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CA vs CMA: Salary & Differences To Choose Better Career And path towards success


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The decision between CA and CMA ultimately depends on individual interests, skills, and professional goals. CA offers a more rigorous course with a focus on accounting and finance, providing global recognition and a wider range of employment prospects. On the other hand, CMA focuses on cost and management accounting, offering specific knowledge in cost management, budgeting, and decision-making. To make the right choice, students should assess their interests, talents, and career objectives.


CA vs CMA Difference – Key Takeaway


The main difference between CA (Chartered Accountant) and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) lies in their focus: CA emphasizes audit, taxation, and regulatory compliance, while CMA focuses on management accounting, strategic financial management, and decision-making support. Each qualification offers distinct career paths suited to different aspects of accounting and finance. This is the main CA vs CMA Difference.


Overview of the CA Course


Chartered Accountancy Course (CA) is a globally in-demand professional course.Chartered accountants work in all fields of business and finance, including auditing, taxation, financial and general management. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government bodies.


CA Full Form:

  • Chartered Accountancy


Fees:

  • The CA course’s prices vary according to the Institution and course level. The total CA course fees might range between 2 and 3 lakhs rupees on average.


CA Course Exam Conducting Body:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)


CA Course Exams:

  • Foundational Exam

  • Intermediate Exam

  • Articleship

  • Final Exam

        

 CA Course Admission Routes:

  • Foundation Course or Direct Entry 


 CA Course Eligibility Criteria:

  • Foundation Route: After Class 12

  • Direct Entry Route: Graduation


 CA Areas of Employment:

  • Audit, Taxation, Banking, Finance, Management etc.


 CA Job Profiles:

  • Accountants, Finance Managers, Accounting Managers, Business Analysts, Chartered Engineers, etc.


 CA Average Salary:

  • The estimated total pay for a Chartered Accountant is ₹11,50,000 per year, with an average salary of ₹10,00,000 per year.


  CA Top Recruiters:

  • KPMG

  • Deloitte

  • Ernst & Young (EY)

  • Lodha & Co.,

  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) etc.


The Steps To Become CA


 Foundation Course


Articleship


  •  Register for articleship (practical training) under a practicing Chartered Accountant for 3 years after passing the CA Foundation or Intermediate exams.


Intermediate Course


  • Clear the CA Intermediate exams conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) after 8 months of study.


Articleship Completion


  • Complete at least 2.5 years of articleship to qualify for the CA Final exams.


CA Final Course


  • Prepare for and pass both groups of the CA Final exams, which include theoretical and practical aspects of accounting and auditing.


General Management and Communication Skills (GMCS)


  • Complete GMCS training during articleship or after passing the CA Final.


Membership


  • Apply for membership with ICAI after fulfilling all requirements, including passing the exams and completing articleship, to become a qualified Chartered Accountant.


Overview of the CMA Course

The Institute of Cost Accountants, commonly known as ICMAI, offers a CMA course. Some people term the course with CMA full form, that is Cost and Management Accounting. Earlier, the CMA course was known as CWA. CWA full form was Cost and Works Accounting. The course administering body in India was the same back then; however, ICMAIwas formerly known as the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). If a student is interested in managing the accounts of numerous departments in a company, and integrating them to help streamline costs, then the ICWA course is just right for an individual. The CMA course duration is three years with or without formal training.


CMA Full Form:

  • Cost and Management Accounting.


Fees:

  • The fees are approximately Rs 1,00,000. 


CMA Course Exam Conducting Body:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).


CMA Course Exams:

  • Foundational Exam

  • Intermediate Exam

  • Final Exam


CMA Course Admission Routes:

  • Foundation Course or Direct Entry 


CMA Course Eligibility Criteria:

  • Foundation Route: After Class 12

  • Direct Entry Route: Graduation


CMA Areas of Employment:

  • FinancialAnalyst,Management Accountant,Senior Accountant,Cost Accountant,Financial Risk Manager,Corporate Controller,Chief Financial Officer (CFO).


CMA Job Profiles:

  • Management Accountant,Corporate Controller,Cost Accountant,Chief Financial Officer (CFO),Budget Analyst etc.


