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Why organizations need CMAs


By Rebecca Langdon

We all know that the days of organizations surviving based on tactical decision-making is over. Strategic decision making must be core within an organization if it is to prosper in today’s tumultuous and rapidly changing environment. The days of keeping some functions in the rhetorical basement are over. Teams such as marketing, accounting, HR, and operations, are now seen as having essential seats at the table when an organisation is strategizing. I believe that management accountants, particularly CMAs, are being seen increasingly as a key contributor to strategic decisions.


  1. The numbers don’t lie

I say this with some jest, as of course there are instances where numbers can be misleading. However the feasibility of all strategies is dependent on the cost model, i.e. what is it going to cost to implement, and what will the return be in the short, medium, and long term. A management accountant has the requisite skills to profile the costs associated with a strategy.

  1. Performance management

A key part of the CMA syllabus is performance management. This covers performance evaluation, variance analysis, and use of key performance indicators and balanced scorecards. CMA’s are trained to produce budgets and then measure deviations from those budgets. To ensure monetary control of strategies, budgeting and forecasting is of fundamental importance.

  1. Decision making

Another element of the CMA syllabus is decision analysis. This teaches the budding accountants to use financial data to perform analysis for the decision making process. This includes a number of tools and techniques which all contribute to strategic decisions, such as cost volume profit analysis, marginal analysis, make vs buy decisions, and pricing methodologies.

  1. Financing decisions

Many new strategies will require financing. This may be from internal funds, or perhaps a new funding round, or maybe a bank loan. There will be a piece of analysis that needs to be undertaken to ascertain which type of finance best suits the particular strategy. CMAs are trained to undertake this analysis, underpinned by the key concept of risk and return. They also have an operational understanding of short and long term financial management, in addition of the pros and cons of major financial instruments.


Above are just 4 of the reasons why CMA qualified professionals are so fundamental to the strategic decision making process within an organisation. There are of course many more. It is positive to see that there has been a seismic shift in the last decade in terms of how accountants are viewed and if you are interested in undertaking the CMA qualification, have a read through the content here.


CPA vs. CMA: Which One’s For You?

The two professional designations CPA (Certified Professional Accountant) and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) both offer a route to higher earnings and a career path with great prospects, so knowing which one to pursue can feel confusing. While they share some things in common, they are also quite different – read on to find out what sets them apart and which one could be right for you.

Who’s who

CPA is a globally recognized certification to practice public accounting and auditing but is licensed by US state boards of accountancy. Students from abroad generally choose which US state they want to apply through, and each state has its own requirements to meet. The CPA is an in-demand certification in the accountancy field.

CMA is a global credential, which indicates that its holder is versed in areas such as financial planning and analysis, cost accounting, budgeting and forecasting, and financial reporting. Generally it distinguishes professionals with a finance and accounting background as suitable for positions such as financial, business or systems analyst.

Similar, but…

What the two designations have in common is both involve passing a series of exams, as well as requiring the completion of educational and professional experience.

The CPA consists of an exam in four parts - Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) - all of which must be passed for success. In total they represent 14 hours of testing and must all be taken within an 18-month timeframe after taking and passing the first part.

The CMA is a two-part exam spread over eight hours and all parts must be taken within three years of joining the CMA Program. Although at least two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management are required, you can sit the exam prior to satisfying these requirements. Proof of work experience must be provided before CMA certification is granted, though.

What’s your background?

To qualify for the CMA a bachelor’s degree is required. This makes it somewhat of an easier option to those who have a background in finance, marketing or economics but who don’t meet the CPA requirement of a substantial number of accounting hours/courses needed to sit the exam. Most US states require a total of 120 credits hours to be able to sit for the exam, or 150 hours of coursework to obtain the license (in addition to a bachelor's degree).

How easy is it to pass?

In the Middle East the CPA has an approximate pass rate of 40% depending on the section taken (the FAR and REG sections have a pass rate slightly above that). Globally the 2014 pass rates for CPA ranged from 46.35% for AUD up to 55.46% for BEC.

