How is the CMA Changing in 2020?

Starting January 1, 2010, the content of the CMA exams is changing. The changes include the deletion of a few topics and the addition of more relevant topics.  These changes align the CMA exam content with the requirements of the management accounting profession today. The role of technology is emphasized in part 1, while the importance of business ethics and corporate social responsibility is highlighted in part 2.

Topics that are no longer relevant to management accountants were deleted, such topics include internal auditing, off-balance sheet financing and tax effect of transfer pricing. Here is a detailed comparison between the current and 2020 exam outlines.

Part 1 Changes

New Content: Technology and Analytics, Integrated Reporting
Deleted Content: Internal Auditing


Part 1 Current Outline   Part 1 2020 Outline  
Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics
A.     External Financial Reporting Decisions 15% A.     External Financial Reporting Decisions 15%
B.      Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting 30% B.     Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting 20%
C.     Performance Management 20% C.     Performance Management 20%
D.     Cost Management 20% D.    Cost Management 15%
E.      Internal Controls 15% E.      Internal Controls 15%
  F.      Technology and Analytics 15%



Part 2 Changes

New Content: Business Ethics, Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Deleted Content: Off-Balance Sheet Financing, Bankruptcy, Tax Implications of Transfer Pricing

Part 2 Current Outline   Part 2 2020 Outline  
Financial Decision Making Strategic Financial Management
A.     Financial Statement Analysis 25% A.     Financial Statement Analysis 20%
B.      Corporate Finance 20% B.      Corporate Finance 20%
C.     Decision Analysis 20% C.     Decision Analysis 25%
D.     Risk Management 10% D.     Risk Management 10%
E.      Investment Decisions 15% E.      Investment Decisions 10%
F.      Professional Ethics 10% F.      Professional Ethics 15%

How will the changes affect your preparation plan?

The changes will apply to the exam in the first testing window of 2020 (January – February).

  • Sitting for an exam before January 2020?

Part 1: Sitting for this part before the changes take effect would be a good idea, since there is more new content in this part.

Part 2: The difference between the current and new content is minimal; the differences are mostly in concentration. Therefore, the changes wouldn’t affect your study plan that much. If you have already planned to take part 2 in 2020, we advise you not to change your plans.

  • Sitting for both exams before January 2020?

The CMA exam is a rigorous exam; thus, we don’t advise you to sit for the exam without sufficient preparation.  If you have already started studying and you feel confident about sitting for both parts in the September – October testing window, then go ahead. If you haven’t started preparing for the exams yet, we advise you to sit for one part in the upcoming testing window, and the second part in the window after it. Passing part 1 in 2019 will minimize the total study hours you need to get your CMA certificate.

Exam seats are limited; if you are planning to sit for an exam in the September – October testing window, you need to schedule your exam as soon as possible. Most students try to schedule their exams in the last available days of the testing window to get more study days, which leads to those seats being the first that get booked.

Watch the recording of our webinar about the 2020 changes to get the full details.

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