CMA Average Salary:

  • ₹ 3.6 Lakhs to ₹ 10.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.0 Lakhs.


CMA top recruiters:


  • Amazon,Accenture,Gail,Indian oil corporation,ICICI bank, vedanta, nestle, wipro etc.


The Steps To Become A CMA

  • Enroll in the CMA Program.

  • Study for and pass the CMA exam.

  • Meet education or professional certification requirements.

  • Meet work experience requirements.

  • Comply with IMA ethics standards.

  • Fulfill continuing education requirements.


Difference Between CA vs CMA – Detailed Comparison

Chartered Accountant, CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, Articleship, CA Final, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, audit, taxation, financial management, global recognition, public practice, private sector, government bodies, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, salary, career opportunities, public accounting, corporate sector, banking, financial services, consulting, government, academic , Certified Management Accountant, Cost and Management Accounting, CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, CMA Final, Institute of Cost Accountants of India, management accounting, cost management, strategic financial management, decision-making, financial planning, corporate finance, internal audit, compliance, cost control, budgeting, financial reporting, Amazon, Accenture, Gail, Indian Oil Corporation, ICICI Bank, Vedanta, Nestle, Wipro, salary, career opportunities, management accounting, financial planning and analysis, corporate finance, internal audit and compliance, cost management, financial reporting

Below is the detailed comparison of CA vs CMA


Areas

  • CA Programme

  • CMA Programme


Admission

  • A person needs to give entrance for a CA Foundation course after 10+2.

  • Or there is a direct entry route for graduates.

  • Students after successfully qualifying the 10+2 exam can enroll themselves in the CMA Foundation course. They don’t need to appear for any entrance exam.

  • Year of formation

  • Established in 1854 in Scotland


CA Course structure

The CA course structure has been divided into three levels:

  • CA Foundation

  • CA Intermediate

  • Articleship training

  • CA Final


 CMA course structure

The CMA course structure has been divided into three levels

  • CMA Foundation

  • CMA Intermediate

  • CMA Final


Duration

  • The complete duration of the CA course is 4.5 years including articles

ship training.

  • The complete duration of CMA course is a minimum of 3-4 years.


Salary

  • A Chartered Accountant just after passing out can receive an average salary of around 6-7 lakhs. Whereas, candidates who have passed CA exams in their first attempt can receive up to 10-12 lakhs.

  • Salary of Rank holders can go above 25 lakhs.

  • The average salary received by CMA is Rs. 5-7 lakhs which increases over time.

  • Careers prospects


Job options for CA

  • Statutory audit.

  • Advisor in direct or indirect taxation

  • Financial and accounting management

  • System audit

  • Handling the company's legal matters etc.


  Job options for CMA

  • Cost Accounting

  • Financial Analyst

  • Accounting Manager

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) etc


Demand in Market

  • Chartered Accountants can be hired by companies as well as individuals. There's a very high demand for CA’s in the market.

  • Only large scale companies need to appoint CMA’s. Hence, their demand is very limited.


CA vs CMA Salary in India


In India, Chartered Accountants (CAs) typically earn higher salaries than Certified Management Accountants (CMAs). Fresh CAs can expect starting salaries ranging from INR 6 to 8 lakhs per annum, with potential to rise to INR 20 to 50 lakhs or more for senior roles like CFO. In contrast, fresh CMAs usually start at INR 5 to 7 lakhs per annum, with mid-level roles earning between INR 7 to 12 lakhs and senior roles reaching up to INR 15 to 30 lakhs per annum. Industry, location, and company size significantly influence these salaries, with CAs generally having a broader range of higher-paying opportunities.


Career Opportunities After CA Course


After becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA), numerous career opportunities open up across various sectors and roles. Here are some prominent career paths


 Public Accounting

  • Roles: Auditor, Tax Consultant, Financial Advisor

  • Responsibilities: Providing audit and assurance services, tax planning and compliance, financial consulting.

  • Firms: Opportunities in top accounting firms like the Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG) and other mid-sized or boutique accounting firms.


Corporate Sector

  • Roles: Financial Analyst, Finance Manager, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

  • Responsibilities: Managing financial operations, strategic financial planning, budgeting, and financial reporting.