CPA pass rates may sound disheartening but they’re actually much higher than those for CMA. According to the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, pass rates for the CMA in the Middle East and Africa were 21% for Part 1 and 37% for Part 2 in 2014. That compares with a respective pass rate of 35% and 49% globally over the same period.

How will certification boost your earnings?

If you are wondering whether the investment of pursuing CPA accreditation is worth it, one answer lies in the salary expectations. Research shows that professionally certified accountants can expect to earn anything from 5% to 15% more than uncertified accountants. A newly qualified finance accountant in the UAE can expect a basic salary of around US$5,000 per month, according to Morgan McKinley.

Following two comprehensive surveys in 2010 and 2012 of current and prospective CMAs in the Middle East, the IMA revealed some interesting figures. Firstly, it noted that annual basic salaries for CMAs had risen by 77% since 2010. The median annual basic salary came in at US$21,250 in 2012, but with a wide disparity when looked at on a country by country basis. In the UAE, for example, this salary had an average of US$57,500, while in Egypt the average salary was US$6,610. Putting geography aside, perhaps the most eye-catching piece of information is that CMAs earn 50% more in salary than non-CMAs. According to the report, “the benefits of CMA certification can be very substantial” and “the difference in pay between CMAs and non-CMAs is even more striking when work experience is considered”.

Which is more popular?

Just a look at the numbers will indicate that CMAs are much rarer than CPAs: there are 20,000 CMAs worldwide, a small drop in the ocean compared to the more than 300,000 CPAs in the United States alone. But the accreditation should not be looked at in terms of popularity, as either of the two signifies that its title holder is distinguished in his or her field. Whichever you choose, you can be sure you are pursuing a certification that opens up growing opportunities in professional fields that are increasingly in demand.

Still not sure which one's for you? Schedule your free one-on-one consultation session to find out!


9 Steps to Detect Fraud Like a Pro


By Aimee Mhaolcraoibhe

If you are the accountant of a business it is your responsibility to be able to identify a fraudulent transaction if it occurs. There are many types of factors that an accountant would look for to determine if there has been fraud in the business. Namely the accountant will look for:

Unusual transactions

Any business will develop a routine over time which will be borne out in the bookkeeping; when a change happens to the natural flow of the accounts it is something that should be reviewed to determine the reason for it.

Employees acting unusually

If an employee has acted in a fraudulent manner towards the company their stability usually goes out the window – too many holiday days and sick days or leaving early when the accountant is in are all signs that something could be wrong.

Refunds that happen more than once to the same people

If there are names that continually show up as having gained a refund from the business that could imply that fraud is taking place.

Unbalanced general ledgers

Everything should add up within a general ledger and when it does not it can mean that fraud has taken place.

Too many purchases

If the amount that a business is paying to any supplier is unduly large in relation to past experience, they could be trying to funnel money to use to convert funds or pay off a purchasing agent.

Ghost employees

If there is a name of someone on the payroll whom the accountant has never seen and cannot trace, this can be an instance of fraud.

Paying bills twice

Duplicate payments can be a way of hiding a different financial transaction.

Shortage in inventory

If there is less inventory in stock, then what shows as existing in the books it could be that the inventory was fraudulently sold.

Write offs

Writing off a receivable can be an indication of something fraudulent as well.

This is not a complete list but it shows the types of factors that make an accountant become aware that fraud has taken place. Through ongoing monitoring, it becomes obvious when something unusual occurs and at those times consideration of fraud is always a factor.

For those of you who may be interested in a formal qualification, we would welcome you to take a look at the various accounting and finance certification we offer.


