CA vs CMA: Salary and Differences To Help You Choose a Better Career

ca vs cma

Every student must make the right professional decision because it will affect their future. With so many professional options available to students in the 12th commerce class, choosing a career is very crucial. Additionally, the most well-liked possibilities available to them are cost and management accounting (CMA) and chartered accounting (CA).

However, because of their growing popularity and complexity, it has become more challenging for students to choose the right course. As a result, this piece will give key details concerning CA and CMA, including their potential for income, variances from one other, and more. So let’s examine the key distinctions between CA and CMA.

Overview of the CA Course

An internationally in-demand professional course is chartered accounting (CA). There are several work opportunities in the fields of finance, accounting, taxation, auditing, etc. in this challenging and lucrative profession. Chartered accountants have the option of working for one of the major four accounting firms or opening their own business for greater growth.

Let’s check a few of the other details of the CA Course:

  1. Demand: Chartered accountants are in high demand all the time, and they have a good reputation in their industry. Additionally, CAs are crucial for companies of all sizes, especially small startups, and large international firms.
  2. Work: You will be in charge of providing companies, people, and other institutions with financial reporting, tax planning, corporate finance, audit and assurance, risk management, and other financial services as a chartered accountant.
  3. Syllabus: Three levels of the CA course are available: CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final. In addition, subjects like accounting, law, taxation, auditing, and financial management are covered in the curriculum.
  4. Duration: The CA course typically lasts between 4.5 and 5 years. However, this may be longer depending on how long it takes the student to complete all three levels.
  5. Fees: The cost of the CA course varies depending on the institution and level of the course. The overall cost of the CA course may range, on average, between 2 and 3 lakhs rupees.
  6. Pass Percentage: 10% to 12% of applicants successfully complete both CA Final groups in a single attempt, which is a rather low pass rate for the CA course.

Qualifications: Individuals must have earned at least a 50% grade point average in a 10+2 program or its equivalent to become CAs. Candidates must pass the CA Foundation Exam, enroll in and complete the CA Intermediate level, and then complete three years of practical training before sitting for the CA Final exam.

The Steps To Become CA

Here is a summary of the steps to become a CA:

  • Pass the 10+2 exam with a minimum grade point average of 50%.
  • Register for the CA Foundation Exam and pass it.
  • Sign up and pass the CA Intermediate exam.
  • Complete the three years of practical training for CA.
  • Show up and pass the CA Final for both groups.
  • Finish the course, and become a member and CA certified
  • Being a Chartered Accountant necessitates dedication, hard work, and a passion for finance and accounting. However, it is a very lucrative career with plenty of job opportunities both in India and overseas.

Overview of the CMA Course

When contrasting CMA and CA, let’s now take a look at the CMA course. For those interested in jobs in management accounting and cost accounting, the CMA course, also known as the Cost and Management Accountancy course, offers professional certification. CMA is responsible for overseeing the administration, distribution, and management of finances within a company or organization. Additionally, the management, strategy, regulatory framework, and financial reporting knowledge pillars serve as the foundation of the cost management accounting course.

A few other details about the CMA course are as follows:

  1. Demand: Due to its widespread reputation and abundant work opportunities in accounting and finance, the CMA degree is in high demand. Additionally, this course is open to those interested in working in manufacturing, finance, or the public sector.
  2. Work: CMAs frequently engage in financial analysis, planning, and decision-making. They are also in charge of budgeting, financial analysis, and cost control.
  3. Syllabus: There are three stages to the CMA program: CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final. The course curriculum covers topics including tax law, auditing, financial management, and cost accounting.
  4. Duration: It takes three years to become a CMA. However, it is dependent on the student’s speed and how long it takes them to complete each level.
  5. Fees: The costs total around Rs 1,000,000.
  6. Pass Percentage: For both categories, the CMA Final pass rate is around 10%.

Qualification: Individuals must have earned at least a 50% grade point average in a 10+2 program or its equivalent to becoming CMAs. Candidates must pass the CMA Foundation Exam, enroll in, and pass the CMA Intermediate level before sitting for the CMA Final exam.

The Steps To Become A CMA:

  • Enrol in the CMA Foundation course, then pass the test.
  • Enrol in the CMA Intermediate programme and pass the test.
  • Finish the necessary practical training.
  • Enrol in the CMA Final course, then pass the test.
  • Become a member of the Indian Institute of Cost Accountants (ICMAI).

Difference Between CA vs CMA – Detailed Comparison

Below is the detailed comparison of CA vs CMA in a tabular form:

Criteria CA CMA
Admission 10+2 with 50% marks in commerce stream or graduate from any stream 10+2 with 50% marks in any stream or graduate from any stream
Course Structure CA course is divided into three levels: CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final The CMA course is divided into three levels: CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final
Duration 4.5 years to 5 years 3 years
Fees Approx. INR 2,00,000 to INR 3,50,000 Approx. INR 1,00,000
Pass percentage Approx. 5-10% at each level Approx. 15-20% at each level
CA vs CMA Salary Rs. 10-12 lakh per annum Rs. 7-8 lakh per annum
Job Options Auditing, taxation, accounting, finance, consultancy, etc. Financial analysis, cost accounting, budgeting, planning, etc.
Scope/Demand High demand for CA professionals in big four firms, MNCs, the public sector, etc. High demand for CMA professionals in manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector.

