I have always wanted to be a CMA first and foremost, I believe I learned about it first in my Intro to Accounting class. Small business are where my heart is. I am currently working full-time at a national CPA firm while finishing school. Unfortunately, when I mentioned this to my bosses, they had no idea what it was and are exclusively focused on CPAs; as is the rest of the hiring in the industry.
So here is my question, for those of you who are both CPAs and CMAs: which order would you recommend taking the tests?
CPA first and then take the CMA; reverse? Simultaneously?
Hi Brielle good day,
Surprisingly your bosses don't know what a CMA is. As the profession encourages continuing education & current knowledge on industry trends. You currently work for a national CPA firm, if you transition to industry, they will value the CMA.
If there are no constraints, I say take the CPA first because it is widely recognized in the U.S. and can get you in to any company, or your own company. You're also working under a CPA which is a requirement of the CPA. Then take the CMA shortly thereafter.
If education is a restraint, get the CMA first. If finances are a constraint, get the CMA first. If technical accounting is a constraint, get the CMA first.
I believe a CMA is wonderful for small businesses. You will be well prepared by taking the CMA. Also by pursuing both, you can advise clients and firms on whether they are actually interested in a CPA or a CMA. Because most clients think they need a CPA when they actually need a CMA.
I'm a CMA, not a CPA, but am interested.
P.S. the CPA test is currently undergoing a format change, this may encourage you to take the CMA test first.
I received my CMA first then waited 9 years to get my CPA. However, I was always self-employed and had to pay for everything out of my own pocket. Since you work for a national CPA firm, they may give you financial assistance to get your CPA. Back when I took the CMA exams, I was told that a part could be waived if I had already passed the CPA exams. I do not believe that is the case anymore given the new formats. There is a chance that your firm will assist with the CMA as well. I would ask and see what they will do for you. I found the CPA easier than the CMA so you could consider the CPA as prep for the CMA.
While i recognize that a lot of your advice is contradictory to each other, i just want to take a moment to thank each of you. this is exactly the information for which i was looking. As i weigh the information and advice from each of you it will help me determine which order to take them in. My company does incentivize taking credentials with reimbursement for passing; although, they of course heavily prioritize the CPA. Please continue to tell me about your experiences in taking both as this will help me determine how to lay them out. Due to changes in the OK requirements, i should qualify for both around the same time and just after the changes to the test, in 2025'ish.
I will throw in my two cents as a dual certificate holder of both the CPA and the CMA. I got my CPA first. If the CPA certification is important to your employer, and it sounds like it is, I would recommend pursuing that first. Additionally, as someone else already mentioned, the CPA is more widely recognized. Studying and prepping for both sets of tests is very time consuming, and for that reason I would not recommend pursuing both at the same time.
I was planning to do both at the same time in 2019-2020, I did study for both simultaneously and found that the CMA covers 2 parts of the CPA at that time, Business and FAR, I ended up doing the CMA only as Covid-19 travel restrictions hit at the time I was planning to take my exams and they don't have CPA testing in the country I live in. If I had the option, I would do the them at the same time, start with the REG exam in CPA (it is the hardest part) once passed you can do the rest, time your CMA exams with the CPA FAR and Business exams as they are very similar in both.
I will echo some others that have suggested the CPA first, and for some similar reasons. The first being that your employer holds this as an important certification for you to achieve. I earned mine during the first year of employment at an international firm (non-big 4), and it comes with benefits at work.
At my next employer I earned my CMA (three years later), and will note that the testing is more in depth on managerial accounting, but less broad based. Thus taking the CPA a bit closer to those high level accounting courses might be better.
I wish you luck in your endeavors, whichever way and timing you choose to take the exams. Both certifications are good to have (IMHO).
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