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How to become a CMA in India

by Swati, on 25 Apr, 2019 6:00:00 PM

Aspiring to become a CMA?

Be the very best.

Let us show you how:

How to become an Outstanding CMA in India

What's on this page:

Introduction

Why become a CMA?

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India

Bird's eye view of the CMA Course

Fee Structure of the CMA Course

About the Examinations

The CMA Foundation Exam

The CMA Intermediate Exam

The CMA Final Exam

Training during the CMA Course

Becoming a Member of the ICMAI

FAQs about the CMA Course

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Introduction

A CMA or a Cost and Management Accountant is responsible for the allocation, management and regulation of funds in a business; any business. A Cost and Management Accountant is someone who performs these duties. A job as a CMA is a rewarding and a highly paid as well as respectable one. There are a number of reasons why you should pursue a career in CMA, but the most important reason is that you should really want to; otherwise you won’t be able to work towards it or enjoy it. So, if you’re serious and dedicated towards your goal, let’s look at these reasons in detail.

Why become a CMA?

Do you have a knack for accounting and finance, and an ever-growing love for business and numbers? Then, perhaps, CMA is the way to go for you. 

Also, there is no shortage of jobs or career options for the CMA professional, and neither is there a lack of industries. Nearly every industry needs a CMA. Cost Accountants are always in high demand in the Public and Private sectors, Banking and Finance, Developmental Agencies, Education and Research, you name it! Some common job titles for CMA professionals include:

  • Finance Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Controller
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Certified Management Accountant
  • Finance Director
  • Senior Financial Analyst
  • Chairman
  • Managing Director
  • Chief Executive Officer

These are only a few among the many job avenues you can seek employment in, as far as the private sector goes. In the government sector, you can be working in the all-India cadre - ICoAS which is the Indian Cost Accounts service and is as prestigious as the civil service posts of IAS, IPS and IFS. And if that’s not your cup of tea, you can always teach CMA by gaining the necessary academic qualifications.

Are you a CMA exploring avenues to teach? Why don't you try teaching online with LearnCab? You can contact us to explore options:

Contact Us!

The first step to pursue a fruitful career in these domains above is to register for the CMA course at the Institute of Cost Accountants of India or ICMAI, for short. 

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India

What is the ICMAI?

what is icmai

If you aim to become a CMA,  you will need to become a member of the ICMAI, the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India was previously known as The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). The ICMAI was first established in 1944. The end of the Second World War saw the start of a new Industrial Revolution to resurrect everything that it had taken away. Colonization was on its way out and new governments were being formed and the need for cost accounting was growing rapidly.

And so, in 1959, the Institute was reestablished under the Cost and Works Accountants Act. This act declared the institute, a statutory professional body (the only licensing body in India operating exclusively in this field) for the regulation of the profession of Cost and Management Accountancy. Since then, ICMAI has been responsible greatly for the changing and improving industrial and economic landscape of India.

What are its Objectives?
  • Making Cost and Management Accountancy a helpful tool in all economic activities
  • Implementing scientific methods in Cost and Management Accountancy
  • Staying up-to-date with all the changing trends in the field, and Economics as a whole
  • Operating ethically and condemning unethical practices in the profession
  • To hold conferences on new and interesting professional subjects that might add value to the existing Cost and Accounting subjects

That concludes this admittedly very brief overview of the Institute. Now, let us get a big picture overview of the CMA Course.

Bird's Eye View of the CMA Course

The CMA Course has two components: practical training and a theoretical (examination) component. The theoretical component involves passing the following three exams:

In addition, aspirants will need to undergo the following training during the course:

  • 3 days “Communication and Soft Skills” for Intermediate students
  • Compulsory Computer Training for Intermediate students for 100 hours
  • 7 days “Industry Oriented Training Programme” after enrolling for Final course.
  • 15 days Modular Training after passing Final course and before campus placement
  • Practical training

Now, there are two routes to enter the course: through CMA Foundation or Direct Entry if you fulfill certain requirements. The chart below gives you a comprehensive overview of the entire CMA course. Bear in mind that you can qualify for exemptions each step of the way! We'll go into that later.

CMA Course Bird's eye view

We will talk about what these training requirements are all about later in detail.

Now, let us look at the fee structure for the CMA course

Fee Structure for the CMA Course

The total fees for the CMA Course are quite reasonable as shown in the table below. 

