How Do You Become a Chartered Global Management Accountant?

Chartered Global Management Accountant
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As an aspiring accountant, you may already be considering the different credentials you might pursue during your career. There are plenty of designations accounting professionals can apply for once they have the education, skills and experience to qualify. One credential you might have heard of, particularly if you are exploring international accounting or management accounting, is the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. Experience, professional membership and a passing score on an exam can help you achieve this certification.

What Is the CGMA Designation?

The Chartered Global Management Accountant designation is a credential awarded to eligible management accountants. CGMA candidates may work in varied industries, from academia to business. Though some CGMAs work in CPA firms, the credential “is not a public accounting designation,” CGMA.org reported. Instead of rewarding competency in public accounting services, the CGMA recognizes accounting professionals who demonstrate their capability in skills used specifically in management accounting, like strategic insight.

Two major professional accounting organizations, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), joined together to create the CGMA designation. The CGMA credential is fairly new, launched in 2012, but already the AICPA and CIMA expect the designation to “quickly become part of the business vernacular” and open new career advancement opportunities to management accountants awarded the distinction.

The Path to CGMA Designation

To become a Chartered Global Management Accountant today, you will need to attain a qualifying combination of professional experience, association membership and passing exam scores. Traditionally, two pathways to CGMA status have been available, CGMA.org reported: the AICPA path and the CIMA path. Candidates would have to hold membership in one of these two organizations to apply. In October 2015, the AICPA voted to create a new pathway to CGMA designation that would allow accounting professionals in fields other than management accounting to apply for the credential, Accounting Today reported. To be eligible, these candidates would need to meet demanding experience and education requirements.

As of 2015, all applicants for the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation have to take the CGMA exam. This test is “a computerized case study examination” in which students put to work their management accounting skills and knowledge to solve problems, according to the AICPA.

In addition to qualifying based on experience and membership, Chartered Global Management Accountants may have to pay an annual designation fee. Currently, AICPA members are required to pay this fee, while CIMA members are not, Accounting Web reported.

Is a CGMA Designation Right for You?

Whether or not you should consider applying for the CGMA designation depends on what you want to accomplish with it. The designation doesn’t replace the CPA certification, state licenses or other credentials. In fact, CGMA.org warned that “it would not be permissible for individuals to create a ‘CGMA firm’ to offer public accounting services in the United States.” However, the CGMA designation can help you advance into high-level roles in business and management.