Finding the right financial professional can be a bit of work. Even when you’ve narrowed the focus of precisely what you need, you may still have trouble finding the right expert to help you. When it comes to various accounting experts, you might choose between a certified management accountant (CMA) and a certified public accountant (CPA). Here’s the difference between the two and how to determine which one is right for you.
What Is a CPA?
A CPA is someone who passed the CPA exam, which made them a licensed public accountant. The exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Being a licensed public accountant is a requirement for becoming a CPA. They also need to take any state exam or certifications required to be a CPA, since each state requirement is different. Some states require you to hit a specific number of credit hours working in the field before you can take a state exam.
CPAs help individuals and businesses on accounting-related topics, like taxes, audits and regulatory measures.
A CPA isn’t limited to being a public accountant. You might also find CPAs who are auditors, management accountants and financial analysts.
You can verify that someone has a CPA license with AICPA or CP Averify.What Is a CMA?
A CMA is an expert in financial accounting and business management. They usually focus on corporate finance, rather than individual wealth management.
CMAs need a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or a related concentration along with two years of work in the field. To become a CMA, you’ll need to become a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).
CMAs can hold a variety of different types of jobs, including:
CMAs can be found in the ranks of chief financial officers, chief operating officers and chief executive officers.What’s the Difference?
If you’re looking to compare a CMA to a CPA, take a look at what each position does and what it took to get there.
Both require certifications and training but work in various ways related to accounting and finance. While both are in the same field, each position is different.
You might see a CPA work on auditing and minimizing your tax risk for individuals or businesses. CMAs tend to gravitate towards corporations and handle a broader range of financial topics, like budgeting and even management consulting.The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for someone to handle your accounting needs, it’s best to understand the difference between the many different types of certifications available. Since CMAs tend to work mostly with businesses and corporations, you might not need to seek one out to help you with your money.
Instead, you might want to look for a CPA or another financial professional. Since there are so many different types of financial experts, it’s a good idea to find one that’s best for your specific needs. Different designations can help you determine which expert is right for you.
Neither CPAs nor CMAs are better than the other. Rather what matters is which one fits your needs more at the moment. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you might work with how they can work best for you.Tips
Photo credit: iStock.com/Dontstop, iStock.com/SandraRose, iStock.com/njgphoto
Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. Frankly and this Site make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you are affiliated with this page and would like it removed please contact email@example.com