Fee Structure for the CMA Course
Particulars Total Fee (Indian Citizens; in INR) Total Fee (International Students; in US Dollars)
CMA Foundation 4000 250
CMA Intermediate 20000 1100
CMA Final 17000 800
Modular Training after passing the CMA Final exam 4000  
Denovo fee 2000 40

Revalidation fee - Intermediate per group/Final

800/1000 40/50
Computer Training Exemption Fee 3000 600
Subject exemption fee per paper 1000 100

Don't worry if some of the terms may be unfamiliar to you; we will clarify them later in the post.

We also want to make a brief note about coaching available. When signing up for any level of the CMA course, you'll have to indicate whether you are going to be opting for oral or postal coaching. If you choose oral coaching, you will be given 

Now let's go into the exams themselves in detail.

About the Examinations

The CMA exams are held twice a year, once in June and once in December. Registration to the course is open throughout the year; however if you want to appear for the June examination, the last date to register (for any of the three levels) is 31st January for the June attempt, and 31st July for the December attempt.

ICMAI offers potential students the entire package from beginning to end to kick-start a career in CMA. As mentioned, the three levels of the course are CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate and CMA Final.

We will look at each one in detail, and walk you through the registration and admission process, as well as a brief overview of the syllabus.

The CMA Foundation Exam

what's inside the cma foundation

CMA Foundation Exam: Registration and Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to appear for the CMA Foundation exam, you should:

  • Have passed your 10th standard exam (or its equivalent recognized by the Board of Education).
  • Have cleared your 10+2 exam (or its equivalent from a recognized Board of Education by the Central Government).

You can apply for the exam in two ways. By registering:

Offline Registration for CMA Foundation

If you wish to register offline, you can purchase a prospectus priced at Rs 250, with the application form enclosed along with the course fee of Rs. 4000.

With your form, you must make sure you have attested* copies of your:

  1. Matriculation Certificate
  2. 10+2 Mark sheet
  3. Degree

You will also need 3 passport-size photographs.

*Attestations are valid only if they are made by a member of The Institute of Cost Accountants of India /The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India/ The Institute of Company Secretaries of India / Parliament/State Legislative Assembly, a Gazetted Officer or Principal of a recognized college.

You can send your form along with the mandatory documents to your respective Regional Councils/Chapters.  You can find your closest Council in the following table:

 Regional Councils (Name & Address)

Area Covered Country-wide

Western India Regional Council: Rohit Chambers, 4th Floor, Janmabhoomi Marg, Fort Mumbai - 400 001.

Ph: 022-22872010 / 22841138 / 22043406 / 22043416; Fax: 91- 022- 22870763; Email: wirc@icmai.in; Website: www.icwai-wirc.org

The states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa and the Union Territories: Daman Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Southern India Regional Council: 4, Montieth Lane, Egmore, Chennai - 600 008.

Ph: 044-28554443 / 28554326/28528219; Fax : 91- 044- 28554651; Website: www.sircoficwai.com; Email: sirc@icmai.in

The states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and the Union Territory: The Lakshadweep

Eastern India Regional Council: 84, Harish Mukherjee Road, Kolkata - 700 025.

Ph: 033 -24553418 /24555957; Fax: 91 033-2455-7920;  Email: eirc@icmai.in

The states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim, the Union Territories: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and foreign countries

Northern India Regional Council: 3, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110 003

Ph: 011 – 24626678; 24615788; Fax: 24622156; Email: nirc@icmai.in

The States of Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and the Union Territory: Chandigarh

 
Online Registration for CMA Foundation

In order to register online, you will require soft copies of the following:

  1. Passport-size photo (colour) in JPG/JPEG format
  2. Age Proof Certificate (PDF format) with size not exceeding 300 KB
  3. Copy of your signature in JPG/JPEG format
  4. Your degrees and certificates with file size of each not exceeding 300 KB

You need to upload all the documents and pay a CMA Foundation Registration fee online through Debit/Credit card, Internet Banking/Pay Fee Module of IDBI.

After this transaction is successful, you will receive a ‘welcome’ message.  All your information will be sent to the Directorate of Studies for verification of your documents. Once this is done, your Registration is almost complete. On verification of your documents, you will be able to download your Admit Card and Registration Letter. Once your registration is complete, your study material will be dispatched.

