CA vs CMA: 5 Differences You Must Know Before Choosing CA


As a commerce student, it is common to confuse CA vs. CMA. For instance, students might wonder what the CA course curriculum has, whether CMA has demand in the Indian market, which course is challenging, analyze CA vs CMA salary in India, and much more.

Seeing the recent pass percentages of CA and CMA, we can conclude that both courses are difficult and need your complete dedication. Every student has unique skills and interests. To determine a better career option between CMA or CA, you must research both courses’ functions, benefits, duration, industry demand, and other essential factors.

So, let’s start with a brief look at CA and CMA courses. 

About Cost & Management Accountant (CMA) Course

CMA, or Cost and Management Accountant, focuses on managing the cost accounts of an organisation. The core areas of a CMA are Financial & Accounting Management. Additionally, their responsibilities include maintaining and managing cost records, verifying cost data, etc. 

To become a CMA in India, you must clear 3 exams: Foundation, Inter, & the Finals. Additionally, the CMA professional is highly well-paying and lucrative. The average CMA Salary in India is around Rs 10 lakhs per annum based on the ICMAI reports. 

About Chartered Accountancy (CA) Course

Every student knows about CA. Chartered Accountancy is among the most prestigious course in the commerce stream. ICAI is the only organization with the authority to provide the CA degree. CA professionals audit financial statements, file company tax returns, and provide financial guidance.

Now that we have a brief idea about the CA and CMA courses. Let’s have a detailed overview of the CA and CMA differences. 

CA vs CMA: 5 Major Differences

Here you may see a comprehensive comparison of the CA and CMA coursework and their course structures, durations, employment profiles, and compensation differences. Further, it will improve your understanding of the two courses. 


Course Structure

So the CA has three levels including:
CA Foundation
CA Inter
CA Final
After clearing their 12th standard, students can register and sit for the CA Foundation examinations. 
So the CMA has three levels including CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final. After passing the 10+2 exams, students have the opportunity to register for the CMA Foundation course.


Students will take at least 5 years to complete the CA course, which includes three years of articleship training.The CMA course duration is a minimum of three to four years. Additionally, CMA training is also essential for this course.

Market Demand

When discussing about CA vs CMA, it is essential to learn about the market demand for CAs. The need for Chartered Accountants is growing rapidly in the business sector due to their broad subject expertise.
In India, the need for chartered accountants has increased. This is mostly due to the government’s efforts to supervise the market and the increasing number of new businesses. Additionally, after introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India, there has been an increased demand for Chartered Accountants familiar with the new tax system. Not only are CAs in demand because of the changing economy and the various roles and responsibilities they can handle. It includes Auditing, Tax Filing, Tax Planning, etc. 
The cost audit is not necessary for all businesses. Companies operating on a massive scale are in need of hiring cost auditors.
Consequently, the demand for CMA is low, although the trend is changing with time. However, CMA is in great demand overseas.
Students who want to begin their careers overseas must enrol in the CMA Course.

CA vs CMA Salary in India

Salary is also another important factor when comparing CA vs CMA. The average starting compensation for an entry-level Chartered Accountant is between 6-7 lakhs, which grows with experience and skill. On the other hand, candidates who clear on their first try are typically offered 10-12 lakhs, while rank holders might get close to 25 lakhs.The average CMA salary in India is between 5 and 7 lakhs, which grows with experience and depends on one’s abilities.

Various Job Profiles 

A CA may work on several Job Profiles, including –Statutory Audits. Internal Audit, Handling the company’s Legal Matters etc., Financial and Accounting Management, Advisor in Direct or Indirect Taxation, etc. A CMA has the following possible job opportunities: Cost Auditing, Financial Planning, Cost Accountant, Accounting Manager, Senior Accountant, Financial Planning, etc. 

Read More: 15 Rules for Investing in a Startup in India

CA vs. CMA – Which is a Better Career? 

By comparing CA vs. CMA, you might have acquired a thorough understanding of the courses. CA and CMA programs are challenging, but CA is more comprehensive than CMA. CA emphasizes every accounting aspect in depth, while CMA concentrates only on cost accounting-related topics.

However,  CMAs are exclusively employed by major corporations, while CAs are engaged by people and businesses of all sizes. 

Yet, if you are preparing for the future, say around 10 to 15 years, you might choose CMA, which is projected to grow with time. No matter what career options you choose, VSI Jaipur is here to help you with your preparation. Contact us today. 

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