Cooking the Books: What Every Accountant Should Know About Fraud,


Gain and maintain the CMA Credential

By Rebecca Langdon

You have decided you want a career in management accounting, and perhaps you have already decided upon the CMA program. You may have even completed one or more of the prerequisites to pass the program and gain the accreditation. As a quick reminder, these are the prerequisites:

  • Maintain membership in IMA.
  • Entrance into the CMA program.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university or a related professional certification.
  • Two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management.
  • Complete and pass Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam.
  • Abide by The IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

Assuming you already have a degree, the main effort required will be to pass your exams and also ensure you have two continuous years of experience. Once you are fully qualified, to maintain the accreditation you will need to:

  • Maintain your membership
  • Continue to abide by The IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice
  • Undertake 30 hours (including two in ethics training) of CPE credits annually

Perhaps you already have a job you are happy in, or you are seeking your first Accounting role, or maybe you are looking to move to a new organisation. At Morgan International we are first and foremost a training institute and we offer candidates the opportunity to undertake the CMA program. However, we also proudly offer Morgan Connect which is an excellent online platform which brings together qualified candidates with potential employers. It is free of charge for Morgan alumni who have passed their exams, and it can be used to search for new roles and interact with a wealth of globally reputed employers.


Top 7 Reasons to Sit for the CPA exam before April 2017


By Rebecca Langdon

As you may or may not know, the format of the CPA exam is going to change from April 2017. There are a number of reasons why it would be beneficial to sit before the format changes. These are the top 6 reasons:

  • The new exam is expected to be harder


The current exam tests two core skill sets; knowledge and understanding, and application. However the new format will test four core skill sets; remembering and understanding, application, analysis, and evaluation. The additional testing of analysis and evaluation will increase the difficulty of the exam as these are considered to be higher cognitive skills.

  • Task-based simulations are increasing


The AICPA will increase task-based simulations from 40% to 50% on the FAR, AUD and REG exams. They will introduce task-based simulations to the BEC exam.

  • Multiple choice questions will decrease


The number of multiple choice questions will reduce to make way for task-based simulations which encourage critical thinking.

  • You will have to wait longer for your results


The AICPA has indicated a 10 week delay after the initial testing window when the new exam is released. This means you will have a gruelling wait to know if you have passed or now.

  • The testing time will increase from 14 to 16 hours


This is to make way for the reduction in multiple choice questions, and the increase in simulations.

  • The exam will be more expensive


As the testing time is increasing, the exams will be more expensive.

  • Get your career started!


The sooner you pass the CPA, the sooner you can receive your accreditation and kick start your career.

Plan to Pass before April 2017

You may be reading this and have passed none of the exams yet, or perhaps you are part way through. The good news is that if you are ready to sit your exams and want to finish before the new exam format is introduced, it is entirely possible. As an example you could sit the exams as follows:

  • First section: beginning of September
  • Second section: end of October
  • Third section: beginning of November
  • Fourth section: end of January

This timetable provides a break in December, but also leaves some time in case of any retakes. This timetable may seem compact, but it is entirely possible, particularly with the support of Morgan. We offer a range of study options and can help you to fast track your learning with the aim of passing all of your exams before the format changes.


What Are Your Job Options as a CMA?

By Rebecca Langdon

Accredited management accountants hold various roles within organisations. It is not the case that a CMA will always be a Management Accountant for life. The combination of skills including accounting, finance, and management, opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Within this article we look at the top 6 career choices for CMA’s.

  1. Management Accountant

The most obvious starting position is that of a Management Accountant. This may include reporting, analysis, forecasting, and budgeting. You may also get involved with project level accounting.

  1. Management Consultant

The skill set of a CMA lends itself very well to the role of a Management Consultant. In this role you will be often get to meet a variety of different clients, and you may even travel internationally.

  1. Financial trader

Many ‘Bankers’ and financial traders have an accounting qualification such as the CMA. Having a strong grasp of maths is essential to being a successful trader.

  1. Business strategist

The CMA equips candidates with the skill set they need to produce and test the feasibility of organizational strategies.

  1. Auditor

Many accountants become auditors. This may be an internal auditor or it would be working for an audit practice who are responsible for auditing the financial statements of their clients.

  1. Longer term call – CEO, Managing Director or Executive Board Member

Did you know that around 25% of FTSE 100 CEO’s are qualified accountants? Qualified accountants make for very successful leaders.

In Summary

It is a really exciting time to be an accountant, particularly one that is CMA accredited. There are a whole host of exciting professions that are calling out for qualified professionals. If you would like to undertake the CMA, or just know more, please take a look at our website where you will find lots of useful information.


