Worldwide, Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) make $72,430 annually on average. The average CMA base salary in the Americas is $105,000. This is about $30,000 higher than the average salary for an accountant, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The CMA certification is more valuable than ever, and the sooner you decide to get it, the sooner you can begin earning more. Let’s look at what exactly makes it a desirable designation.
Certified Management Accountants specialize in managerial accounting. They provide the “why” behind the numbers, manage project proposals, and advise on the potential for future profits.
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Becoming a CMA advances your career by opening up new, upper-level positions. After all, making cost-minded decisions is a valuable asset in any industry.
Each year, Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) conducts a global salary survey to discover trends in compensation and other useful information for members. IMA is the largest management accounting association in the world, and its certification branch, the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA), is responsible for the development, administration, and grading of the CMA exam.
We’ve combed through the 2021 survey results and compiled the most important data for you to know.
The 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey collected data from over 3,000 IMA members in 79 different countries. This year, 29.5% of the responses come from China, 39.2% from the United States, 3.6% from the United Arab Emirates, and the remaining 27.7% were split among the remaining countries.
The figure below represents the median income for countries with at least 1% of survey responses.
This year, over 62% of respondents hold the CMA certification, which is a promising increase from last year’s 53%. Of those who were not certified, over 80% said they intend to pursue the CMA in the future. Across the survey, IMA saw little, if any, difference in impact on compensation between males and females (an improvement from last year), management levels, company sizes, or education levels.
Based on the responses to the survey, IMA saw that, among the different levels of management, CMAs often earned more than their non-certified peers. CMAs in lower management earn 90% more in median base salary compared to non-CMAs at the same level. Those in senior management had the smallest difference between the median base salary of CMAs vs. non-CMAs (CMAs earn 13% more compared to non-CMAs).
Those in top management who hold the CMA earn 64% more in median base salary compared to non-CMAs at the same level. In addition, those holding the CMA are more likely to hold specific job titles compared to non-CMAs. A higher percentage of CMAs are directors (73%), CFOs (72%), and finance managers (66%).
This reporting shows that CMAs are valued for their expertise at every level. Nearly 80% of respondents agree that achieving the CMA provides them with career opportunities.
Over the course of their careers, people holding only a CMA certification earn approximately 59% higher than the median income, while those holding only a CPA certification earn 106% higher than the median income, and those holding both certifications earn 149% higher than the median income.
To learn more about combining a CMA and CPA certification, visit our accounting certifications resource page.
Graph from IMA
Although the COVID-19 global pandemic had a serious impact on the global economy, many respondents indicated their compensation wasn’t negatively impacted. Overall, 64% of respondents said there was either an increase or no change in their compensation during the pandemic. The remaining 36% said they had their salary decreased, received a lower bonus or none at all, or were placed on unpaid leave (furloughed).
Candidates in Middle East, Africa, and India were impacted the most (54%), while respondents in Europe and the Americas had the least impact (33% and 30%, respectively). Those with a CMA certification were less likely to experience a salary cut than non-CMAs (35% vs. 38%).
Comparing the impact of COVID-19 on CMAs vs. non-CMAs for the 107 unemployed respondents, CMAs were less likely to say their job had been impacted by COVID-19 than non-CMAs (21% vs. 33%), less likely to be working on improving their skill sets (26% vs. 44%), and less likely to be making a career change due to COVID-19 (9% vs. 21%).
These results suggest CMAs are more confident in their skill set and are valued at their organizations. For CMAs in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, Africa, and India regions, high numbers of respondents agreed that the certification gave them more confidence to perform their job at a high level (87%, 86%, and 90%, respectively). Respondents from Asia and the Pacific agreed most often the CMA certification strengthens their ability to move across all areas of the business (88%).
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Becoming a CMA not only offers great salary benefits, it also improves other aspects of your life and career. Do not underestimate the importance of these factors—your career is about more than how much you make.
The smartest route to earning your CMA, of course, is to use the best CMA review! Gleim CMA has been helping candidates pass for nearly 40 years, and our course has trained more CMAs than any other. When you get Gleim, you get everything you need to pass on the first try with confidence. Before you begin, though, you’ll want to know everything about the CMA exam, and you can find it all in our comprehensive (and free!) CMA Exam Guide.