ACCA or CMA (US): Salary Secrets & Global Impact Revealed

ACCA vs CMA blog cover


Aspiring students often need help deciding which qualifications to pursue to advance their careers in the dynamic financial and accounting sectors.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a globally recognized professional accounting body providing comprehensive finance, accounting, and business management. In contrast, the CMA qualification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) focuses on management accounting, financial planning, and analysis.

Also, check out our video on ACCA vs CFA:

Overview ACCA vs CMA (US)


ACCA is a professional qualification focusing on Accounting, Finance & Business Management. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a globally recognized professional body headquartered in London. This rigorous program equips individuals with a comprehensive understanding of accounting, finance, and business management, preparing them for success in diverse careers.

ACCA is an international qualification with over 247,000 members and 526,000 students from more than 181 countries. Its widespread recognition and rigorous standards make it a valuable asset for career advancement, opening doors to exciting global opportunities.


The CMA qualification focuses on management accounting and covers financial planning, analysis, control, and decision-making. The CMA qualification is designed for professionals interested in pursuing a career in management accounting, finance, and business analysis.

The CMA qualification isn’t just restricted to the US; it’s a globally recognized symbol of expertise in financial management, valued by employers worldwide.

Job Roles: Unveiling the Destinations


ACCA’s broad curriculum opens doors to many roles across accounting, finance, and business. You could work in

  • Accounting
  • Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Internal & Statutory Auditing
  • International Tax
  • Advisory
  • Management Consulting
  • Risk
  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • ESG Consulting and many more.

The versatility of ACCA empowers you to explore diverse paths, choosing the one that resonates with your unique strengths and interests. The average salary for a fresher ACCA professional is 6 to 7 lacs.


As CMA is very focused on finance, accounting and analysis. You could work as –

  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Forecasting
  • Managing general ledger and balance sheets
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Company investment decision-making
  • Risk evaluation
  • Costing analysis

In India, the average CMA salary ranges from INR 5 to 6 lacs, depending on experience and job role.



ACCA offers flexible entry points –

  • After Grade 10/ 12: Start your journey early with foundation-level courses.
  • Graduation (B.Com/M.Com): Build upon your existing knowledge with exemptions based on your degree.
  • CA Inter/Final: Leverage your CA studies for even more exemptions (up to 9 Exemptions)
  • After CMA: Up to 9 Exemptions

Completing the ACCA exams typically takes 18-24 months, depending on your study pace and prior qualifications.


You can start CMA after you complete grade 12. To be certified as a CMA, you will need

  • a Bachelor’s degree
  • completion of the CMA papers
  • and 2 years of work experience.

Completing the CMA exam typically takes 6-12 months.

Subjects & Syllabus

ACCA Subjects

Knowledge Level

  1. Business and Technology (BT)
  2. Management Accounting (MA)
  3. Financial Accounting (FA)

Skill Level

  1. Corporate and Business Law (LW)
  2. Performance Management (PM)
  3. Taxation (TX)
  4. Financial Reporting (FR)
  5. Audit and Assurance (AA)
  6. Financial Management (FM)

Professional Level

Essential Papers

  1. Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  2. Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

Optional Papers (any 2)

  1. Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
  2. Advanced Performance Management (APM)
  3. Advanced Taxation (ATX)
  4. Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)

All Exams are computer-based

CMA (US) Subjects

Earning your CMA US qualification unlocks a world of career possibilities in finance and accounting. But before you dive in, understanding the exam structure is crucial. Here’s a breakdown:

The exam is divided into two parts, each a four-hour test:

  • Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
  • Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

Exam Structure


The exams are computer-based and consist of 13 exams (Fewer papers in case you are eligible for exemptions) divided into three levels (as explained above).

Each level offers flexibility, allowing you to progress at your own pace and conquer sections individually. ACCA exam happens 4 times a year:

  • March
  • June
  • September
  • December


IMA, USA administers US CMA exams annually in three testing windows in India and worldwide. The testing times are listed below.

  • January-February
  • May-June
  • September-October

Exams are taken online at Prometric Centers located throughout India. Students can book their preferred exam day and slot for any of the testing windows listed above.

Passing Rates


Overall: The average pass rate for ACCA exams typically ranges from 40% to 50%, depending on the specific paper and level.


Overall: The average pass rate for CMA exams typically ranges from 45% to 50%.


Investing in a professional qualification like ACCA or CMA requires a significant financial commitment due to various associated costs. These include registration and subscription fees, exam fees, study materials, and optional tuition and coaching fees.


The estimated cost for pursuing ACCA, including all potential expenses, typically ranges from INR 3.5 to 4 lacs.


The total cost of pursuing US CMA in India will be around INR 1.3 to 1.5 lacs.

ACCA vs CMA (US): The Right Choice for You?

Both the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) are great qualifications but cater to different career aspirations. Deciding which is “best” depends on your individual goals and interests.

ACCA: This internationally acclaimed qualification provides a comprehensive perspective encompassing financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and business strategy. ACCA exam structure helps students prepare for real work-life scenarios. Its practical approach prepares you for various roles, making you highly desirable for positions like auditor, tax advisor, or financial analyst.

CMA (US): This specialized qualification offers an in-depth exploration of management accounting, with an emphasis on cost management, financial analysis, and strategic decision-making capabilities. It is particularly well-suited for individuals seeking corporate finance, cost accounting, or internal auditing careers, especially within America.

The decision as to whether you aim for the ACCA or the CMA depends on your passion and career goals. The ACCA may be better if you want international exposure and a broad range of financial skills.

Conversely, the CMA could be ideal if you have a passion for corporate finance and strategic analysis. Both qualifications are valuable milestones on your professional journey, with the best route being the one that suits your ambitions. Consider your long-term goals and preferences to make an informed decision.


In conclusion, while both the ACCA and CMA offer promising career prospects, the best choice for you depends upon your passion and career aspiration. Be sure which sector you want to work in and which qualification will help you. reach your long-term career goals. Research each qualification’s content and exam structures to ensure they align with your learning style and strengths. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best path lies in the direction that fuels your passion toward fulfilling your unique vision for your career.

Also read our blog on ACCA vs MBAACCA vs CFA & ACCA vs CA

Explore Our Modes of Learning

To Know About Our Upcoming Batches

Our Extraordinary Success Stories

Send Us A Message

Explore Our Modes of Learning

To Know About Our Upcoming Batches

Our Extraordinary Success Stories

Related Posts

Complete ACCA FA Study Guide – Syllabus, Paper Pattern, Academic Plan, Mock Exams, Tips, And […]

DECODING THE SUBJECT The ACCA (Financial Management) Paper is designed to equip you with the […]

DECODING THE SUBJECT The aim of ACCA Management Accounting (MA) is to develop knowledge and […]

Connect with us on Telegram / WhatsApp

Fill the form for
ACCA Revision Notes!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.