Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)

An organization that provides finance and accounting professionals with education and development opportunities

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What is the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)?

The Institute for Management Accountants (IMA) is an organization that provides finance and accounting professionals with education and development opportunities. The organization strives to help certify, connect, develop, and support the world’s best accountants and finance professionals.

The IMA is best known for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. It also supplies an active professional network, well-respected journals and newsletters, and other resources to its members.

Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)

The Institute for Management Accountants is a global association with finance and accounting professionals across the world. It lists members working across various industries for non-profits, private companies, public companies, and academic institutions. The IMA comprises over 125,000 members across 150 countries and more than 300 professional and student chapters.

The Institute for Management Accountants’ vision is to align their organization with five core values: respect for the individual, passion for serving members, highest standards of integrity and trust, innovation and continuous improvement, and teaming to achieve.

The organization strives to uphold all of these values and practices at the business community’s highest ethical standards. Their values also include a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion to foster healthy and mutual respect between individuals.

Membership Benefits

Membership at the Institute for Management Accountants comes with many benefits, including free courses, additional paid courses (e.g., CMA), career advice and support, research resources, and more. A prospective member joins a network of respected business professionals that can help advance their career.


The Institute for Management Accountants came into existence a little over a century ago. Founded in 1919 in Buffalo, N.Y., the IMA was first known as the National Association for Cost Accountants (NACA) to help cultivate cost accounting knowledge and understand their management roles.

In 1957, its name changed to the National Association of Accountants (NAA). By 1991, the association would change its name to what it is known as today, the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA).

The organization’s grown outside of the U.S. and into a worldwide association of professionals. There are regional offices in China, Middle East/Africa, India, Europe, Southeast Asia, and a global office in the United States. A more detailed breakdown of the IMA timeline and growth can be found on their website.

Service Offerings

IMA’s two main certificates are the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and the CSCA (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis), a secondary building block after achieving the CMA designation.

The requirements for the CMA are as follows:

  • Candidates must be an active IMA member and successfully complete parts 1 and 2 of the CMA Exam;
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university;
  • Uphold the IMA’s statement of ethical professional practice; and
  • Obtain two continuous years of professional experience in financial management or management accounting.

The CSCA is a continuation of the CMA designation to help expand the strategic knowledge and planning processes, helping complement the CMA learnings.

Earning both designations takes a significant time commitment. IMA recommends, on average, 12-18 months of study time and 150-170 hours of study per part (two parts). The global pass rate is 50%, and on average, 4,000 CMAs are awarded each year globally. However, the CMA and CSCA both provide value and increased career advancement opportunities.

Based on an IMA survey, members found that they earn, on average, almost $27,000 more in total compensation compared to non-CMAs. At the end of the day, the CMA takes a significant amount of commitment and monetary investment. However, it can provide an excellent return professionally once achieved. 

What is a Management Accountant?

Management accountants track a company’s income and expenses and often take on significant responsibility and decision-making authority. Some responsibilities include helping manage and analyze investment risk, strategic planning, budgeting, keeping general accounting records, and other decision-making duties.

Management accountants prepare data internally for a company to help make educated decisions to boost net income. This is what separates a management accountant from a financial accountant or public accountant.

Often, management accountants will oversee a team of other accountants who take care of more basic accounting tasks. A good management accountant will find trends and areas of growth/improvement for their firm regarding its risk, financing, and other areas of the company. Some companies encourage their accountants to pursue the CMA as it provides their employees with more detailed accounting knowledge and recognition.

The Institute of Management Accountants caters towards management accountants, as the name states, but is not limited to purely that profession.


The Institute for Management Accountants is a top-rated association for accounting and business professionals. It provides prestigious designations to the members that choose to pursue them and many other benefits, including career support, a vast professional network, research sources, and much more. Founded in 1919, IMA is known to uphold a high ethical standard and provide extensive value to its members.

Additional Resources

CFI offers the Certified Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)® certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and developing your knowledge base, please explore the additional relevant resources below:

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