5 Reasons Accountants Make Successful Entrepreneurs

By Erika Murigi


Heard the term accountpreneur? Today, more and more accountants are becoming

entrepreneurs in their own right. Applying the skills and attributes developed in their

training and practice has seen many an accountant become successful business owners

and here’s why:


Accountants are trained to have the ideal skill set 

In today’s economic climate, becoming a successful business owner requires more than

a creative idea and go-getting spirit. Many of the practical skills required to be a

business owner today are already embedded in accountancy training and practice.

Communication skills, teamwork, time management and being able to work in a logical

manner are all examples of accountancy skills that transfer well to running a business.

Furthermore, accountancy training and professional development adapts to new and

emerging business trends such as risk and compliance management, new IT systems or

even technology and social media.


Every business needs an accountant 

As a non-accountant business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of the

business, take uninformed financial risks and overlook the importance of tax regulations.

Accountancy skills and financial knowledge are incredibly valuable to an entrepreneur

because you have the expertise to grow a profitable, lawful enterprise. Furthermore, as

an accountant you understand the difference between profit and cash flow and even

those areas of accountancy that aren’t your specialism. The foundation provided by your

accountancy training will keep you in good stead as a business owner.


Accountants understand the mechanics of business

Because they are required to know the ins and outs of a business, accountants are in

the rare position of having comprehensive insight into how a company functions. From

this position they are able to help make business decisions. They know when to

encourage a calculated risk, maximise a business return or suggest taking a more

prudent approach in order to keep business stable. Possessing such expertise as an

entrepreneur can make all the difference in seeing a business soar to success or fail



Accountants know how to maximise resources

Accountants are used to being told to find a way for the company to do more, with less.

Unless you’re starting out with a huge amount of capital, entrepreneurs often have to get

their enterprise off the ground with insufficient resources. Entrepreneurs with a

background in accountancy can balance budgets, assess risk and plan an accurate

financial strategy much better than someone lacking in such expertise. This means

much more freedom as a business owner as your innate financial knowledge means you

can spend more energy on other aspects of running a business.


Accountants are trusted 

Need investors? Tell any potential funder that you have a background in accountancy

and they’ll feel more comfortable knowing that you have the expertise in looking after

finances. They’ll have more confidence in your ability to maximise on their investment

and expect that any risks you take will be calculated and in the best interests of the



Accountancy training offers many of the skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.

Furthermore, having an accountancy background means you will always have a

profession to fall back on to self-fund your enterprise or make additional income.

Learn more about the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.



5 Sure Signs a Career in Accountancy is for You


By Erika Murigi


Accountancy is a profession in high demand. Every business and organisation, large

and small, requires an accountant at some point, if not all the time. Furthermore, it’s a

career that offers opportunities around the world, a healthy salary and life-long career

progression. But is it for you? Here are 5 sure signs you should be an accountant:


You’re a maths wizard

Being an accountant doesn’t mean having to do trigonometry or algebra equations in

your head but you do need to have a better than average understanding of maths to get

to grips with the technical aspects of accountancy. While nowadays you’re more likely to

be using a calculator and spreadsheets to do your number crunching, you can’t always

rely on technology and you still need to be efficient with numbers to ensure accuracy.


Details are your friend 

Whether you work in-house, as a consultant or at an accountancy firm with multiple

clients, being able to analyse and provide a detailed balance sheet, a cash flow

breakdown or an explanation of a federal tax process will have to be second nature. If

you are conscientious, focused on accuracy and meticulous about details, whether it’s

the bottom line of a budget or the intricacies of tax regulation, then it’s likely you’ll excel

in accountancy.


You enjoy structure and deadlines 

As an accountant being able to work to a deadline is a particularly important skill. A huge

part of the job is deadline driven. Month-end management accounts, annual accounts,

tax returns, are all examples of when work has to be completed by a set date, no

excuses. Conversely, the day-to- day aspect of the job is often highly structured.

Processes are run daily, quarterly, annually; the same operational procedures take place

over and over again within set timeframes. But, if you’re a result driven person who

derives satisfaction from completing time-sensitive projects, under pressure then a

career in accountancy might just be for you.


