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There are many differences between a CA and CMA, although they are both accounting designations, and the qualifications that a person would need in order to succeed in the professional field of Accountancy. CA is the abbreviation for Chartered Accountant, and CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant

What is CA?

A Chartered Accountant qualification is a program for ambitious and talented candidates, and those who are eager to have a winning career. It is basically a three year program, where the candidate will obtain practical knowledge from a recognized CA training facility. Chartered Accountants work for the finance and business industry, and this may include private sectors, public works or government sectors. 

There are many Chartered Accountant academies, and these institutions offer various accounting packages, and give full support to their students by providing technical libraries, a technical helpline and advisory services. They provide openings for business and career development. 

In 1854, Chartered Accountancy began in Britain, and the first body of Chartered Accountants were formed by the Glasgow Institute of Accountants and Actuaries. The Edinburgh Society of Accountants and the Aberdeen Society of Accountants were formed in 1867. These are some of the internationally recommended professional designations. 

What is CMA?

On the other hand, CMA is a complete program that focuses on financial and accounting management. The study of Certified Management Accountancy includes cost management, corporate finance, economics, performance management, internal controls, decision analysis, financial reporting, strategic planning and organizational management. 

The CMA focuses of four major areas of study: 

  • Business Applications
  • Business Analysis
  • Strategic Management
  • Management Accounting and Reporting 

The points mentioned below, are some important criterion that CMA candidates should follow: 


All candidates must have a Bachelors degree, in any area, and from a recognized university or college. 


Candidates must acquire two years of professional experience in financial and accounting management, within seven years of passing the exam. This experience will strengthen the ethics of financial and accounting management.

Moral Principals

CMA candidates should be willing to conduct their business in accordance to moral principals.


CMA candidates must have a membership with a recognized institution.

Enduring Education

After the completion of the CMA qualification, the candidate must cover thirty hours of CPE, in the time frame of one year. This includes two hours of study in the area of principles. 

Both the CA and the CMA are able to fulfill all business and financial needs, with the focus being on financial and accounting management, although, the subjects studied within the qualifications differ from one another. The CA and  CMA are both excellent accounting designations, but it is up to the individual to determine his ideal education.   

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