Now, note that once you register, your registration period will be valid for up to 3 years from the time of registration. Also, if you want more details about the registration process, we invite you to read our blog post on how to register and appear for the CMA Foundation exam.

Papers of the CMA Foundation Exam

The Syllabus of the CMA Foundation Course consists of 4 papers

  • Paper 1: Fundamentals of Economics and Management
  • Paper 2: Fundamentals of Accounting
  • Paper 3: Fundamentals of Laws and Ethics
  • Paper 4: Fundamentals of Business Mathematics & Statistics

Each paper is of three hours' duration and the exams are conducted offline. They are descriptive papers in nature. Now, let's look at the passing requirements. If you want to know more about the nature of the exam, paper and topic-wise weightage, we invite you to read our blog post on "What's in the CMA Foundation Exam?"

CMA Foundation Exam Passing Requirements

You can appear for the CMA Foundation Exam as many times as you want. But you’ll have to appear for all papers at the same time.

You’ll need to fulfill the following two conditions:

  1. Obtain at least 40% in all papers; and
  2. At least 50% in total

That is, at least 40 in each paper, and a total of 200 when you add up all your marks obtained!

You can get paper-wise exemptions in case you are unable to clear the exam. If you secure 60% or more in any paper or papers, you shall be exempted in that paper(s) from appearing in the immediately successive three terms of examination. After that, your exemption becomes invalid and you'll have to appear for that paper again.

Additionally, you can get qualification-based paper-wise exemptions if you fall among the following categories of students:

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The CMA Intermediate Exam

what's inside cma intermediate-1

CMA Intermediate Exam: Registration and Eligibility Requirements

You’ve read about the first step to achieve your dream of becoming an outstanding CMA professional. It’s now time to read about level 2 – the Intermediate exam. So, let’s check your eligibility. You are eligible if you’ve:

  1. Passed your Senior Secondary School Examination (10+2) from a government-recognized Board of Education AND
  2. Passed the Foundation Course of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI) OR
  3. Graduated in any discipline other than Fine Arts from a recognized board of education OR
  4. Passed the Foundation (Entry Level) Part I Examination of CAT of the Institute/Foundation (Entry Level) Part I Examination and Competency Level Part II Examination of CAT of the Institute OR
  5. Passed Foundation of ICSI / Intermediate of ICAI

The registration procedure remains the same for the Intermediate Course as well. However, there are additional documents that you might require, depending on which enrolment category you fall under:

PROVISIONAL (For candidates who are yet to complete Graduation/Equivalent) – The minimum documents required for this are:

  • Passport Photo
  • Signature Copy
  • Age Proof
  • 10th Pass Mark sheet
  • 12th Pass Mark sheet
  • Graduation (1st & 2nd year / 1st to 5th semester) Mark sheet
  • Graduation (3rd year / 6th semester) Admit Card

REGULAR (For candidates who have Graduated/Equivalent) – 

  • Passport Photo
  • Signature Copy
  • Age Proof
  • 10th Pass Mark sheet.
  • 12th Pass Mark sheet.
  • Graduation (1st to 3rd year / 1st to 6th semester) Mark sheets

 Any ONE of the following qualified Mark sheets
        i) CAT-CMA
        ii) CMA Foundation
        iii) CS Foundation
        iv) IPCC-CA Inter

REGULAR (For Engineering Graduates) - This includes those candidates who have completed 2nd year/ IV semester / Equivalent or Graduate Engineers (qualified Engineering Final Examination):

  • Passport Photo
  • Specimen Signature
  • Age Proof
  • 10th Pass Mark sheet
  • 12th Pass Mark sheet
  • 2nd year or 4th semester Mark Sheet or equivalent Mark Sheet (for Engineering students) or Engineering Completion Certificate

With these documents in place, you should sign up and register for the CMA Intermediate exam. Also, just as in the case of the CMA Foundation exam, you'll need to sign up for either oral or postal coaching from ICMAI. Note that your registration remains valid for up to 7 years from the date of registration. If you fail to complete the CMA Intermediate course during this period, you can apply for renewal of registration also known as De Novo registration. You can find the application form on the ICMAI student website under online value added services as shown below:

CMA Course Online Value Added Services

For more details on registration, eligibility requirements, make sure to check out our blog post on how to register and appear for the CMA Intermediate exam.

