A Second Certification for CMAs

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.

Should I take the CMA or CPA Exam?

CMA or CPA

CMA or CPA?

I have been asked this question a lot recently, and I would like to offer some thoughts about these two qualifications and provide some insight to think about when choosing between these two credentials.

International Recognition

First, both CMA and CPA are internationally recognized qualifications supported by international professional organizations. While CPA is still more recognized internationally than CMA, the gap between the two is rapidly closing within organizations that hire management accounting and finance professionals.

Your Career in the Future

Second, you need to match your certifications with what it is that you would like to do with your career in the future. If you would like to have a career as an external auditor or a tax professional, you should probably choose CPA because that is the more recognized qualification in those areas. On the other hand, if you want to work in the accounting or finance department of an organization, then CMA will give you much more practical and relevant knowledge. If you want to start your own business, you definitely should study CMA.

The Difficulty of the Exams

Finally, neither qualification is easy to pass, and you will have to work hard to earn either certification. I have recently spoken to a handful of individuals who have done both CMA and CPA and they all said that overall CMA was more difficult. While on the surface you may see this as a reason not to do CMA, the perceived difficulty of the exam is critical to the value that the certificate. If an exam is viewed as being too easy, then passing that exam does not demonstrate any special level of knowledge on your part. However, when an exam is perceived as difficult, then there is more benefit to you that comes from passing that exam.

Other Certifications

On a related note, if you would like to be an internal auditor you should study CIA, and if you want to go into investment banking, then you should study CFA.

Regardless of which certification you choose, make your decision looking at your future and which one will help you the most in your desired career.

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA

Get Your CMA Certification

If you are ready to advance your career, HOCK international is here for you. We have been helping students pass the CMA exams for over twenty years and provide complete materials that will prepare you to pass the exams on your first attempt. Sign up for the CMA trial and get free access to the materials for CMA Part 1 Section A and CMA Part 2 Section E, and also an exclusive discount for the complete materials.
 

Why CMA is the Best Accounting and Finance Certification

Why CMA is the Best Accounting and Finance Certification

There are several well-known international certifications for accounting and finance professionals, including CMA, CPA, CIMA, ACCA, ACA, CIA, CFA, and others. The first step for you as a professional seeking a certification is determining which one will be the most beneficial. This requires looking not only at your current job, but also what you would like to do in the future. By looking ahead, you can be certain that you have the needed skills, experience, and certification(s) for your career.

I have been involved in professional certifications in accounting and finance since 1998 and through all of these years, the certification that is generally the most valuable is the CMA. Of course, if you want to be an internal auditor, you become a CIA and if you want to be an investment banker, you should become a CFA. However, if you are looking for a career in accounting or finance, are looking to start or operate a small or medium-sized business, or want to have a certification that will provide the most flexibility and most options for you in your career, the CMA is the best certification for you.

There are five main reasons that the CMA is the overall best accounting and finance credential:

1. The CMA Syllabus is practical and relevant to your job.

Everything in the CMA syllabus is something that a business does or should do. Such a practical syllabus provides a lot of benefits to you:

  1. It makes studying easier. It is a lot easier to study and learn something when its relevance to a business is easy to understand. Also, by being practical, there is a greater chance that you will have some experience or exposure to the concepts before you start studying.
  2. The content you learn is useful for your current and future jobs. Ideally, studying for your certification will help you perform your job better. Whether you are in accounting, finance, budgeting, management, or operations, what is covered on the CMA Exam is what a company does or should be doing.
  3. The knowledge does not limit you to a specific department or career path. With topics ranging from financial accounting to management accounting, to planning and budgeting, to internal controls, to ethics and decision making, CMA prepares you for any job that is connected to management of a small or medium-sized business, or the accounting and finance functions in any size company.

2. You only need a Bachelor’s degree and two years of relevant work experience.

While some accountants have advanced degrees, there are many accountants who started in a different career and may not have a business degree or number of hours of accounting courses. For the CMA exam, as long as you have a 3 or 4 year Bachelor’s degree in any subject, you meet the education requirement.

Furthermore, as long as you have two years of relevant work experience, you will meet the experience requirement. Your experience does not need to be with any specific position nor does your supervisor need to be a CMA.

