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CA vs CMA: Salary & Differences To Choose Better Career

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In a dilemma between CA vs CMA as career options choices? Then you are not alone. Most commerce students face this question. This post will address all your questions and help you make an informed decision. So let’s start.

Choosing the appropriate professional path is essential for every student since it impacts their future. Students in the 12th commerce have a variety of job alternatives to pick from, making career selection particularly important. Furthermore, the most popular options they have are Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Cost and Management Accountancy (CMA).  

Yet, these courses’ increased popularity and complexity have made it harder for students to select the appropriate one. Hence, this post will provide important information about CA and CMA, including their income prospects and differences, and more. So, let’s explore the major differences between CA vs CMA.

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Difference Between CA vs CMA – Key Takeaway

The major difference between CA and CMA is the curriculum. The CA course emphasises accounting, law, auditing, taxation, and finance whereas the CMA course focuses on cost management, cost accounting, economics, internal controls, corporate finance, etc.

CA is regarded as more difficult but has a higher earning potential, but CMA is an industry-focused career that calls for time and expertise to get high-paying positions.

Overview of the CA Course

Chartered Accountancy Course (CA) is a globally in-demand professional course. It is a demanding and rewarding profession with many job prospects in finance, accounting, taxation, auditing, etc. Chartered Accountants can work for the big four accounting firms or start their own practice and firm for higher growth. 

Let’s check a few of the other details of the CA Course:

  1. Demand: Chartered accountants are constantly in great demand, and their profession is well regarded. Moreover, CAs are important for businesses of all sizes, particularly startups to multinational corporations.
  2. Work: As a Chartered Accountant, you will be in charge of financial reporting, tax planning, corporate finance, audit and assurance, risk management, and other financial services for companies, individuals, and other institutions.
  3. Syllabus: CA course has three levels: CA FoundationCA Intermediate, and CA Final. Moreover, the curriculum includes Accounting, Law, Taxation, Auditing, Financial Management, etc.
  4. Duration: Usually, the duration of the CA course is approximately 4.5 years to 5 years. Yet, this can exceed depending on how long the student takes to clear all three levels. 
  5. 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.
  6. Pass Percentage: The CA course has a relatively low pass rate, with about 10% to 12% of applicants passing both CA Final groups on a single attempt. 
  7. Qualifications: To become a CA, individuals must have finished a 10+2 program or its equivalent with a minimum of 50 per cent. Before taking the CA Final exam, applicants must pass the CA Foundation Exam, enrol and clear the CA Intermediate level, and complete three years of practical training. 

The Steps To Become CA

Below is a short overview of how to become a CA:

  • Complete 10+2 education with a minimum of 50% marks.
  • Register and clear the CA Foundation Exam.
  • Register and clear CA Intermediate.
  • Finish CA practical training for three years
  • Appear and clear CA Final for both the groups
  • Complete the course and obtain the CA certification and membership

Being a Chartered Accountant demands commitment, effort, and a love for money and accounting. Yet, it is a highly lucrative profession with strong employment prospects in India and abroad.

Overview of the CMA Course

Now let’s look at the CMA course when comparing CMA vs. CA. The CMA course called the Cost and Management Accountancy course, is a professional certification for those interested in management accounting and cost accounting careers. CMA is accountable for administrating, allocating, and managing finances inside a business or organization. Moreover, the Cost Management Accounting course is centred on four pillars of knowledge: management, strategy, regulatory framework, and financial reporting. 

A few other details about the CMA course are as follows:

  1. Demand: The CMA degree is in great demand due to its global recognition and lucrative accounting and financial employment opportunities. Moreover, those seeking careers in manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector can take this course. 
  2. Work: CMAs typically work in financial planning, analysis, and decision-making. Further, they are responsible for cost management, budgeting, and financial analysis.
  3. Syllabus: The CMA course has three levels: CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final. The syllabus includes subjects like Cost Accounting, Law, Taxation, Auditing, Financial Management, and more.
  4. Duration: The duration to become a CMA is three years. Yet, it depends on the student’s pace and how long they take to clear the levels.
  5. Fees: The fees are approximately Rs 1,00,000. 
  6. Pass Percentage: The CMA Final pass percentage is approximately 10% for both groups.
  7. Qualification: To become a CMA, individuals must have finished a 10+2 program or its equivalent with a minimum of 50 per cent. Before taking the CMA Final exam, applicants must pass the CMA Foundation Exam, enrol, and clear the CMA Intermediate level. 

The Steps To Become A CMA:

  • Enrol for the CMA Foundation course and clear the examination.
  • Enrol for the CMA Intermediate course and clear the examination.
  • Complete the required practical training.
  • Enrol for the CMA Final course and clear the examination.
  • Obtain membership of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI).

Difference Between CA vs CMA – Detailed Comparison

Below is the detailed comparison of CA vs CMA in a tabular form:

Admission10+2 with 50% marks in commerce stream or graduate from any stream10+2 with 50% marks in any stream or graduate from any stream
Course StructureCA course is divided into three levels: CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA FinalThe CMA course is divided into three levels: CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final
Duration4.5 years to 5 years3 years
FeesApprox. INR 2,00,000 to INR 3,50,000Approx. INR 1,00,000
Pass percentageApprox. 5-10% at each levelApprox. 15-20% at each level
CA vs CMA SalaryRs. 10-12 lakh per annumRs. 7-8 lakh per annum
Job OptionsAuditing, taxation, accounting, finance, consultancy, etc.Financial analysis, cost accounting, budgeting, planning, etc.
Scope/DemandHigh demand for CA professionals in big four firms, MNCs, the public sector, etc.High demand for CMA professionals in manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector.

