A Second Certification for CMAs
You passed the CMA Exam – what’s next?
Congratulations to everyone who passed the CMA Exam in the most recent exam window! This is a great accomplishment and one that you should celebrate.
A common question I get from recent CMAs is, “What certification should I pursue next?” While this is a question that depends largely on you and what you want to do with your career, there is one certification that I think goes very well with CMA and opens up some additional career opportunities.
The world’s leading certification for internal auditors
The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the world’s leading certification for internal auditors working in all industries. One of the reasons that CIA pairs well with CMA is that accounting and finance professionals interact with the internal audit activity as it conducts its engagements. Because accounting and financial professionals provide essential work in the management of the company, the internal audit activity will be spending time providing assurance and consulting engagements in these areas. If you are a CMA and are able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge of an internal auditor, you will be in a better position to add value both as an accounting or finance professional and to the internal audit activity. Or, if you decide to look at a career in internal audit, the knowledge that you have as a CMA will provide you with significant benefits as an internal auditor.
What is covered in the CIA Exams?
In addition to the professional connection between CMA and CIA, CIA is an excellent second certification for CMAs because the CMA Exam covers some of the same topics as the CIA Exam. The CIA Exam is made up of three multiple-choice Exams. Part 1 covers the internal audit activity and its operations, and Part 2 covers the performance of an engagement. Part 3 covers some of the same topics that are on the CMA Exam: business operations, IT, managerial and financial accounting, and finance. If you are already a CMA and you decide to take the CIA Exams, I recommend that you start with Part 3 because you have already studied many of those topics.
How long does it take to prepare for the CIA Exams?
While the CIA Exams are not easy (the pass rate per exam is about the same as it is for CMA, roughly 45%), the preparation process is shorter. We recommend about 60 hours for Part 1, 80 hours for Part 2, and 120 hours for Part 3. So even though it is three exams, it won’t take much longer than preparing for the two CMA exams.
For all of these reasons, if you are a CMA looking for a second certification, I recommend you consider the CIA Exams. The best way to start is to download the CIA Exam Guide and sign up for the CIA Free Trial.
As always, if you have any questions, we will be happy to help.