As discussed earlier, public accountants often document their expertise through CPA certification.
Two professional certifications exist for management accountants:
The National Association of Accountants, through the Institute of Management Accounting, offers the Certificate in Management Accounting (CMA). Candidates must pass a five-part, two-and-a-half day examination and satisfy a two-year management accounting experience requirement. Once candidates receive the CMA designation, they must satisfy a continuing education requirement. While attainment of the CMA designation is not a legal requirement for the practice of management accounting, it does enhance the professional reputation of the successful candidate and is generally considered an advantage in finding a position or in gaining salary increases and promotions.
The Institute of Internal Auditors offers a four-part exam leading to the Certificate in Internal Auditing (CIA). Specific experience and educational requirements must also be met. As with the CMA, holders of the CIA have a salary and promotional edge over those without such professional designations.
Links to Professional Associations
The American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) - With more than 330,000 members, the AICPA is the premier national professional association for CPAs in the United States.
New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA) - the largest state accounting organization in the nation and currently has 33,000 members. It was incorporated in 1897 for the following purposes:
To cultivate, promote, and disseminate knowledge and information concerning certified public accountants.
To establish and maintain high standards of integrity, honor, and character among certified public accountants.
To furnish information regarding accountancy and the practice and methods thereof to its members and the general public.
To protect the interests of its members and the general public with respect to the practice of accountancy.
The Society fulfills its mission through its 11 chapters, 95 technical and administrative committees, and a 36-member Board of Directors. The administrative operations are under the direction of the Executive Director, assisted by a professional staff of approximately 95.
Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) - The IMA is the leading professional organization devoted exclusively to management accounting and financial management. As set forth in its mission and vision statements, its goals are to help members develop both personally and professionally, by means of education, certification, and association with other business professionals. As a respected leader within the global financial community, the IMA influences the concepts and ethical practices in management accounting and financial management. Its ethical standards provide guidance to practitioners for maintaining the highest levels of ethical conduct.