  • Industries: FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, Pharmaceuticals, Banking, and more.


Banking and Financial Services

  • Roles: Investment Banker, Risk Manager, Credit Analyst

  • Responsibilities: Analyzing financial risks, providing investment advice, managing corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.

  • Employers: Commercial banks, investment banks, financial advisory firms.


Consulting

  • Roles: Management Consultant, Business Analyst

  • Responsibilities: Providing strategic advice on business operations, financial restructuring, and performance improvement.

  • Firms: Consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and financial advisory divisions of the Big Four.


Government and Public Sector

  • Roles: Auditor in Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), roles in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)

  • Responsibilities: Auditing government accounts, financial oversight of public sector enterprises.

  • Opportunities: Jobs in various government departments and state-owned enterprises.


Academic and Research

  • Roles: Lecturer, Researcher

  • Responsibilities: Teaching accounting, finance, and related subjects, conducting research in financial management and accounting practices.

  • Institutions: Universities, business schools, professional training institutes.


Career Opportunities After CMA Course


After obtaining the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, individuals can pursue various career opportunities in management accounting, financial planning, and strategic decision-making. Here are some prominent career paths:


Management Accounting

  • Roles: Cost Accountant, Management Accountant

  • Responsibilities: Budgeting, cost management, internal financial reporting, and decision support.

  • Industries: Manufacturing, FMCG, healthcare, and more.


Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)

  • Roles: FP&A Analyst, FP&A Manager

  • Responsibilities: Financial planning, forecasting, variance analysis, and strategic planning.

  • Employers: Large corporations, MNCs, and financial services firms.


Corporate Finance

  • Roles: Financial Analyst, Finance Manager, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

  • Responsibilities: Financial strategy, investment analysis, capital budgeting, and managing corporate finance functions.

  • Industries: IT, telecommunications, retail, and other sectors.


Internal Audit and Compliance

  • Roles: Internal Auditor, Compliance Officer

  • Responsibilities: Conducting internal audits, ensuring compliance with internal controls and regulatory requirements.

  • Employers: Corporates, financial institutions, and public sector enterprises.


Cost Management

  • Roles: Cost Controller, Cost Analyst

  • Responsibilities: Analyzing and controlling costs, improving cost efficiency, and implementing cost-saving initiatives.

  • Industries: Manufacturing, construction, and other cost-intensive industries.


Financial Reporting

  • Roles: Financial Reporting Manager, Financial Accountant

  • Responsibilities: Preparing financial statements, ensuring compliance with accounting standards, and external reporting.

  • Employers: Public companies, MNCs, and large private firms.


Conclusion: 

Choosing between Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) largely depends on your career aspirations and interests. If you aim to specialize in auditing, taxation, and financial reporting, the CA qualification is the better choice. It offers a comprehensive understanding of various accounting principles, law, and regulations, making it suitable for roles in public accounting firms, corporate finance, and regulatory bodies. CAs are also authorized to sign and audit financial statements, giving them an edge in compliance and regulatory roles. However, the CA path is more rigorous and time-consuming, typically requiring 4-5 years to complete, including practical training and highly competitive exams.

On the other hand, if you are interested in management accounting, strategic planning, and decision support, the CMA qualification might be more appropriate. CMAs focus on internal business functions, financial planning, and performance management, making them ideal for roles such as financial analyst, controller, and FP&A manager. The CMA course can be completed in a shorter time frame (1-2 years) and offers greater flexibility, allowing candidates to work while studying. While CMAs may have slightly lower earning potential compared to CAs in some regions, their expertise in strategic financial management makes them valuable assets in various industries worldwide. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your career goals and the specific areas of finance and accounting you wish to pursue.


 FAQs on CA vs CMA


Can we do CA and CMA articleship together simultaneously?

No, CA and CMA articleship cannot be done simultaneously as they require full-time commitment and different sets of practical training under respective professional bodies (ICAI for CA and IMA for CMA).

What are the benefits of doing CA along with CMA?

Which offers more pay, CA or CMA?

Which course has more opportunities CA or CMA?


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