Earning a CPA or CMA Earns You More

There’s nothing easy about the CPA exam. It requires hours of study – 400 minimum is recommended – and even then, the passing rate for all four parts hovers right around the 50% mark.

calculator accounting - blog.jpg

Having the Certified Public Accounting credential does open the door to a wider range of accounting jobs, but even so, it’s not a prerequisite. So the temptation can be great to bypass the investment of both time and money.

Now, a study by the Institute of Management Accountants, shows that the effort put into earning a CPA or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation – or both – pays off handsomely.

“Consistently, holding some type of certification has a positive impact on compensation,” the IMA found.

How big an impact? Big, according to a survey the IMA conducted. For young accountants under 30 the median pay is $65,500. Add a CMA certification and median pay jumps to $80,000. The CPA bump is nearly identical at $79,925. For those holding both a CPA and a CMA, median pay came in at $97,250.

With more experience, the dollar differential is even more substantial. Median pay for a mid-career accountant without either a CMA or CPA is $101,500. With both, median pay jumps to $156,250.

“Overall, respondents holding only the CMA or the CPA earned 127% and 182% higher median additional compensation, respectively, above base salary compared to those holding neither certification,” the report notes.

CPA and CMA differential chart.png

“For all age groups, holding the CMA, the CPA or both certifications has an incremental, positive effect on median total compensation. This indicates that employers value employees for having the CMA, CPA, or both and are willing to compensate employees for holding these certifications.”

The report provides a rich array of other data about pay, including a section on gender pay differences. Comparing median base pay and total comp by gender and age, the report found women accountants of all ages earn 84% of what their male counterparts earn.

The differences are wider among older accountants, but the gender gap exists among even the youngest are groups. Women 20-29 years old earn a median total compensation that is 91% of the men in that age group.

Looking at it region by region, the IMA found women in the Northeast do better financially than the men. They earn 118% of what men earn in base pay and 105% in total comp.

Women though might want to avoid the Plains states. There the gender gap is the widest with women earning a mere 70% of what men are paid.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Juneteenth: History and Significance
General Interest

Juneteenth: History and Significance

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment
General Interest Healthcare Pharma

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

The Internet Had a Bad Day
Information Technology

The Internet Had a Bad Day

The Role of HR Departments in LGBTQ+ Pride
General Interest Human Resources Worklife

The Role of HR Departments in LGBTQ+ Pride

What It Means to Be a Leader During a Time of Crisis
General Interest Leadership + Management Worklife

What It Means to Be a Leader During a Time of Crisis

Mid-Life Crisis? Consider a Mid-Life Career Switch
Accounting + Finance General Interest Information Technology Leadership + Management Worklife

Mid-Life Crisis? Consider a Mid-Life Career Switch

Lawyers Look to Move Firms to Keep Remote Work
Legal Support

Lawyers Look to Move Firms to Keep Remote Work

Is the Hybrid Workplace Sustainable?
Worklife

Is the Hybrid Workplace Sustainable?

Bank of America, Competitors to Raise Pay
Financial Services

Bank of America, Competitors to Raise Pay

Class of 2021 to Enter Job Market
Financial Services Healthcare Information Technology Marketing Technology Professional Support

Class of 2021 to Enter Job Market

Pharmacies Are Entering the Mental Health Market
Healthcare Pharma

Pharmacies Are Entering the Mental Health Market

Pandemic Challenges Create New Opportunities for Virtual Career Development
Worklife

Pandemic Challenges Create New Opportunities for Virtual Career Development

America’s New Tech Hubs
Information Technology

America’s New Tech Hubs

How to Recognize if a Manager Is Right for You
Worklife

How to Recognize if a Manager Is Right for You

Green Key Resources is Hiring!
Accounting + Finance Architecture + Engineering Creative Financial Services Healthcare Human Resources Information Technology Legal Support Marketing Technology Pharma Professional Support

Green Key Resources is Hiring!

How to Think Like a Lawyer
Legal Support

How to Think Like a Lawyer

3 Questions to Unlock Your Authentic Career
Creative Worklife

3 Questions to Unlock Your Authentic Career

Businesses Rethink “Necessary Travel”
Worklife

Businesses Rethink “Necessary Travel”

YOLO Is Sparking Riskier Career Moves
Worklife

YOLO Is Sparking Riskier Career Moves

21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Today & Beyond
Architecture + Engineering Worklife

21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Today & Beyond

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
Juneteenth: History and Significance

Juneteenth: History and Significance

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Here are 19 facts about the...
Read More
Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

On June 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) for Alzheimer’s, which affects more than 6 million...
Read More
The Internet Had a Bad Day

The Internet Had a Bad Day

The internet had a bad day last Tuesday, June 8th when a massive internet outage wiped out many of the...
Read More