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Cost and Management Accounting 2024: Complete Guide

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The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI), also referred to as ICMAI, offers a course called CMA, which stands for Cost and Management Accounting. Previously, this course was known as CWA, with CWA standing for Cost and Works Accounting. Despite the name changes, the organization responsible for the course in India has remained the same, originally known as the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI).

For students interested in managing and integrating the accounts of various departments within a company to optimize costs, the ICWA course is ideal. The CMA course spans three years and can be completed with or without formal training.

What is CMA Course?

The Cost and Management Accounting (CMA) certification course awards the CMA designation to those who successfully complete it. This credential opens up promising opportunities in business accounting. The CMA program is built on four core areas: Management, Regulatory Framework, Strategy, and Financial Reporting. To earn the CMA designation, candidates must pass the CMA exam, which is divided into three levels as outlined below:

  • Level 1: CMA Foundation
  • Level 2: CMA Intermediate
  • Level 3: CMA Final

CMA Full Form

The Cost and Management Accountant (CMA) designation, previously known as Cost and Work Accountant (CWA), is granted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI). Initially, the Institute was called the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI), and it conferred the CWA title to its successful candidates. The name was changed to align with equivalent designations worldwide, where similar roles are typically referred to as Certified Management Accountants (CMAs). This change aimed to ensure that CWA holders received recognition comparable to their international counterparts. Additionally, the course curriculum shifted to emphasize management accounting over works accountancy, keeping pace with advancing technologies and industry demands.

Difference Between CWA, CMA, ICMAI, and ICWAI

As previously mentioned, the ICAI offers the CMA course at three levels. CMA, which stands for Cost and Management Accountant, was previously known as Cost and Work Accountant (CWA). The institution providing the course has always been the same, although it was originally called the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). Later, ICWAI was renamed to the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India (ICMAI).

Therefore, there is no distinction between CWA and CMA; they refer to the same course, with the name having been updated in recent years. Similarly, ICWAI, ICMAI, and ICAI refer to the same institute, which has undergone name changes over time. Apart from these changes in terminology, the essence of the course and the institution has remained unchanged.

CMA Course Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria to apply for CMA exam at all three levels vary. Space below mentions the CMA course eligibility criteria for all three levels

CMA Foundation Eligibility Criteria

  • Have passed Class 10 or equivalent followed by Class 12 or equivalent
  • If they have received National Diploma in Commerce Examination (AICTE or by any recognised board)

CMA Intermediate Eligibility Criteria

  • Passed SSC or equivalent
  • Foundation or entry level of Common Admission Test (CAT) by Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI)
  • Graduation in any stream (except Fine Arts)
  • Even students who are awaiting results would pass CMA course eligibility

CMA Final Eligibility Criteria

  • Students who are done with their Intermediate level at school
  • Graduation in any stream (except Fine Arts)
  • Have passed all eight papers of the Intermediate course

CMA Course Fees and Duration

The entrance examination, the CMA exam, is held twice a year, once each in June and December. If a student wishes to apply for the June exam, they can apply before January 31 of the same year. For the December exam, the last date of application is July 31.

CMA Fee Type CMA Fee Type
Cost of prospectus
INR 250
CMA course fee

CMA Foundation course fee: INR 6,000

CMA Intermediate course fee: INR 23,100 or INR 12,000 at the time of registration and remaining to be paid before January 31 and July 31 for June and December term exams

CMA Final course fee: INR 25,000 or INR 15,000 at the time of registration and remaining to be paid before January 31 and July 31 for June and December term exams

CMA Exam

The CA Foundation Exams for the Institute of Chartered AccountaaCandidates enrolling in any of the three CMA courses must take an exam administered by the institute to progress to the next stage of the course. The ICMAI conducts the CMA exams in two sessions each year, in June and December. Candidates can choose to take the exam in either session, depending on their eligibility. All CMA students must complete the CMA exam form by a specified deadline to participate in the chosen session. Submission of the exam form also requires payment of the exam fee. nts of India (ICAI) will begin on the 14th of Dec 2024.

CMA Exam Fees

CMA Course CMA Exam Fee for Inland Centre Preference (in INR) CMA Exam Fee for Overseas Centre Preference (in USD)
1200 (for one group)
2400 (for two groups)
1400 (for one group)
2800 (for two groups)

CMA Exam Pattern

The table below mentions the CMA exam pattern for Foundation, Intermediate, and Final exams

CMA Exam Pattern Features CMA Foundation Exam Pattern CMA Inter Exam Pattern CMA Final Exam Pattern
Mode of exam
Offline Centre-Based Test
Offline Centre-Based Test
Offline Centre-Based Test
Type of questions
Total marks
100 (each subject)
100 (each subject)
100 (each subject)
CMA exam duration
120 minutes
180 minutes
180 minutes
Number of groups
Number of subjects
4 (in each group)
4 (in each group)

CMA Course Syllabus/Subjects

All three levels of the CMA course has different subjects. Candidates need to qualify the exam for all papers to get the CMA designation. An overview of entire CMA course structure is mentioned below:

  • First stage is CMA Foundation; candidates must pass four papers to clear the course level. Candidates can appear for the test of these four subjects in term of CMA exams
  • Second stage is the CMA Intermediate; the course level has two groups with the following features 
    • Group 1 has four papers; students can appear for all four in one term exam
    • Group 2 has four papers; students can appear for all four in one term exam
    • In some cases, candidates can also appear for both groups of CMA Intermediate exam in one term
  • Third stage is the CMA Final; similar to the intermediate level, Final course has two groups
    •  Group 3 has four papers; 
    • Group 4 has four papers. Candidates get to choose among three elective subjects for the last paper of Group IV.

CMA Syllabus for Foundation Course

Paper Number Subject Name
Paper 1
Fundamentals Of Business Laws and Business Communication (FBLC)
Paper 2
Fundamentals of Financial and Cost Accounting (FFCA)
Paper 3
Fundamentals of Business Mathematics and Statistics (FBMS)
Paper 4
Fundamentals of Business Economics and Management (FBEM)

CMA Syllabus for Intermediate Course

Paper Number Subject Name

Group 1

Paper 5
Business Laws & Ethics (BLE)
Paper 6
Financial Accounting (FA)
Paper 7
Direct and Indirect Taxation (DITX)
Paper 8
Cost Accounting (CA)
Paper Number Subject Name

Group 2

Paper 9
Operations Management and Strategic Management (OMSM)
Paper 10
Corporate Accounting and Auditing (CAA)
Paper 11
Financial Management and Business Data Analytics (FMDA)
Paper 12
Management Accounting (MA)

CMA Syllabus for Final Course

Paper Number Subject Name

Group 3

Paper 13
Corporate and Economic Laws (CEL)
Paper 14
Strategic Financial Management (SFM)
Paper 15
Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation (DIT)
Paper 16
Strategic Cost Management (SCM)
Paper Number Subject Name

Group 4

Paper 17
Cost and Management Audit (CMAD)
Paper 18
Corporate Financial Reporting (CFR)
Paper 19
Income Tax Laws and Practice (ITLP)
Paper 20 (one of the following)
Strategic Performance Management & Business Valuation (SPMBV)
Risk Management in Banking and Insurance (RMBI)
Entrepreneurship and Start-Up (ENTS)
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