Papers of the CMA Intermediate Exam

The CMA Intermediate Exam consists of 2 groups of 4 papers each. Each paper is worth 100 marks and is of 3 hours duration. It is a pen and paper exam. You can choose to appear for one or both groups. But when registering, you will have to register for both groups. The papers are numbered from 5 to 12 as a continuation of the numbering scheme from CMA Foundation where the papers are numbered from 1 to 4. The groups of papers are as follows:

Group – 1

Paper 5: Financial Accounting

Paper 6: Laws & Ethics

Paper 7: Direct Taxation

Paper 8: Cost Accounting

Group – 2

Paper 9: Operations Management & Strategic Management

Paper 10: Cost & Management Accounting and Financial Management

Paper 11: Indirect Taxation

Paper 12: Company Accounts & Audit

CMA Intermediate Exam Passing Requirements

To understand the passing requirements, you should be aware that you can choose to appear for one or both groups of papers.

If you appear for a single group, the passing requirements are as follows:

  1. you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of the group and
  2. you obtain a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of the group taken together.

If you choose to appear for both groups, the passing requirements are:

  1. you meet the minimum requirements to clear a group individually or
  2. you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of both the groups, and a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of both groups taken together.

It is a fairly common question for students as to which option they should choose. In our opinion, it is best to appear for both groups if you have studied well. This is because, as you can see above, the passing requirements are less stringent.

Paper-wise exemptions

In addition to this, you can get paper-wise exemptions in case you are unable to clear one or more groups of the exam. If you secure 60% or more in any paper or papers, you shall be exempted in that paper(s) from appearing in the immediately successive three terms of examination. Also, qualification based exemptions are available and outlined on the ICMAI website

If you want more details about these papers, passing requirements, exemptions, etc., check out our post on "What's in the CMA Intermediate Exam?"

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The CMA Final Exam

CmA-final-exam

The last step to become a successful CMA, as far as academics go is the CMA Final Course and in order to be eligible:

The documents you require for your registration are:

  • Passport Photo
  • Your Signature Specimen
  • Age Proof (Aadhaar card, Birth Certificate, Voter ID)
  • 10th Pass Mark sheet
  • 12th Pass Mark sheet
  • CMA Intermediate Pass (both Group-I & Group-II) Mark sheet/Certificate

The registration process is exactly the same as in the case for the CMA Intermediate exam. We won't go into much detail here. But if you are interested, you can read our post on "How to register and appear for the CMA Final Exam."

Papers of the CMA Final Exam

The CMA Final Exam consists of 2 groups of 4 papers each. Each paper is worth 100 marks and is of 3 hours duration. It is a pen and paper exam. You can choose to appear for one or both groups. But when registering, you will have to register for both groups. The papers are numbered from 13 to 20 as a continuation of the numbering scheme from CMA Intermediate where the papers are numbered from 5 to 12. The groups of papers are numbered 3 and 4 for much the same reason:

Group 3 -

  • Paper 13: Corporate Laws and Compliance
  • Paper 14: Advanced Financial Management
  • Paper 15: Strategic Cost Management – Decision Making
  • Paper 16: Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation

Group 4 -

  • Paper 17: Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Paper 18: Indirect Tax Laws and Practice
  • Paper 19: Cost and Management Audit
  • Paper 20: Strategic Performance Management and Business Valuation
CMA Final Exam Passing Requirements

To understand the passing requirements, you should be aware that you can choose to appear for one or both groups of papers.

If you appear for a single group, the passing requirements are as follows:

  1. you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of the group and
  2. you obtain a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of the group taken together.

If you choose to appear for both groups, the passing requirements are:

  1. you meet the minimum requirements to clear a group individually or
  2. you obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of both the groups, and a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of both groups taken together.

It is a fairly common question for students as to which option they should choose. In our opinion, it is best to appear for both groups if you have studied well. This is because, as you can see above, the passing requirements are less stringent.

Paper-wise exemptions

In addition to this, you can get paper-wise exemptions in case you are unable to clear one or more groups of the exam. If you secure 60% or more in any paper or papers, you shall be exempted in that paper(s) from appearing in the immediately successive three terms of examination. Also, qualification based exemptions are available and outlined on the CMA website

If you want more details about these papers, passing requirements, exemptions, etc., check out our post on "What's in the CMA Final Exam?"