3. You only need to pass two exams to become a CMA.

While it may seem at first that only two exams are not enough for a professional certification, the two CMA exams cover a wide range of topics that are all tested in depth. This means that you get a rigorous exam that covers everything it needs to cover, but without a multi-year time commitment. With only two exams, you will be able to earn your CMA in around a year (average), and you will actually have a certification. While there are certifications with many more exams, if you don’t complete them all there is no benefit to you.

4. Your CMA certification is internationally recognized.

In all likelihood, you will have a number of different jobs during your career, which may include working for a multinational corporation, or in another country. Because the CMA certification is internationally recognized, it will help you get a job anywhere in the world. Having a CMA will also show to others in your organization that you are committed to your profession, which will help with promotions.

5. The CMA Syllabus is practical and relevant to your job.

Yes, this was also #1, but it is so important that it needs to be listed twice. An international syllabus (without country-specific details such as US Tax law) allows you to learn what is needed in today’s international accounting and finance marketplace.

For all of these reasons, I strongly recommend CMA as the best international certificate in accounting and finance. Of course, when you have a particular career goal, or your company requires a specific certification, then you need to pursue that required certification. If, however, you are looking to develop and expand your career prospects and possibilities within accounting and finance, then I strongly recommend the CMA Certification.

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA

What is my first step to becoming a CMA?

Sign up for the free session “How To Pass the CMA Exams.” In this session, you will learn about the HOCK CMA study methodology, exam preparation challenges, study tips, and more. 
 

Resolution To Pass the Exam – Six Practical Tips

Many people made a resolution to pass a professional exam in 2022. There are plenty of articles on staying motivated and keeping up with your resolutions that recommend:

  • Have a "Why" and keep the big picture in mind.
  • Develop small habits and do a little bit every day.
  • Practice self-care.
  • Find an accountability partner.

Forbes also suggests Five Ways To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions Based On New Research.

All of these are excellent general recommendations, but we find that the following six steps are the most helpful for keeping your resolution of passing a professional exam:

1 - Sign up for the free trial materials

Our free trial is the best way to see if the HOCK materials are a good fit for you so that you can determine if you like the learning platform, if the textbook is clear to you, and if the videos match your learning style. You don’t have to pay anything to get started, so sign up for CMA Free Trial or CIA Free Trial right away! Don't procrastinate!

2 - Learn how to use PassMap

PassMap is your step-by-step study guide that includes the Personal Study Plan, ExamReady progress bar, study tips, and connects you to the student forum where you can get unlimited CMA and CIA support from HOCK experts. Learn more with our Free PassMap Demo Session.

3 - Choose the materials package that works best for you

The biggest difference between HOCK Standard and HOCK Complete packages is that Complete includes videos and the "You Pass Or We Pay" Guarantee. Compare the HOCK CMA Exam Packages and CIA Exam Packages.

4 - Save money

Once you choose which materials work the best for you, use coupon code RESOLUTION to save 40%! That is the best price on the market! Don't miss the deal!  Buy CMA materials with 40% off or Buy CIA materials with 40% off.

5 - Set up your personal study plan

Scheduling and planning are the keys to passing a professional exam. We have designed a Personal Study Plan for CMA and CIA exam candidates that shows what to study week by week. The plan automatically adjusts based on the study units you have completed, how many units you have left to study, and how many days you have until your exam.

6 - Ask questions

As the PassMap is leading you through every topic, be sure to understand each unit fully before moving on. Follow the sequence: read textbook and watch the video(s), then practice the MCQs and essays, and use our expert teacher support. If you have any questions, see if it was already answered on the student forum, and if not, you can ask and get an answer from our experts. Check out HOCK CMA and CIA Student Forums

 

Use our RESOLUTION 40% sale to your advantage! HOCK CMA and CIA materials are fully updated to the current syllables and come with unlimited access, unlimited updates, and unlimited teacher support. 

 

We wish you a successful and productive year – the year you become certified!

The Right Certification for Your Future

Baseball bat, glove, and ball

A wooden bat

The last year that I played Little League Baseball as a child, probably about 15 years old, I had a favorite bat. This bat was a wooden bat, and it made me unusual because most of my teammates used an aluminum bat. As I remember it, I played well that season, but not as well as I had hoped or expected to. Then, in the last game of the season, my wooden bat broke, and I had to use an aluminum bat for the first time. In that last game, I hit the ball harder than I had all season. I hit the ball harder because I was using a better bat – the aluminum bat. It turns out that all of the other kids were right – an aluminum bat was better than a wooden bat. It turns out that my performance falling short of my expectations was because I was not using the best tool for the job.

