CMA Exam Outline

Candidates for CMA certification must complete all required examination parts.

  • CMA Part 1: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control
    (4 hours – 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)

  • CMA Part 2: Financial Decision Making
    (4 hours – 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)

Each exam part will consist of 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. You will have 3 hours to complete the multiple choice section and one hour to complete the essays. The essays will be presented after you have completed the multiple choice section of the exam or after 3 hours, whichever comes first. Once you complete and exit the multiple choice section of the exam, you cannot go back. You must remain in the essay section to complete the exam. The essay section consists of 8-10 written response or calculation questions based on two scenarios, describing a typical business situation. (You must answer at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions correctly to be eligible to take the essay section.)

The percentages below show the relative weight range given to each topic in each part. The level designations indicate the depth and breadth of topic coverage in each part. A detailed content specification outline can be downloaded from IMA website in the certification section.

CMA Part 1: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control
(4 hours – 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)

1A. External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%)
Preparation of financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in equity, statement of cash flows; valuation of assets and liabilities; operating and capital leases; impact of equity transactions; revenue recognition; income measurement; major differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS.

1B. Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting (30%)
Strategic planning process; budgeting concepts; annual profit plans and supporting schedules; types of budgets, including activity-based budgeting, project budgeting, flexible budgeting; top-level planning and analysis; and forecasting, including quantitative methods such as regression and learning curve analysis.

1C. Performance Management (20%)
Factors to be analyzed for control and performance evaluation including revenues, costs, profits, and investment in assets; variance analysis based on flexible budgets and standard costs; responsibility accounting for revenue, cost, contribution and profit centers; key performance indicators; and balanced scorecard.

1D. Cost Management (20%)
Cost concepts, flows and terminology; alternative cost objectives; cost measurement concepts; cost accumulation systems including job order costing, process costing, and activity-based costing; overhead cost allocation; supply chain management and business process performance topics such as lean manufacturing, ERP, theory of constraints, value chain analysis, ABM, continuous improvement and efficient accounting processes.

1E. Internal Controls (15%)
Corporate governance; internal control risk; internal control environment, procedures, and standards; responsibility and authority for internal auditing; types of audits; assessing the adequacy of the accounting information system controls; and business continuity planning.

CMA Part 2: Financial Decision Making 
(4 hours – 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)


2A. Financial Statement Analysis (25%) 
Calculation and interpretation of financial ratios; evaluate performance utilizing multiple ratios; market value vs. book value; profitability analysis; analytical issues including impact of foreign operations, effects of changing prices and inflation, off- balance sheet financing, and earnings quality.

2B. Corporate Finance (20%) 
Types of risk; including credit, foreign exchange, interest rate, market, and political risk; capital instruments for long-term financing; initial and secondary public offerings; dividend policy; cost of capital; working capital management; raising capital; managing and financing working capital; mergers and acquisitions; and international finance.

2C. Decision Analysis (20%) 
Relevant data concepts; cost-volume-profit analysis; marginal analysis; make vs. buy decisions; income tax implications for operational decision analysis; pricing methodologies including market comparable, cost-based and value-based approaches.

2D. Risk Management (10%) 
Types of risk including business, hazard, financial, operational, strategic, legal compliance and political risk; risk mitigation; risk management; risk analysis; and ERM.

2E. Investment Decisions (15%) 
Cash flow estimates; discounted cash flow concepts; net present value; internal rate of return, discounted payback; payback; income tax implications for investment decisions; risk analysis; and real options.

2F. Ethics (10%) 
Ethical considerations for management accounting professionals and for the organization.