Mar 26, 2012

Try This on for Size – CPA, CGMA

By Mike Colgan, PICPA Executive Director and CEO

On Jan. 31, 2012, the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) launched a new global designation, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), to elevate management accounting and globally recognize the experience and skills of CPAs in business, industry, and government.

Management accounting combines financial accounting – reporting financial performance; understanding the framework of financial laws, standards, and regulations; and providing a compliance perspective – with additional management skills that help drive business decisions, including managing business opportunities, providing a framework of solutions and best practices, and guiding strategic decisions. Management accountants are professionals who are entrusted with critical business decisions and ensuring strong business performance. They are business strategists who apply nonfinancial, qualitative information along with financial analysis to understand all aspects of business.

The CGMA credential showcases these skills and elevates management accounting by distinguishing the CPA holders of the CGMA for their work in driving sustainable business success. The CGMA provides a way for CPAs working in corporate finance or business functions – whether in small private companies, multinational public companies, government entities, or not-for-profits – to enhance their professional credibility and gain access to extensive global resources and expertise.

The profession is changing. Many CPAs currently work in corporate positions, and many future CPAs will find that their career paths will begin in the corporate or government environments. The joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA will promote management accounting as these changes take root. The CGMA recognizes that the work that management accountants do starts with the foundation of finance but goes far beyond into the realm of business strategy. It also provides an international presence for the CPA designation, which will be increasingly important as the global economy continues to grow.

CGMASo, how does one achieve the CGMA credential? If you are a U.S. CPA, are a member of AICPA, and have been working in a management accounting position in industry or government for three years or some combination of corporate and public accounting experience, you can gain the credential now. Complete details are available at www.cgma.org.

By becoming a CGMA, you will get CGMA Magazine and CGMA Newsletter, and gain access to a global online social network of management accountants, thought leadership white papers, tools, reports, webcasts, and other resources for professional development.

If you are unsure but interested, you can test drive the benefits of the CGMA designation on an introductory basis until July 31, 2012. After that date there will be a nominal charge to maintain the credential – which will be even less for PICPA members! Visit www.cgma.org for information on the trial.

What do you think of this new credential? Will your employer find value in your ability to network with thousands of other professionals both in the U.S. and around the globe that share your passion for driving sustainable business success? I look forward to your feedback.

Additional information (added 3/27/12)
In addition to being a grandfather, I understand how the term “grandfather” applies to statutory, regulatory, or credential areas. As with many other professional credentials, experienced CPAs can be grandfathered into the CGMA credential based on years of experience as the credential seeks to build its network. The testing requirement to attain the credential will begin on January 1, 2015, although the ongoing CPE requirement for CGMA holders is effective immediately. As I found out yesterday at an AICPA meeting, over 10,000 CPAs have attained (grandfathered) the CGMA credential since January 31, so the network of fellow-professionals is growing rapidly. The ability to network and share information with this group of CPAs with similar professional experience is a primary value of the CGMA credential.

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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.