Students can select a course based on their interests and career ambitions because both have distinct advantages.

CA vs CMA Salary in India

A chartered accountant’s starting salary in India is typically between 6-7 lakhs, and it rises with education and experience. Additionally, those who succeed on their first try are frequently given offers between 10 and 12 lakhs, while rank holders may get up to 25 lakhs. In contrast, the beginning compensation for a CMA in India is often between 7 and 8 lakhs, and it rises with education and experience.

Career Opportunities After CA Course

In India, the field of chartered accounting (CA) is both highly esteemed and competitive. After completing the CA course, there are numerous employment options available in a variety of sectors and businesses. These are a few:
1. Audit & Assurance
One of the most sought-after job profiles for Chartered Accountants is Audit & Assurance. CAs can serve as auditors for multinational corporations, governmental organizations, accounting firms, and nonprofit institutions. They are also responsible for examining and evaluating financial statements, making recommendations for improvements to financial systems and practices, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
2. Taxation
Another typical career path for CPAs is in taxation. They might work for accounting firms, enterprises, or governmental organizations as tax advisors or managers. They, therefore, provide tax planning and compliance advice, file tax returns, and represent clients in tax audits.
3. Finance and Accounting
Financial analysts, financial controllers, and chief financial officers (CFO) are just a few of the accounting and finance professions that CAs might have. They are responsible for overseeing financial operations, creating financial plans, and offering financial advice to management.
4. Risk Management
Risk managers and internal auditors can both be chartered accountants. In addition, they are in charge of risk assessment, risk management strategy development, and legal and regulatory compliance.
5. Investment Banking
As investment bankers or corporate finance analysts, CAs are also employable. Additionally, they are in charge of conducting mergers and acquisitions, providing financial advice to clients, and raising capital for businesses.
6. Chief Financial Officer
A corporation or organization’s chief financial officer is the executive who is largely in charge of overseeing the management of the company’s finances, including financial planning, risk assessment, record-keeping, and financial reporting.

Career Opportunities After CMA Course

A few of the job profiles available to students with CMA certification are as follows:

  1. Cost Accountant

You will be responsible for evaluating and overseeing a company’s spending in your capacity as a cost accountant. Additionally, you’ll be in charge of developing cost accounting systems, gathering cost reports, and analyzing financial data to find ways to save costs.

  1. Financial Analyst

To make investment decisions, create financial predictions, and assess financial performance, a financial analyst must analyze financial data. Additionally, you will work directly with management to offer guidance and suggest financial strategies.

  1. Management Accountant

The management accountant is responsible for developing budgets, analyzing financial performance, and providing financial data that supports decision-making. You will offer management financial strategy advice and help them accomplish their goals.

  1. Financial Manager

As a financial manager, you will manage the financial operations of an organization, develop financial strategies, and give management financial advice. You will be in charge of the organization’s financial reporting and analytical tasks, as well as the observance of all laws and industry standards.

  1. Chief Accountants

The financial dealings of a firm are frequently the responsibility of the chief accountant. They are typically employed by government organizations, hospital billing divisions, banks, and retail businesses.

  1. Internal Auditor

The job of an internal auditor is to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of a company’s internal controls, risk management, and governance systems. To ensure compliance with pertinent laws and regulations, they assess the company’s financial and operational activities.

CA vs CMA: Which is Better?

The decision between CA and CMA relies on the individual’s interests, skills, and professional goals. These courses provide diverse career options in accounting, finance, and business, each with various advantages. The CA is a more rigorous and difficult course emphasizing on accounting and finance. Further, it provides worldwide recognition, earning potential, and a wider variety of employment prospects, including auditing, taxes, financial management, and consulting.

The choice between CA and CMA depends on the person’s interests, abilities, and career objectives. These courses offer a variety of lucrative employment choices in accounting, finance, and business. The CA is a highly demanding and challenging degree that has a strong emphasis on accounting and finance. Additionally, it offers greater job diversity, earning potential, and recognition on a global scale. Some other work opportunities include auditing, taxation, financial management, and consulting.

The CMA program has a strong emphasis on cost and management accounting and equips students with specialized knowledge and skills in cost control, planning, and decision-making. The CMA course is an option for students who want to focus on cost and management accounting. In order to choose between the CA and CMA, students should consider their interests, skills, and career objectives. To determine which course better satisfies their goals, it is essential to investigate the curricula, employment opportunities, and necessary skills of both.


Q1. Which profession has a better salary among CA, CMA and CS?

Ans: While CMA and CS freshmen make between 4-5 lakhs INR in their first month of employment, a CA obtains a beginning salary of 6-7 lakhs INR. The only difference between the three is the money, but they are all excellent career options.

Q2. Which course is more difficult CA and CMA?

Ans: Generally speaking, CA is regarded as being more challenging than CMA because of its demanding and comprehensive course structure and lower pass rate.

Q3. Can I do both CA and CMA courses?

Ans:Yes. Students have the option to choose between the CA and CMA programmes once they have passed their 10+2 exams. You must, however, be able to devote the same amount of time to each course.

Q4. What is the passing percentage for CA and CMA exams?

Ans:With 21.39% of Group 1 and 18.61% of Group 2 passing the CA test in November 2022, the overall pass percentage was 11.09%. 9.83% of students passed both sections of the CMA examinations in June 2022.