What is the average salary for a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?
The average CMA salary globally is $72,430. In the U.S., the average CMA salary is $105,000. This is roughly $30,000 higher than the average salary for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) based on averages from the U.S. Department of Labor. CMA salaries are representative of the value that CMAs bring and the exciting opportunities they can explore. Read our in-depth CMA salary information or jump to the benefits of becoming a CMA.
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.
The 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey collected data from over 3,000 IMA members in 79 different countries. In 2021, 29.5% of the responses came from China, 39.2% from the U.S., 3.6% from the United Arab Emirates, and the remaining 27.7% were split among the remaining countries.
The figure below represents the median 2020 CMA salary for countries with at least 1% of survey responses. This is the simplest and most recent CMA salary breakdown you’ll find.
Across all management levels, CMAs earn more than their peers, especially in senior management positions, where they make as much as 58% more in total compensation.
Becoming a CMA not only offers great salary benefits, but also improves other aspects of your life and career. Don’t underestimate the importance of these factors. There’s more to your career than simply what you make.
More than 75% of CMAs agreed that the certification provides career opportunities. A plant controller in the U.S. responding to IMA’s survey said, “I would not have my current job without my CMA and would certainly not have the salary that I currently have. My CMA has increased my salary significantly and opened up a lot of doors.”
As in the past, career advancement was cited as the number one reason why respondents pursue the CMA. From IMA’s survey responses, a corporate controller in Oman said, “Within a year of attaining the CMA certification, I have been promoted to a role significantly higher than the one I was performing previously. Part of the reasoning behind management’s decision was my CMA certification.”
Raises and job growth
As of 2020, most CMAs (57%) report receiving a raise within the last year. This is highest in the Americas (67%) and lowest in the MEAI region (48%). The median raise for Asia, Europe, and MEAI was 10% of total compensation, and the median raise was 4.4% of total compensation for the Americas.
CMAs consistently rate their overall job satisfaction highly. On average, nearly 80% of CMA candidates report loving their jobs. In addition, most CMA candidates believe their jobs have a significant impact on the decisions and direction of their respective organizations.
Approximately 90% of CMAs felt certification gave them more confidence to perform their job at a high level, and more than 90% would recommend CMA certification to a friend. Visit our CMA Requirements resource page for more information on all of the CMA requirements and how you can meet them.
Most CMAs agreed that the CMA designation boosts their ability to move up not only within their organization, but also within their industry and across industries. A respondent in Turkey said, “The CMA certification improved my soft skills, IFRS [International Financial Reporting Standards], strategic management, and many other skills, therefore increasing my competence and confidence. My company’s view of my skills is also very much improved. This year, I am listed in the vertical potential pool, which means I will get a promotion in two years.”
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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.
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.
In the 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey, over 62% of respondents held the CMA certification, which is a promising increase from 53% the previous year. 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 genders (an improvement from the previous 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.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on the global economy, many IMA 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 the 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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