Having the right tool

This is not my only example of the fact that having the right tool for the job makes the work easier, but also leads to a better result. Using the right type of saw or drill makes the sawing or drilling process easier. Using an electric screwdriver is faster than a hand-powered screwdriver. The right tools make gardening easier. The list goes on…

The best professional certification

The list also includes your professional certification. When you choose your professional certification, you need to choose the right one for the job. And in this case, “the job” is your career. You need to choose the professional certification that will serve you the best in your career. It is important to keep in mind that the best certification for your friends and colleagues may not be the best certification for you.

How do you determine the best certification for you? There are a few questions you should answer to determine the best certification for you.

  • What do you want to be doing in 5 years or 10 years? You need to look into your future to determine what will be best for you. You should not choose your professional certification based on what you are doing now (you already have that job), but rather on what you want to do in the future. What certification will give you the skills and knowledge that you will need to perform that job you want in the future?
  • What certifications do people who have the job you want have? Look online at people who currently have the job that you want, and see what certifications they have. If they all have a certain certification, then chances are good that you will be expected to have that same certification in that job.
  • Are you able to gain that certification? Some professional certifications have strict eligibility requirements regarding education and/or experience. You need to be certain that you meet those requirements. If a certification requires an education that you do not have, then you should not spend time trying to pursue it. For example, becoming a CPA has very specific education requirements and if you have already graduated and are not close to meeting those requirements, then CPA is not a certification that you should plan to pursue.

Related to this point, you also need to ask how realistic it will be for you to complete the certification? Some programs have 12 or more exams that take as many as four years to complete. Do you have the time, and the financial resources, to be able to make that investment?

  • Are you going to be able to do the required studying? You also need to be certain that you are going to be able to put in the time that is required to study what is covered in your exams. If too much of the syllabus is new to you, or in topics that you do not like, it will be very difficult to put in the time needed to prepare properly for the exam. On every exam, there will be some topics that you do not like, but they should not be a majority of the topics on the exam.

Jump-start your career

If you choose the correct certification, it will provide great benefit to you throughout your career. You will start to see those benefits as soon as you start studying because your skills and knowledge will improve. You will see the benefits of your certification as you get promoted, find a new job in a new company, and move into the job that you saw when you chose your certification. The benefits will continue to come to you as you become more involved and active in the professional organization and the networking opportunities it provides. The right certification will jump-start your career and help you reach your professional goals.

So, before you start studying, spend some time thinking about the questions above to make certain that you start pursuing the best certification for YOU. Your certification is a tool that you will have available throughout your career, so make certain that it is the best tool for what you want to do in your career.

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA

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Approach Your Exams Like a Buffalo

Approach Your Exams Like a Buffalo

Approach Your Exams Like a Buffalo

The Rocky Mountains go through the state of Colorado and big mountain storms come down from the mountains and head east into the Great Plains of the United States. While many animals live in the Great Plains, it is the cows and the buffalo that we are interested in.

Cows’ Approach

As a storm arrives, the cows walk with the storm trying to stay ahead of it. Of course, the storm moves faster than the cows so the storm overtakes the cows. And because the cows are moving in the same direction as the storm, the cows spend even more time in the storm than if they had just stood still and let the storm pass over them.

Buffalos’ Approach

The buffalo, on the other hand, take a different approach. As the storm approaches, they walk into the storm. While this is a strong and cold headwind, because the buffalo are walking against the direction the storm is moving, the amount of time that they spend in the storm is greatly reduced. The buffalo spend significantly less time in the storm than the cows because the buffalo know (somehow) that heading into the storm with determination is the fastest way to get out of the storm.

Your Exam Is the Storm

If you have not figured it out yet, in this analogy the amount of time that you need to prepare for your exam is the storm. And you have the choice to be either a cow or a buffalo. If you take the cows’ approach and do not make a dedicated effort to do your studying, the time that it will take you to get through your preparation will be a lot longer. It may seem for a while that you have been able to stay ahead of the storm, but eventually you will realize that even if you delay, the storm is still coming and you will need to pass through it. All you have done is extended the amount of time that you have had to live with your preparations.

You could instead choose to be the buffalo. When you do this, you make a plan, make a schedule, and start your studies from the beginning with the intent of sticking to your plan even when it is difficult and you are tired. But, by doing this, you will reduce the number of weeks that you spend studying and you will get to the other side of the storm much faster.

