If you have a financial controller, your hiring department likely recruited a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). While controllers have historically been CPAs, a growing body of professionals believe that a CPA license isn’t a requirement in every case. Those professionals agree that the CMA certification is a great alternative for a variety of reasons.
A Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is an expert in financial accounting and strategic management. The focus on strategic management, which includes decision-making, makes CMAs better financial controllers.
The role of the financial controller is growing
Today’s financial controllers handle more than accounting, and their roles aren’t fixed. In the past, a financial controller would mostly monitor a company’s finances. Today, they analyze data and advise senior management on maximizing revenue.
Small businesses must make sound financial decisions to grow, and it’s priceless to have a financial controller that can help with those decisions.
CMA-certified financial controllers are an upgrade
If this concept sounds new, you might be wondering if a CMA license is less than a CPA license. The answer is no – they’re just different. Having a CMA-certified financial controller will actually be an upgrade for your organization. While both certifications share some similarities, each license has a different focus, and neither are easy to obtain.
Both CPAs and CMAs go through a rigorous process to obtain their professional license. For example, CMAs need to study hard for around 300 hours and take a CMA prep course to pass the exam on the first try. It’s a big commitment.
CMAs are better suited for modern financial controller positions
The financial controller role has evolved exponentially in the last decade. Today’s controllers are involved in strategizing, advising, and making decisions. In addition to analyzing data and assisting senior management with decision-making, some financial controllers are also involved in IT or business development.
Businesses that adopt an expansive controller role tend to make better financial decisions because they have the guidance they need.
Are you limiting your financial controller to accounting tasks?
While there’s nothing wrong with having a CPA-certified financial controller on your team, you really need a CMA to take your business to the next level. Your competitors are probably being advised by a CMA and it’s in your best interest to do the same.
A CMA has more than just financial accounting proficiency. They’ve got management skills and are adept at making strategic data-driven business decisions. Thanks to their ability to see deeply into data patterns, they often prepare detailed reports and analysis that help individual business departments and employees.
For a real-world example of how a CMA can help your business, check out this example provided by Investopedia. In summary, the article describes an entrepreneur managing a small construction supply company who wants to bid on a contract, but would need to hire more people to make it work.
She hires a CMA whose skills in budgeting, forecasting, performance management, internal controls, and cost measurement help her manage the costs, procedures, and logistics that come with expansion. As a bonus, her CMA helps her see the true profitability of her projects so she can make better decisions about where to spend money, time, and energy.
If you want to grow, you need a CMA on your team
Hiring a CMA is a smart business decision that will help you grow as a company. As dedicated financial advisors, CMAs are a major asset to any company.
If you’re considering hiring a CMA, don’t worry – you don’t need to let go of your CPA (unless they’re not fulfilling their duties). You can always hire a CMA advisor and place them in a separate role. In the future, if your existing financial controller leaves, you can move the CMA into the controller position.
Strategic thinking is your key to successful growth
Strategic thinking is how successful businesses grow. When you hire a CMA, you’ll have a team member with expertise in strategic thinking. CMAs are trained leaders; to get certified, they must complete a two-year leadership program while working in their field.
A CMA’s training to be a leader and decision-maker makes them prepared for growing within their role and with the company, which makes them highly valuable.
If your business isn’t growing as fast or as big as you’d like, it’s time to hire a Certified Management Accountant to help you make that happen.