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What are The Differences between a CA, a CPA and a CMA?

When it comes to the designations given to accountants it can be hard to know what the differences are so that you know which services you should enlist for your needs. In this article we will give you an easy to understand breakdown of a CA, a CPA and a CMA so that you can better understand the differences and therefore make a solid choice.

CA (Chartered Accountant)

A CA is the most commonly used type of account by the general public. They are often hired to prepare tax returns and assist with audits, but this is not all that they can do. Chartered accountants are able to work in a variety of fields as well as personal and business finance. Their services range from basic financial planning and budgeting to estate planning. You can use the services of a chartered accountant for pretty much all of you personal and business financial needs.

CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

A CPA is an accountant who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accounting exam. What this means is that once they have passed the exam they are legally able to perform audits and provide attestation to the information on financial statements. Not to confuse you, but a CPA is the American equivalent to the British CA. Like the CA, a CPA is able to work in pretty much all areas of personal and business finances. They offer consulting services and can work on their own, within a firm or for a specific company or organization. And just as mentioned above about the CA, a CPA is also most commonly called upon to provide tax preparation services.

CMA (Certified Management Accountant)

A CMA is qualified in financial management as well as management accounting. They have to meet comprehensive training and certification requirements in order to receive their CMA title and are able to provide a variety of specialized services such as: business analysis, management accounting and reporting and strategic management. Unlike the other types of accountants listed above, a CMA receives training as an accountant with a strong focus on management and strategic planning.

Decideing which type of accountant best suits your needs depends on several factors such as whether or not your needs are of a personal nature or for your business. The type of guidance you’re looking for also makes a difference when it comes to trying to choose between a CA/CPA and a CMA. A chartered accountant or certified public accountant is more than capable of handling personal and commercial accounting needs of all kinds. A CMA on the other hand would be better suited to someone who requires the management expertise of a certified management accountant. For instance if you were looking for someone to manage your company’s financial team then a CMA would be the better choice.

Now that you understand the differences between these designations you can make a better informed choice when choosing an accountant.