AICPA’s CGMA Certification Becoming Popular Option for Industry CPAs

  • By Matthew Briggson
  • August 7th, 2018

The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) certificate is a relatively new designation issued through a joint venture between the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The AICPA is an association primarily made up of United States CPAs while the CIMA is an organization for management accountants primarily residing in the United Kingdom.

The CGMA designation is in direct competition to the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) credential which is issued by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The CMA has been around for over 40 years and has over 37,000 active certificate holders. With so many CPAs transitioning into industry roles later in their careers, the AICPA identified an opportunity to partner with the CIMA to offer CPAs a designation that recognizes management accounting expertise. Prior to January 2015, CPAs who were active AICPA members were only required to fill out an application and pay a fee to become a CGMA. In an attempt add more legitimacy and prestige to the designation, the AICPA started requiring new CGMAs to pass a computerized self-study exam that tests applicant’s readiness to apply management accounting in real-life business simulations. Test takers first receive information and data about a fictitious organization seven weeks in advance of the exam. During the three hour test, they are presented with three to five tasks related to the organization. The format of the exam is application focused and the grading takes about five weeks.

Applicants of the CGMA must be regular members of the AICPA which requires either an active or previously active CPA license. This is one way the AICPA differentiates the CGMA from the CMA license as CMAs are not required to be certified public accountants. The experience requirement for the CGMA is:

*Three years of financial (including internal audit) or management accounting experience in business, industry, or government; or
*Two years of financial or management accounting experience, plus one year in public accounting; or
*Three years of financial/management accounting experience on a consulting basis; or
*Three years in a management accounting role focused on the management and operation of an accounting firm; or
*Awarded a research-based doctorate degree in an accounting or related business field at an accredited academic institution and has taught at least four college semester or quarterly classes in an accounting or related business field at an accredited academic institution.

As the AICPA continues to promote the CGMA, look for more CPAs who transition into industry management roles to add this certification to their resume.

For more information on the CGMA application process please see:

  • Cgma
  • aicpa cgma
  • chartered global management accountant
About the author
Matthew Briggson
Matthew Briggson

Matthew is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a co-founder of, an industry leading CPE provider for accounting and finance professionals.

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