Both courses have unique advantages; students can choose based on their career goals and interests.

CA vs CMA Salary in India

The standard initial salary of a Chartered Accountant in India is 6-7 lakhs, which increases with knowledge and experience. Further, students who pass on their first attempt are often offered between 10 and 12 lakhs, while rank holders might receive up to 25 lakhs. On the other hand, the standard initial salary of a CMA in India is between 7 and 8 lakhs, which increases with knowledge and experience. 

Career Opportunities After CA Course

Chartered Accountancy (CA) is a very prestigious and competitive profession in India. After finishing the CA course, the career opportunities are vast across various sectors and industries. Here are some:

1. Audit & Assurance

Audit & Assurance is among the most popular job profiles for Chartered Accountants. CAs can work as auditors in MNCs, government agencies, accounting companies, and non-profit organizations. Moreover, they are in charge of reviewing and assessing financial statements, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, and making recommendations to financial systems and procedures.

2. Taxation

Taxation is another common job option for CPAs. They may work as tax consultants or managers for accounting companies, businesses, or government agencies. So they advise clients on tax compliance and planning, prepare tax returns, and represent clients in tax audits.

3. Finance and Accounting

CAs can also work in finance and accounting positions, such as financial analyst, financial controller, and chief financial officer (CFO). Also, they are accountable for managing financial operations, formulating financial plans, and advising management on financial matters.

4. Risk Management

Chartered Accountants can also serve as risk managers or internal auditors. Further, they are responsible for detecting and evaluating risks, establishing risk management strategies, and assuring legal and regulatory compliance.

5. Investment Banking

CAs can also serve as investment bankers or corporate finance analysts. Moreover, they are responsible for advising customers on financial matters, handling mergers and acquisitions, and raising business financing.

6. Chief Financial Officer

The chief financial officer is the officer of a company or organization who is primarily responsible for managing the firm’s finances, covering financial planning, risk assessment, record-keeping, and financial reporting.

Career Opportunities After CMA Course

A few of the job profiles available to students with CMA certification are as follows:

1. Cost Accountant 

As a cost accountant, you will be accountable for assessing and managing the expenses of a company. You will also be responsible for creating cost accounting systems, compiling cost reports, and evaluating financial information to identify ways to reduce expenses.

2. Financial Analyst

As a financial analyst, you will evaluate financial data to make investment decisions, formulate financial forecasts, and evaluate financial performance. Further, you will collaborate closely with management to advise and provide financial strategy recommendations.

3. Management Accountant 

The Management Accountant will be accountable for providing financial information that helps in decision-making, setting budgets, and reviewing financial performance. You will advise management on financial strategies and assist them in achieving their objectives.

4. Financial Manager

Being a financial manager, you will handle an organization’s financial operations, create financial strategies, and advise management on financial matters. You will oversee the organization’s financial reporting and analysis activities and ensure compliance with applicable rules and best practices.

5. Chief Accountants

Chief accountants are often responsible for their company’s financial transactions. Government institutions, hospital billing departments, banks, and retail companies frequently hire them.

6. Internal Auditor

An Internal Auditor is responsible for assessing and enhancing the efficacy of an organization’s internal controls, risk management, and governance systems. They examine the financial and operational activities of the company to guarantee adherence to relevant rules and regulations.

CA vs CMA: Which is Better?

The decision between CA and CMA relies on the individual’s interests, skills, and professional goals. These courses provide diverse career options in accounting, finance, and business, each with various advantages.

The CA is a more rigorous and difficult course emphasizing on accounting and finance. Further, it provides worldwide recognition, earning potential, and a wider variety of employment prospects, including auditing, taxes, financial management, and consulting.

CMA focuses primarily on cost and management accounting and provides specific knowledge and abilities in cost management, budgeting, and decision-making. Students who want to concentrate on cost and management accounting can choose the CMA course. 

Students should assess their interests, talents, and professional goals when deciding between CA and CMA. Exploring both courses’ curricula, job prospects, and required abilities is vital to choose which course better corresponds with their objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions on CA vs CMA

Ques 1. Which profession has a better salary among CA, CMA and CS? 

Ans: A CA fresher earns a starting salary of 6-7 lakhs INR per month whereas CMA and CS fresher earns between 4-5 lakhs INR. There is only a difference in the pay but all three are good career opportunities.

Ques 2. Which course is more difficult CA and CMA?

Ans: CA is generally considered to be more difficult than CMA due to its rigorous and extensive course structure and lower pass percentage.

Ques 3. Can I do both CA and CMA courses?

Yes. After finishing their 10+2 examinations, students can select both CA and CMA courses. However, you must be able to put equal effort into both courses. 

Ques 4. What is the passing percentage for CA and CMA exams?

The aggregate pass rate for the CA November 2022 exam was 11.09%, with 21.39% of Group 1 and 18.61% of Group 2 passing. For the CMA exams, in June 2022, 9.83% of students cleared both groups.

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