Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a big accomplishment. It takes dedication, persistence, and countless hours of study to get certified. Working as a CPA is an equally big accomplishment. Regardless of what position you take on, handling other people’s finances is challenging.
Although challenges can push you hard, they’re also rewarding. One of the most rewarding challenges for people in finance is holding a dual certification as a CPA and CMA. If you’ve been considering getting your CMA license, here are 5 reasons to pursue the opportunity.
1. You’ll set yourself apart in the finance and accounting fields
Finance and accounting are competitive fields. Holding a dual certification as a CPA and CMA will give you a clear advantage over others.
The first advantage comes from the fact that corporations are starting to require their accountants to be CMAs. Traditionally, accountants have been financial experts who keep precise records and crunch numbers. Today, accounting positions have morphed into more of a decision-making position.
Unlike CPAs, CMAs are specifically trained to provide strategic financial advice. When an organization has the opportunity to select someone with a CPA license or a CPA and CMA license, they’ll usually choose the latter.
2. Your salary potential will increase
Having additional credentials in your field will naturally command a higher salary. According to the 2019 IMA Global Salary Survey, financial professionals with a dual certification earn 47% more than professionals without certification.
The average base salary for a CMA in the United States is $102,500. It’s hard to pinpoint the salary difference between those with one certification vs. multiple certifications, but there are several reasons dual certification holders earn more:
- They can be promoted to higher positions. Getting promoted to a higher position is easier when you’re already qualified. You might go into an organization only using your CPA skills, but over time, you may want to take on more responsibilities.
- They can perform extended job duties. An employer may hire you for a specific position and then realize you’re capable of performing tasks outside of that role. Maybe you don’t want a promotion because you like your current role in the company, but your boss might give you a raise and have you take on a small number of additional tasks.
3. You’ll become more valuable to your employer
While CPAs can generally be replaced by anyone with basic qualifications, good CMAs are harder to replace. As a CMA, you’ll always be a financial advisor in some capacity. The more experience you gain helping organizations make strategic decisions, the more valuable you become.
Employers count on CMAs to help them make decisions in the best interest of the company. When you get good in that respect, you’ll be highly valuable to your employer. As you become a valuable asset to the company, you’ll receive more recognition and will be granted more opportunities for promotions and raises.
4. If you passed one exam, you can pass the other
Whether you became a CPA or CMA first, if you’ve already passed one exam, you can pass the other. Both exams are difficult, but it’s not unheard of for people to pass both exams less than a year after graduation.
If you’re an undergraduate student and curious about how you can pass both exams quickly after graduation, read this article about dual certification published by SF Magazine. The article explains the educational requirements you’ll need to meet, along with what to expect from each exam. Finally, the article walks you through a detailed nine-step approach to preparing for and taking each exam.
5. You’ll be set to step into the role of CFO
You might be happy with basic accounting and finance roles, but what about the future? You might decide you want to become a CFO in the future, and you won’t qualify as a CPA. However, you will qualify as a CMA.
Get a dual certification for your future
The best time to get your second certification is when you’re already focusing on the first. There are also several overlaps between the two tests that make it easier to pass both around the same time.
Regardless of when you get your certifications, your future will hold more opportunities when you hold dual CPA and CMA certifications. The extra effort is a small investment for a bigger future.