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ICMA to Update CMA Exam Content to Reflect Management Accountants’ Evolving Role

posted Apr 13, 2014, 8:17 AM by IMA Qatar Chapter   [ updated Apr 13, 2014, 8:19 AM ]

  CMA Connection

 Issue No. 34 | April 10, 2014

 ICMA to Update CMA Exam Content to Reflect Management Accountants’ Evolving Role

 In its ongoing effort to ensure that the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam accurately reflects the evolving role of accountants as strategic business partners, ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) will soon implement changes to the content of the exam.

The changes will become effective beginning with the January/February 2015 testing window (English language version). For the Chinese-language version, the changes will commence in March 2015.

The revisions are based on a recent Job Analysis Study that polled CFOs, controllers, and other accounting/finance professionals from around the world. The purpose of the study, which ICMA conducts every five to seven years, was to identify the in-demand knowledge, skills, and tasks currently needed by management accountants.

Based on the results of that study and a year-long assessment process, ICMA will change approximately 10% of the CMA exam content. The most significant changes include:

  • Part 1 of the exam will include one new section, financial reporting, and additional questions on strategic planning.
  • To make room for these new questions in Part 1, the ethics section will be combined with the ethics section in Part 2.
  • Part 2 of the exam will split the topics of decision analysis and risk management, currently a single section. There also will be more questions in the risk management topic area.

The CMA exam format will remain as two, four-hour parts. Each part will still include 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essays.

“Undoubtedly, the role of management accountants is rapidly evolving because of a variety of factors, such as technology and globalization,” said Dennis Whitney, CMA, CFM, CAE, ICMA senior vice president. “It’s essential that the CMA continues as the most relevant and valid assessment for management accountants so that it serves professionals and enables organizations to find the most qualified talent.”

He continued, “ICMA wishes to thank the members of both the Job Analysis Task Force and the ICMA Board of Regents for their hard work and guidance in helping develop and implement these changes to the exam. Candidates and employers can be assured that the process of changing the exam was a rigorous one and that the new exam will accurately assess the critical skills that are required for today’s accounting and finance professionals.”

In July 2014, ICMA will release new Content Specification Outlines (CSO), Learning Outcome Statements, and a supplementary bibliography to assist candidates with preparing for the new exam.

Changes to the exam will automatically coincide with the testing window schedule, and any completed exam parts under the current CSO will transfer to the new CSO. Current CMA candidates have the option of taking the English exam (or finish remaining parts) under the current specifications through October 31, 2014, or taking the exam under the new specifications beginning January 1, 2015. Candidates sitting for the Chinese-language version may take the exam under the current specifications on August 2, 2014, and on November 15, 2014, or under the new specifications beginning March 2015.

For more information or questions about the changes, please contact IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) Member Services at or at (800) 638-4427 or +1 (201) 573-9000 (if outside North America).