IMA plans to update CMA exam with more of a tech focus

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The Institute of Management Accountants is making changes to its Certified Management Accountant exam, adding more of a technology focus to the CMA test starting in January 2020.

The IMA’s certification division, the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, or ICMA, is planning to beef up the exam with more questions about data analytics and other forms of technology, and place greater emphasis on ethics and decision making.

The updated CMA exam will continue to be divided into two parts, with each section containing 100 multiple-choice questions and two essays. The ICMA sees a greater need to include the impact of technology on the profession on the exam. As a result, 15 percent of Part 1 will be a “Technology and Analytics” section. Part 1 will now be called “Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics” and include content focusing on external financial reporting decisions, planning, budgeting and forecasting, performance and cost management, and internal controls. The new content will include integrated reporting, but older content on internal auditing will be removed.

The revisions to Part 2 of the exam will put more emphasis on ethics and strategic decision-making. Part 2 will now be known as “Strategic Financial Management” and include content on financial statement analysis, corporate finance, risk management and investment decisions. The new content will include business ethics, sustainability and social responsibility. In turn, some content will be deleted, including off-balance sheet financing, bankruptcy and the tax implications of transfer pricing.

Last year, the ICMA and its Board of Regents undertook an independent Job Analysis Study and developed a survey on the knowledge needed of management accountants on the job. The responses came from more than 2,000 professionals around the world and will be reflected in the updated exam in January 2020.

“We are always tracking changes in the profession to keep the CMA exam relevant,” said ICMA senior vice president of certifications, exams and content integration Dennis Whitney in a statement. “This Job Analysis showed that the current exam is comprehensive but needs more coverage in technology and data analytics. We are making the adjustment as both areas are becoming more important for management accountants.”

The current version of the English language exam for the CMA will be offered until Oct. 31, 2019, while the current version of the Chinese language CMA exam will be offered through Nov. 30, 2019.

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