Whether you have not yet started studying, are partway through your studies, or are almost done, you can decide how you will go through the remainder of your studies – like a cow and drag it out for longer, or like a buffalo and attack the storm head on so that you can get through it as quickly as possible.

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA

CMA Textbook Updates October 2021

The CMA Parts 1 and 2 Textbooks have been updated, and the new files are available for current students to download in My Studies.

These books reflect HOCK’s ongoing commitment to providing the most complete and understandable materials and are not due to a change in the syllabus. There are no major changes to detail and there is no need to re-study any topics already completed.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you.

You can also learn more about the HOCK CMA Textbooks and other exam prep materials if you are not already a HOCK student.

CMA Part 2 Textbook Update July 2021

The CMA Part 2 Textbook has been updated, and the new files are available for current students to download in My Studies.

Sections B and C were re-organized and streamlined to remove a number of topics in order to bring the textbook more in line with how topics are being tested on the exam. While the new textbook is shorter, especially in Section B, it still covers everything that you need to know for the exam.

If you have not yet started Section B, we strongly recommend using the newer and shorter book. Otherwise, it is not critical that you switch to the new version, though we do recommend using the latest version if possible. You do not need to re-study any topics already completed.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you.

You can also learn more about the HOCK CMA Textbooks and other exam prep materials if you are not already a HOCK student.

CMA Part 1 Textbook Update June 2021

The CMA Part 1 Textbook has been updated, and the new files are available for current students to download in My Studies. The significant changes are listed below including page numbers in the new June 2021 book.

Section A

  • Updated the discussion of goodwill and impairment of goodwill, pages 119-122.

Section B

  • Added Characteristics of Successful Budgeting Processes, pages 221-222.

Section E

  • Removed discussion of Computerized Audit Techniques (no longer in the LOS).

Section F

  • Expanded the discussion of blockchain and blockchain terminology, pages 284-295.
  • Added discussion of best practices when creating visuals, pages 330-333.
  • Expanded the discussion of boxplots with additional information, pages 341-344.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you.

You can also learn more about the HOCK CMA Textbooks and other exam prep materials if you are not already a HOCK student.

From Brian’s Desk: Is a Personal Counselor or Mentor necessary to pass the exam?

Is a Personal Counselor or Mentor necessary to pass the exam?

A Personal Counselor or Mentor is something that some exam prep providers include as a benefit of choosing their materials. While I agree that it is important that a review provider answer your questions as part of their support, there is no practical reason that you need to have a personal counselor as part of your exam preparation process.

Why do I say this? Because the exam that you take is not personal to you.

Everyone takes the same exam covering the same material tested at the same level of depth. The exam does not adapt its depth based on your background or experience. To say it one more time: EVERY candidate needs to know the SAME material at the SAME depth for the exam.

Because every candidate needs to know the same information, I am not sure what a personal counselor can do that you are not able to do for yourself. You can look at the results of your study sessions and determine how well you know a topic. In fact, you know more than anyone else can about how well you know a topic.

For example, let us say that there are 10 questions, and you know with certainty 6 of the 10 questions. That is 60% proficiency, but that is not enough and you need to study that topic more. Even though you do not know the other 4 questions, statistically you will get one of the four correct – giving you a 70% score. If you get lucky and guess two of those four correctly, you will score 80%, and someone else just looking at the percentage probably will say you are proficient and can move on to the next topic. But you know the truth, that you really are not 80% proficient on that topic.

In terms of guiding you through your studies, a personal counselor is not needed for this, either. Assuming that the study materials are set up properly with a good study plan, only you know best how much time you need to spend on each topic. When you are reading the book, watching videos, and/or doing practice questions, you know how well you know the topic and how much longer you need to spend to feel comfortable.

I believe that there are two essential support functions that actually add value to your studies:

  1. A detailed study plan that helps you go through the materials, points out the main topics and can be tailored to your pace of learning and time frame for study.
  2. Subject matter experts who can answer your questions about anything in the materials while you are studying. Whether it is a concept in the book or a question that you just can’t figure out, a knowledgeable person who is experienced in that exam should be available to answer your questions in a timely manner (one business day).

All of this to say, when you are making a decision about your study materials, be sure to look for things that actually add value to your studies, and not just what sounds good. At HOCK, we have continually refined our materials and processes since 2003 so that we can offer you the most comprehensive materials and support without any unneeded and potentially expensive extras.

HOCK Exam Prep with unlimited access and teacher support: