A Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a globally-recognized designation that is jointly offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA.) It demonstrates that the certificate holder has achieved an advanced proficiency in management, operations, finance and strategy.

What does a Chartered Global Management Accountant do?

A CGMA is trained to understand how the different components of a business interlink and how to strategically make financial decisions that can benefit the most departments.

Tasks performed by a CGMA include:

  • Analyze financial statements to assist managers in business decisions
  • Budget planning
  • Analyzing financial documentation and reports to improve business performance
  • Problem solving
  • Maintaining financial policies and management information systems
  • Simplifying financial data to make it legible to stakeholders
  • Setting and reevaluating business goals

What can’t a Chartered Global Management Accountant do?

A CGMA cannot perform any public accounting tasks such as tax and auditing.

Why become a Chartered Global Management Accountant?

The CGMA certification demonstrates that the holder has furthered their studies in accounting and has acquired further management skills and knowledge.

Why shouldn’t I become a CGMA?

When the CGMA designation was first introduced, it only required a paid subscription fee for certification without any need for examination. As such, although it has since gained a standardized exam, it is still not considered to be as prestigious as a CPA license or a CMA certification, at least in the US. The AICPA and CIMA are currently developing an association to standardize its value, but the designation is not yet considered to be on the same level as other certifications. According to CIMA, the CGMA is ‘educationally equivalent to a master’s degree’. This suggests that while it might be a boost to a regular accounting degree, if you are looking for prestige or specialization, it might be better to pick a different certification.

How to become a Chartered Global Management Accountant

In order to qualify for CGMA certification, the candidate will need to Complete the CGMA Finance Leadership course offered through the AICPA, acquire a bachelor’s degree or other relevant qualification, complete the CGMA Finance Leadership Program and accrue 3 years of relevant experience.

Taking the CGMA exam

The CGMA exam is a 3-part exam that is available in over 5,000 test centers in around 178 countries. Each exam part takes about 3 hours to complete. They each comprise of case studies that test the candidate’s knowledge in the area in question. For instance, the Operational Level Case Study exam focuses on Short-term decision-making while testing the candidate’s knowledge of finance, accounting and reporting, while the Management Level Case Study Exam focuses on translating long-term decisions into medium-term plans and finally, the Strategic Level exam part focuses on long-term strategic decision making, and risk and finance strategy. Part of the skills tested include writing emails and compiling reports, among others.

In May 2022, the average pass rate was 65%. The exam parts have slightly different testing windows and score release dates:

  • Operational Level ($225.00): May 25-27, August 24-26 and November 23-25 (For 2022)
  • Management Level: May 18-20, August 17-19, and November 16-18 (2022)
  • Operational Level: May 11-13, August 10-12, and November 9-11 (2022)

A passing grade is to earn 80 out of the 150 points. More information can be found in the CGMA Handbook. You exam results are valid for as long as your membership to either the AICPA or CIMA CGMA programs are valid. You can extend your subscription as needed.

How long should you study for the CGMA exam?

It is recommended to dedicate about 4-6 six weeks of part-time study to each part the exam.

What are the fees for CGMA certification?

The course fees are offered on a three-tier subscription basis:

From CGMA website

There are special prices offered to licensed CPAs as well.

How much does a CGMA earn?

According to Indeed.com, CGMA’s earn an average salary of around $55,000 USD per year.

Do I need to renew my CGMA certificate?

Yes, you will need to renew your CGMA certificate and pay the membership fee annually. The $395.00 USD fee includes membership benefits such as learning and conferences, networking opportunities and discounts. Additionally, you will also need to meet the CPE requirements.