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Training During the CMA Course

During your CMA Intermediate and Final courses, you will also be required to take different training sessions online in Computers, Soft Skills, and Practical Training among other things. These are mandatory unless you qualify for exemptions based on your past experience and qualifications.

For the CMA Intermediate Course, the training is as follows:

During the CMA Final Course, the training is as follows:

By the way, if you want a look at the training requirements and the syllabus, head on over to our post outlining in these in detail.

Becoming a Member of ICMAI

After clearing all the exams, and completing the training outlined above, you'll need to complete a 15 day Modular Training.

Once that is done, you'll be eligible to become a member of the ICMAI. You'll be initially admitted as an Associate Member and allowed to use the title ACMA after your name indicating as such.

After fulfilling other prescribed criteria that can be found on the Institute's website, you can become a Fellow Member of the ICMAI. Now, you can use the title FCMA after your name!

Post-Admission

If you are to become the best CMA, then you ought to know that everything is digital in today’s world. You can gain a lot of experience through additional training programmes and skills during your time training to be a CMA professional.

ICMAI provides:

  • MoUs: ICMAI has a MoU with IGNOU which offers specialised B.Com and M.Com programmes for the students of ICMAI. This section also gives you a detailed fee-structure for the courses if you wish to join.
  • Knowledge Resources: This tab on the website is a student’s best friend. It provides all the study material that you could possibly need during your course-work. Apart from that, it also has exhaustive knowledge on CMA in the form of presentations, test papers, MCQs, archives and whatnot.
  • Examination updates: To stay in the loop and up-to-date on news, you can keep an eye on the ‘Examination’ tab on the website. Here you can find all things exam-related. From dates to notifications to previous question papers to suggested answers to results. The list goes on.
Counseling, Placement & Training

Once you’ve crossed this hurdle, there are incredible job opportunities that await you. ICMAI offers campus placements for both June and December batches, every year, and has tie-ups with some of the best recruiters in the country. Popular names include – Ashok Leyland, Bata, Castrol India Ltd, IDBI Bank, ICICI bank, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, among many others.

ICMAI also offers career counselling for both qualified CMAs and semi-qualified CMAs. They work with the corporate sector to help students develop the necessary professional skillsets to succeed. You can find out more about their programme here.

FAQs about CMA Course

Now we come to some Frequently Asked Questions about the CMA course.

Should I pursue BCom. while doing CMA?

Yes. It would be a good fallback option in case you are not able to complete the course.

Is the CMA course difficult?

To complete the CMA course, you need to work hard, be dedicated and determined. So, in that sense it is "difficult" but the reward at the end is worth it.

What is the role of a Cost and Management Accountant (CMA)? 

A CMA or a Cost and Management Accountant is responsible for the allocation, management and regulation of funds in a business; any business. A Cost and Management Accountant is someone who performs these duties.

When can I apply for the CMA course at ICMAI?

Admission to all 3 courses at ICMAI is open throughout the year. However, if you wish to apply for the June term, send your applications in before 31st January and before 31st July for the December term.

What are the pass marks for the exam?

A student requires a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of the group and an aggregate of 50% of total marks of non-exempted papers of that group.

When will I eligible for membership of ICMAI?

You will be eligible to be a member of ICMAI after passing Final CMA course and completing the Modular Training & Practical Training given.

How much salary can I expect from reputed companies as a CMA?

As per reports from recent campus placements, a fresher CMA starts of at 8.8 Lacs p.a.

What is the difference between practice and employment?

Practice means that you set up your own independent cost accounting firm or join an existing firm as a partner or staff member. Employment means working in the industry as an employee.

Can I become a CMA without any additional coaching?

It depends on your own capacity and abilities. But if you are looking for additional coaching, try signing up for our online video lectures and gain access to material that covers the entire CMA syllabus.

From where can I do practical training?

You should do your training under (a) a practicing cost accountant or (b) a firm of cost accountants or (c) an organisation or institutes approved by the Institute. You can find more information about this here.

Where can I find more information about the CMA course?

You can find more information about the CMA course by either heading on to the Institute's website or by referring to this handy booklet released by ICMAI!

If you have more questions that you need answered, don’t hesitate to contact us.

This is far as we get today about your journey to become a great CMA. The key is to start small and not be too ambitious. Take small steps to learn, relearn, revise, practice and excel. Work hard and success will follow!

And don't forget to sign up for our online video lectures that cover the entire CMA syllabus!

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Topics:CMA

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