The candidates must fulfill education and 2 years of training experiences to get certified as a US CMA.
Now, there are certain criteria to get the CMA/ CPA certification. No matter which course a candidate applies for, he/ she has to fulfill these criteria. So, let us have a look at them! 
The criteria to get the CMA final certification is as follows: 
  • Bachelor�s degree from an accredited university.
  • Two years of professional training, wherein the candidate will employ the principles of management accounting and financial management (evaluating risks, managing ledgers, managing balance sheets, preparing financial statements, auditing, cost analysis, etc.). 
  • For CMAs, 30 hours of CPE credits are required to be earned including two hours of ethics and IMA membership to maintain the status. 
After these things are fulfilled, one can Bannerbecome a certified US CMA.

How to become CPA 

In order to become a CPA, a candidate must have competency in the field of accountancy. A CPA is an accountant with experience and a high level of education. In order to become a CPA, it is essential to fulfilling the following criteria. Have a look! 
  • To pursue CPA as a career option, the candidate must have a bachelor�s degree in any discipline. 
  • 150 credit hours must be completed in order to become a CPA. 
 particular certification course. So, here let's study the difference between CPA and CMA. 

Difference Between CPA and CMA

What is the difference between CPA and CMA? This question has been asked many times and arises in the minds of all the candidates pursuing certification courses. Both CPA and CMA certification courses require education, practical, and training skills. To know more about these courses, here are some key points regarding the difference between CPA and CMA. 
  1. Why is CPA better?
  • The CPA credential is one of the widely established qualifications in the accounting industry. This qualification is similar to that of a Chartered Accountant. This is the reason the CPA is not only recognized in the United States and across other countries as well.
  • CPA certification course is conducted and administered by AICPA and NASBA. The entry barrier, being higher, is what makes this course so popular. In this course, the candidates must work for 150 credit hours along with one to two years of training experience. This should be verified by the CPA license holder. The higher the entry barrier, the higher the reputation of a CPA.
  • CPA is recognized in many countries around the globe. Along with this, the perks to work in a public, as well as non-public accounting, is given to the candidates as well. 
CPA or CMA which is better in India? This is a layered question, wherein every aspect has to be seen and compared. Let us now look at why one must prefer CMA!
  1. Why is CMA better? 
  • Most accountants work in the corporate world. A CMA has management accounting skills which are preferred in the corporate sector. This is a practical skill that benefits the CMAs in their coming career. There are multiple individuals who take up CPA, CMA dual certification but find the course material of CMA more interesting than CPA. Such candidates might change their minds and apply just for CMA. Thus, the training and knowledge provided in the CMA course are practical in the long run. 
  • The best thing about the CMA certification course is that it is cheaper. CMA is also not that much of a time-consuming course. The same goes with the CPA certification course as well in terms of time consumption. Since CMA has only two areas to focus on, the candidates can easily complete the syllabus, study, and pass. 
  • For CMA certification, you don�t need to complete your graduation. You can apply for the exam even when you are still studying or are still in your Bachelor�s. However, along with completing your Bachelor�s degree, the candidates also have to gain experience of minimum 2 years to acquire this certification. 
  • CMA is administered by the Institute of Management Accountants which has a better administration body,  after an individual acquires the CMA certification, the IMA will offer free webinars to the candidates, wherein the members can build networks and exchange ideas. 
The difference between CPA and CMA has been listed above. Candidates need to have a close look at the points and then decide CPA or CMA which is better? No matter what certification they choose, the requirement of experience and training is a must!  
Still skeptical to decide on CPA or CMA which is better? Don�t worry! Let us try one last time. Now that you have all the information regarding CPA and CMA, there are three more points on which you can decide CPA or CMA which is better. So, let us have a look at them!

Miscellaneous Key Points Regarding CPA or CMA Which is Better?

A candidate can apply for either separate or dual exams based on the following factors. Here they are.
  1. Considerable Overlaps 
Both CPA and CMA certification courses help in developing different skills, but the essence of these courses is accounting. There is a 30% to 40% overlap in the course material because it is about financial accounting and management accounting. If a candidate has given the CPA exam, He/She would get the idea that Part 1 of the CMA Exam is more comprehensive and harder as compared to Part 2 which is similar to the CPA exam.
  1. CPE Hours 
Both the courses of CPA & CMA certifications have a prerequisite of specific time (in hours) of CPE, i.e., Continuing Professional Education. Most of the CPE courses are apt for both CPA & CMA. 
  1. CPA, CMA Dual Certification 
A lot of candidates are of the fact that CPA is a much designated and established title as compared to CMA. They also agree with the fact that CMA is practical and beneficial in the long run. When candidates are not sure or confused about CPA or CMA which is better, then they can take the dual qualification. The training, studying, and exams will be harder but you will have the best of both worlds. 


  1. Is CMA more difficult than CPA?
Yes, the CMA exam Part 1 is more difficult than the CPA exam. The core difference Bannerbetween CPA and CMA exams is that the comprehensive part of the CMA exam is considered harder. Rest CMA exam Part 2 and the CPA exam have around 30% - 40% of overlap in the course material. 
  1. Is it good to do CPA after CMA?
Yes, candidates can do CPA after CMA USA certification.. Candidates need to be postgraduate for this. This will boost the career growth of the candidates. 
  1. Who earns more CPA or CMA?
To know CPA or CMA which is better, one of the major things is to compare the salaries. A CPA earns $120,000 and a CMA earns $100,000. There is a slight difference between CPA and CMA! 
  1. Can I do both CPA and CMA?
Yes, dual qualification can be done by the candidates. No doubt, the candidates have to work much harder but they will get the best of both worlds. 
  1. Which is the best accounting qualification?
A CMA qualification is the best accounting qualification for those who wish to work in both the business and management fields. 
  1. Is CMA a Chartered Accountant?
No, a CMA is not a Chartered Accountant. CA is a higher level of education chosen by individuals after secondary education. On the other hand, CMA is a certification course that can be done after a bachelor�s degree, professional degree, or secondary education. 
  1. Is CMA better than MBA?
Both MBA and CMA are good courses. It depends upon the individual. If the candidate wants to learn broader aspects of finance and marketing, then an MBA is a great option. But if the candidate wishes to have the knowledge and practical skills in management accounting, then CMA is an amazing option.
  1. Which accounting qualification is the hardest?
CA is the hardest accounting qualification. It includes varied aspects of financial accounting, analysis, cost accounting, etc. 
  1. CPA or CMA which is better? 
US CPA or US CMA which is better? This is an intermittent question. Both courses have their benefits. Candidates must consider the duration of the course, eligibility, and many other factors mentioned above before selecting the course.


CPA or CMA which is better? This question pops up a lot of things that must be considered while selecting a course. When a candidate selects a course it is very important to know about the course, the experiences it will provide, the eligibility, the time frame, etc. All this is given in this blog. It is essential to keep all these things in mind. 
For any candidate who doesn't have 150 credit hours but wishes to complete the CMA course within 6-9 months, then NorthStar is a great choice. If you�re looking the least investment with less investment CMA USA is the best choice for you in such a situation! 
Both CPA and CMA certification courses will provide you with an established designation and high salaries. NorthStar Academy and Irfat sir Classes provide you with a wide array of career opportunities. By doing CMA/ CPA from NorthStar Academy, the candidates will be able to prepare for the exam efficiently. Candidates are advised to pay keen attention to all the points mentioned above and go for the course that interests them � either separate or dual! 
Apply to NorthStar Academy to complete your CMA/ CPA certification now! Call us to know more at +918147470707