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CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: There have been interesting debate on the merits of CMA granted by IMA (US) versus the one by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI, or better known by its former name, ICWAI) of India. Here is my attempt to compare the two. Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: History Of ICWAI 

ICWAI recently changed their name to Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI). This is an institute formed by an Act enacted by Indian Parliament. The members are allowed to practice and to conduct cost audit, excise audit and VAT audit. Their members are active in both industry and public accounting.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Coverage of Knowledge Base

ICWAI offers a rigorous program — in addition to covering the core strategy, management and accounting, it also focuses on regulatory. This makes sense because in India, accountants need to be knowledgeable on these matters given the many regulations that affect businesses.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Exam Structure and Years Required to Earn the Title

The minimum theoretical time taken for the ICWAI and CA (including article ship) courses are 2 years and 4 years, respectively, assuming the candidate can pass in the first attempt.
ICWAI candidates get only two chances to sit for the exam during the year and this inflexibility makes it a much longer process. On average ICWAI / CA students take 5-7 years to pass their exams.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Passing Rates

The passing rate is not disclosed but it is believably to be quite low.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Global Recognition

It is understandable that, at the current stage at least, ICWAI is not much recognized outside of India. One of the reasons is that non-Indians neither have a convenient way nor incentive to go through the necessary steps to become an ICWAI member.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Institute of Management Accountant (IMA)

Coverage of Knowledge Base

The coverage of IMA is arguably less comprehensive — it focuses on cost accounting and financial management but not regulation, audit or taxation. One important reasons is that the CMA title is more strictly designed for management accountants, and for general accountants they go for the CPA.
Because of this, as well as the fact that the process is very exam-oriented, getting the US version is usually the quickest way for candidates anywhere in the world to get a “CMA title”.

Exam Structure and Years Required to Earn the Title

There are two parts in the CMA exam — each part covers a considerable amount of materials, but the benefit is that you can complete the process much faster. It is quite normal that candidates can complete the exam within a year.
Also, the exam is computerized and therefore can be available any weekday within the testing window, which open 6 months out of the 12 months in a year. The flexibility allows you to get fully prepared before attempting the exam, and can choose to take the exam at a time when you are not as busy.

Passing Rates

The passing rate is low — 33% in Part 1 and 48% in Part 2, but given the low barrier of entry I expect that many candidates do not have solid accounting knowledge and this tends to pull down the overall rate.
If you have a background in accounting or you are determined to study using effective review materials, you have a much higher chance of success.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better: Global Recognition

CMA (US) enjoys a good brand-name recognition both within and outside of the US, especially in the Middle East and china. The title is particularly useful if you aspire to work in these places in the future.
The good news is that you can go for either CMA (US) or CMA (India), but not necessarily both, because IMA recognizes ICWAI members as CMAs upon payment of an one-time entrance fee, and vice versa.
Please ensure that you have completed and acquired IMA qualification from a place other than India. For this purpose, it is to be ensured that the entire course of IMA, US as well as examination should be pursued from outside India.”
In other words, this agreement is designed for CMAs who live and work outside of India. In this era of online studying, it may be hard to determine from which location a candidate studies for the exam. Based on with this clause, I would try to avoid physically attending a course in India and taking the exam in India.
Other than that, I am not familiar with the Indian certificate and therefore will not take the risk of interpreting their rules further. If you have other questions, please follow up with ICWAI directly.

Final Step to Becoming CMA Certified

Final Step to Becoming CMA Certified : The requirements for earning the CMA certificate are as follows:

  • The candidate should have completed a bachelor’s degree course or earned a professional certification from a recognized college/ university/Institute
  • A work experience of at least 2 years in accounting, finance, or any of the related areas
  • Candidates must have successfully completed parts one and two of the CMA exam is held by IMA.

CMA IMA vs ICWAI Which Certification is Better

A CMA certification opens the possibilities for having a highly rewarding career in various companies. CMAs are experts in various finance and accounts related areas, and are highly skilled in practical applications as well. Hence, there is a demand for CMAs in a large number of companies. They also grow rapidly, both in terms of position as well as salary. A recent survey by IMA showed that the CMA’s in the USA draw up to 61% more salary than their non-CMA counterparts. Thus, by investing your time, money, and energy in completing the CMA course today, you will reap rich dividends for a lifetime.

Final Step to Becoming CMA Certified

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