You don’t mind being the go-to person 

Finance is one of the most important aspects of business with accountancy providing its

language. When management wants to know, or explain, why something went wrong,

why an acquisition should move forward or why redundancies have to happen to pull a

business out of the red, they turn to their accountants. Everything in business comes

down to the numbers, which means that accountants are often in the hot seat to present

the details behind decisions in an understandable fashion to non-accounting

professionals, which means being a good communicator will also take you far!


You believe in following the rules

Accountants are required to follow the rules. Tax codes, regulations, processes – it’s a

career that doesn’t reward creative rule breaking and with good reason. Accountants

bear the responsibility of a company’s financial health and ensuring its financial records

are accurate and honest. The job requires being able to sticking to the rules, working

with integrity and to a highly ethical code of practice.


Are you considering becoming a professional accountant? We offer several accountancy qualifications

to help take your career to the next level. Find out more.


Depreciation and Impairment of Property, Plant and Equipment-02

Depreciation and Impairment of Property, Plant and Equipment


By Rebecca Langdon


In this article we are going to take a look at depreciation and impairment of property, plant and

equipment under IFRS. Specifically, we are interested in how assets are recognized and accounted

for. Property, plant and equipment (PPE) are tangible assets held by an entity for their own use or

for rental to others. They are also expected to be held by the entity for more than one period.


Depreciation under IFRS

The depreciable amount should be allocated on a systematic basis throughout the useful life of the

PPE asset. The useful life of an asset and the residual value should be reviewed periodically. Where

the result of the review differs from the estimate, the change should be accounted for under IAS 8.


Depreciation starts from when the asset is enabled for the use intended by the company.


Depreciation will cease at the earlier of its derecognition or it being reclassified as being held for

sale. Derecognition refers to the asset being sold or scrapped. In the event of the PPE asset being

temporarily idle, that does not result in depreciation ceasing, as it is recognized that the asset may

hold future economic benefit for the organization.


Impairment under IFRS

Just a quick recap then on what an impairment is; it is an amount by which the carrying amount of

the PPE asset exceeds its recoverable amount. The carrying amount is the recognised value of the

asset on the balance sheet after accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses are

recognised. Impairment is accounted for according to the principles set out in IAS 36. IAS 36 seeks to

ensure that an entity’s assets are not carried at more than the recoverable value. Under IAS 36

companies are required to carry out impairment tests where there is any indication of an impaired



We hope thishas served as a useful recap for those of you that are studying already, and for those of

you who may be interested in a certified finance or accounting qualification, we would welcome you

to take a look at the DipIFR and CPA course outlines.

Investment Securities and How to Account for Them-02

Understanding Investment Securities and How to Account for Them


By Rebecca Langdon


There are three different categories of investment securities that you need to be aware of if you are

going to be sitting your CFA, or CPA exam; or perhaps you are reading this article because you have a

general interest in the topic. We will also explain how to account for them.


1) Trading securities

These are securities that a company intends to buy and sell to achieve a short term profit. These

securities should be accounted for at their fair market value. Any gains and losses should be

included on the income statement and will be classified as unrealised holding gains or loses. In

terms of the balance sheet, the counter account will allow for the adjusted short term



2) Held to maturity

This class of securities is held by a company that intends to hold them until they mature. In

terms of accounting treatment, they should be accounted for at cost, which is the purchase

price plus communions and any other fees. Gains and losses are only accounted for upon sale of

the securities.


3) Available for sale

This category is similar to ‘trading securities’ and is generally a default category. The key

difference between available for sale and trading relates to how changes in value are

recognised. As we have already said, for trading securities, any changes in value will be recorded

in the income statement. Whereas for available for sale securities all changes in value are noted

in a special account called “unrealised gain/loss in other comprehensive income.” Therefore the

income statement itself is not affected.


We hope this has served as a useful recap for those of you that are studying already, and for those of

you who may be interested in a finance or accounting qualification, we would welcome you to take a

look at the CPA and CFA course outlines.