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The Value of the CMA in the Big 4

Does the Big 4 value the CMA designation?

You’re most likely aware that the Big 4 accounting firms are very fond of the CPA certification. Sometimes, it may seem like the only certification Deloitte, Ernst and Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) know exist is the CPA. But in reality, the Big Four are not only aware of the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, they value it. We’ll provide some industry insight and explain how earning the CMA can benefit you as an accountant, whether or not you’re a Big 4 employee.

If you’d like more information about the CMA, check out our free CMA exam guide.

The Value of the CMA in the Big 4

The Big 4 specializes in public accounting, which is why it employs so many Certified Public Accountants. However, each of the Big 4 companies is also an international firm that provides a variety of services to many different clients, multi-national companies among them.

Because the CMA certification is globally recognized, the Big 4 has positions available for CMAs. Big 4 firms turn to their own teams of management accountants to advise large companies on restructuring and potential tax savings opportunities.

The Big 4 offer many positions to CMAs, such as

  • Risk Management Advisory Manager
  • Accounting & Reporting Transformation Senior Consultant
  • Government & Public Sector Strategy Manager
  • Risk Assurance Advisor (Manager)
  • International Tax Services Senior Manager
  • Risk Transformation Advisory Senior Manager

The Value of the CMA in Accounting

Though more accountants pursue the CPA than the CMA, each certification improves the accounting industry in its own way. While the CPA enhances public accounting, the CMA is better suited to corporate accounting and is the leading credential for management accounting.

The CPA is the most popular certification in the Big 4, but the CMA is in high demand at Fortune 500 companies and companies with manufacturing facilities that require cost and inventory management. CMAs can work for a wide range of corporations but usually end up at bigger companies that are more likely to need a professional who specializes in management accounting and costing.

While both CPAs and CMAs can hold titles like CFO or controller, CMAs actually have the edge when it comes to making high-level management decisions due to the focus of their certification. Consequently, many individuals holding senior management positions in strategic planning, accounting, and finance are CMAs.

Reasons the CMA Is Valuable to You

As you can see, the Big Four and Fortune 500 companies value the CMA. But should you? If you’re looking for more reasons to seek the CMA certification, here are three:

      1. Increased Earning Potential

        It’s a fact: CMAs make more than non-CMAs, so becoming a CMA gives you the opportunity to increase your earning potential. On a global scale, CMA-certified accountants have an average salary that is 62% higher than that of non-certified accountants, which equates to about $31,000 more a year. The compensation gap gets wider when you consider incentives like health insurance, retirement accounts, fringe benefits, etc., that are commensurately larger for CMAs.

        When you add the CMA and CPA together and hold dual certification, you can grow your personal revenue even more. For years now, the IMA salary survey has reported that accountants with both the CMA and the CPA make a lot more money than accountants with just one.

        The most recent survey says accountants with dual certification make an average of 59% more than single-certification accountants (who already out-earn accountants without a certification by a fair margin). For more exciting figures, take a look at the median total compensation for dual certification holders by age range:

        • 20-29: $78,000
        • 30-39: $122,250
        • 40-49: $145,000
        • 50 and older: $140,500

    These numbers more than make up for the expense and effort required to achieve dual certification. Considering the amount of extra money you could make throughout your career, earning the CMA is clearly a wise financial decision.

  1. Better Job Satisfaction

    With the CPA certification, you’re eligible for just about any job in the Big 4. But with the CMA, you’re in the running for some of the best jobs. On their websites, the Big 4 firms typically list thousands more job openings for CPAs than for CMAs, and this discrepancy suggests selectivity. The Big 4 specifically requests the CMA for certain upper-level positions, so the CMA is the path to a top-notch spot in the Big 4. You can land one of these management positions by either earning the CMA as a Big 4 CPA or applying to the Big 4 with the CMA already in hand. No matter how you secure a CMA role in the Big 4, you’ll most likely love it. According to the IMA, 64% of CMAs say they’re satisfied with their jobs. Their favorite aspects include their relationships with coworkers, employee benefits, and salary. Clearly, CMAs have a great vocational setup that makes liking their jobs even easier. To experience this same kind of career contentment, earn the CMA.

  2. More Career Options

    If you ever plan to leave the Big 4, the CMA can be the ticket to your next dream job. Though the Big 4 are the largest firms in the world, stepping away from them is not uncommon. Statistically, accounting firms bringing in more than $75 million annually have a 17-20% turnover rate.

    For those looking to diversify their skill set in a new place, the CMA opens the door to the business world and equips you to excel there. With the business-savvy CMA, you can influence the finance side of the company while still functioning as an important management team member. The CMA can even take you up to the roles of CEO, CFO, VP of Finance, or Controller. The sky’s the limit with the CMA. Don’t let the lack of it hold you back.

The Best Value in CMA Review

The CMA certification can help you meet all these goals and more, and Gleim can help you earn the CMA. When you use the #1 CMA review course to pass the CMA exam, you’ll be well on your way to career success, as Hallie D’Agostino can testify. She used our course to pass the CMA exam and secure an auditing position at a top accounting firm. As the first and most widely-used exam prep, the Gleim CMA Review System has been empowering candidates to pass the CMA exam for over 35 years. With our comprehensive coverage and unparalleled support, you can join them. Start the process of earning the CMA today by accessing this free CMA exam guide.

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