CMA Vs CFA : How To Choose One For Yourself?

A number of professionals or students in the Finance and Accounting domain must have had doubts about which course to opt for. This could also involve asking other people for help. But, truly speaking, this decision should only be yours. You may do plentiful research and take every necessary guidance, but eventually, it is you who must decide which direction you wish to steer your career in.

Let us start by understanding both of these courses, and then we will compare CMA vs. CFA.

CMA program:

The CMA is a certification in financial accounting and strategic management. Moreover, unlike other accounting certifications, CMA is a globally recognized credential with a special focus on corporate finance and management accounting. It is a program that is made for accountants who are working outside the CPA firms. 

Once you've earned the CMA certification, you can expect to get a highly rewarding career in various companies. CMAs work in accounting, corporate finance, and strategy teams in an organization. The reason that the demand for CMAs is so high is that they are highly skilled in practical applications.

CFA Program:

The CFA course is a globally-recognized professional designation that measures and certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts. The course is meant for people interested in equity research, hedge funds, asset management, and other types of investment management. The CFA charter is said to be the gold standard in the field of investment analysis and is one of the most respected designations in finance. 

CFA or CMA – Which one is better?

Time required: 

The CMA exam has two parts, and IMA allows the candidates to complete the exams in three years. However, it is possible that many students complete this much earlier, even within one year, if they prepare well. On the other hand, although it is possible to become a CFA within two years, most students take three to four years to complete it.

This is why many people choose CMA certification. 

It has fewer exam sections, with manageable exam papers. While comparing CMA vs. CFA, a lot of people find the CMA easy as compared to CFA.

Exam Schedule:

CMA candidates have the flexibility to appear on any day within the testing window, available for six months in a year. As the CMA examinations are 100% computerized, candidates can also complete their examinations quickly and according to the schedule of their choice.

The CFA exam dates aren't very flexible. The CFA exams are held biannually for level 1 and only once a year for levels 2 and 3. 

Job prospects:

With regard to job prospects, all companies need accounting professionals, while some need finance professionals. CMAs typically work as cost accountants, risk managers, budgeters, corporate accountants, FP&A managers, management accountants, financial strategists, and executive decision-makers. The CMA certification has a comparatively higher demand.


CFA qualification is for equity research and is held recognized among industries dealing with asset management and funds. 

However, CFAs are also known to acquire very high positions in different companies, since they have a very niche knowledge. They grow fast and command very attractive salaries. If you want to get the prestige associated with working in world-renowned companies in places like Wall Street in the USA, then CFA should be your choice.


Hope the above article is helpful to you. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!

Simandhar Education:

Simandhar Education is the official partner of Becker and AICPA - The largest Training provider for US CPA, US CMA, IFRS, and EA courses in India with offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Kerala, Cochin (Kochi), Trivandrum, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Need more information on the US CMA course? please feel free to Contact Simandhar Education @ +91 7780273388 or mail us at [email protected].


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