Recipe For CMA Success

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A common conundrum for many of us: Is Cost and Management Accountant (CMA) profession, a worthwhile one? Let us be frank. Who are CMA competitors? Mainly, the Chartered Accountants (CAs) or the MBA (Finance) from the top-20 management institutes.

Whether you are in practice or service, I would like to let you know upfront: our professional qualification is adequate to face the challenges of today’s business world. What we need, is polishing ourselves in several areas to make us sharper and more efficacious.

I suggest you to ponder over the following ‘things to do list’:  

  1. Presentable presentation skills: We are as good as our communication. Cogent and simple Power-Point presentations in English (mostly) is an important success-key. This is one area, where many MBAs score over us – they have practical exposures in making presentations while studying – while we don’t get that opportunity. One tip: Each presentation chart should ideally contain only ‘one’ point. No clutter please, which is a common tendency.
  2. Accounting abilities: Yes, you are CMAs, expected to know and carryout costing work. But, the basis of any information or MIS is accounting data. Ability to prepare and interpret accounting information is very important. Learn and practice ERPs – be it SAP or Oracle. You need to have the ability to handle the ‘machine’ stuff.
  3. It’s all about money, honey: This is one area where each one of you must make endeavor to gain experience and expertise. Our fraternity is expected to “raise funds” – be it debt or equity. There are myriad of investors – PE funds, venture capitalists and fund managers. Ability to raise money and present convincingly and simply, the company story and future-plans, is of utmost importance.  

Present plausible picture: Bird’s eye view without missing the crucial details, is the heart of a good MIS. It is you, the finance team, who will know the full picture. Prepare persuasive, simple and timely update of cost, revenue, profits, debtors and outstanding liabilities. Looks easy but it’s a difficult task to explain business going-on to people who are usually not trained to interpret numbers – the top management.  

  1. Taxing tax: No commercial activities can be run without some tax implications. Knowing both direct and indirect (eg GST) tax incidence are crucial. Decision making can get hindered if tax angle is not considered.
  2. EQ more important than IQ: All of you have reasonable Intelligence Quotient (IQ), or else it would not have been possible to pursue the CMA course. But what is more critical is the Emotional Quotient (EQ), which many of us lack. It is the ability to perceive, assimilate and understand others’ emotions and adjust to it. It is all about dealing with other people, their thoughts, sentiments and feelings. Good leaders have high EQ.
  3. Practice good grooming: It is just not enough to be knowledgeable and understanding. We need to present ourselves professionally, to the business world, every day. Dress well; men – don’t forget to shave and have well-groomed hair; for women – reasonable makeup and hair do. Office is not a party-place. So be sensible in what you wear, how you smell and look.

Be a rounded personality, with common sense, ability to communicate, reasonable knowledge, good EQ and presentable looks.  Top it up with ‘positive attitude’.

Consciously practice the above – your success as a CMA is assured! I promise you.


Article published in: WIRC Bulletin of Sept 2018: The Institute of Cost Accountants of India.

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