CMA vs. CPA | Similarities and Differences

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Learn more about the CMA and CPA certifications as two Rider MACC professors discuss an overview of each, similarities and differences.

Transcript

AJ:

Good morning, everybody. My name is AJ. I’m one of the enrollment advisors here with Rider University. Thank you so much for joining us today. Today we’re going to be having our live webinar for the Master’s of Accounting program with the CPA and CMA discussion. Today I’m joined by two special guests in our accounting program. I have… One second here. Sorry. I have Ms. Betsy Haywood-Sullivan and Devon Baranek. Thank you all so much for joining us today. Just a heads up for everybody here, we do have a live Q and A box for this webinar, so if at any point if you have any questions, just feel free to post that in there, and we’ll address those kind of as they come in. All right, so at this point I’ll let my guests introduce themselves. Betsy, would you like to start?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Sure. I’m just going to pull up my slide there. So thanks for having me. I’m Betsy Haywood-Sullivan. I’ve been at Rider since 2001, and we’re going to be talking about the CPA exam and the CMA exam. I have both of those designations, and in the Master of Accountancy program I teach issues in managerial accounting. So that’s kind of my area there that you guys might see me in.

Devon Baranek:

Hi, guys. My name is Devon Baranek. I have been at Rider for four years. I teach financial accounting, managerial accounting. I do some auditing, and in the Master’s program I’ve been teaching financial statement analysis. I’m a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania, and I’ve had that designation for about 10 years.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So I guess we’ll go ahead and get started. I’m going to be talking about the CMA primarily. And so the CMA stands for certified management accountant. It’s geared towards working in financial and operational information to facilitate organizational decision-making. So we’re looking at more people who want to be CFOs, controllers, finance managers. And so these are the people who provide trusted sources of information to their organizations. To be a CMA, you need a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience. And one thing about the CMA, you don’t have to have an accounting degree or even certain classes in accounting to take the test. So I’m always trying to encourage accountants, but also finance majors, economic majors or even general business majors to consider taking the CMA exam because it is a broader type of certification. It’s granted by the Institute of Management Accountants, and where you can take these exams is at those permitted testing centers. So on the slide, we have the link of where that could be. And one thing that Rider’s really proud of is last year in the IMAs key publication Strategic Finance, it was published that we were ranked number third in the Northeast for US schools for having the highest CMA pass rate.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So why would you want to become a CMA? So there are different reasons. One is credibility. So it demonstrates mastery and dedication to the field of management accounting and financial management, and it really does give candidates a level of confidence and expanded career opportunities. You can have higher earnings overall. There is the salary advantage for CMAs, about 63% higher salary than those who are not certified. And for individuals who are in the 20 to 29 year range, it’s about a 33% advantage, so you can really jumpstart your earnings early on, as compared to somebody who doesn’t have that certification. As I was mentioning, it really does provide a foundation for careers as CFOs, chief operating officers, treasurers, controllers and financial analysts. The one thing you want to do is you want to make sure that if you’re going to invest in a certification, it aligns with your career goals. So if you’re thinking about some of those positions, this would be a great designation. And then also it gives you opportunity. There’s worldwide and local peer networks that allow or provide for continuing education, leadership opportunities and community services opportunities. So there are local chapters as well as national. They hold a national conference meeting every year. And so in general, it just gives you an overall competitive advantage.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So next just want to talk about what are the components of the actual exam. There are two parts. The first part is called financial planning performance and analytics. So in both of these parts, it’s a four-hour exam. You have three hours to take 100 multiple choice, and then the remaining hour you have two essays. And those essays actually can be quantitative or qualitative. Now, one thing to note, if you don’t score at least a 50% on the multiple choice, the exam won’t advance for you. So you have to score at least a 50%. Otherwise, you just won’t pass overall. So that’s indication if you score 50% that things are going pretty, and they’ll continue on with those essay questions. Some specific content in part one is you start off with financial reporting, and then you move in, if you look at planning, budgeting, forecasting, performance measurement, cost management, those are more managerial accounting topics. There’s 15% related to internal controls, which you talk about in your financial accounting to maybe auditing classes. And then in accounting in general, there’s a big push for technology and data analytics. So they’ve added that recently that about 15% of part one is technology and analytics.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Part two if we look on the other side, again, it’s the same setup, four hours, three hours of multiple choice, one hour of those essay questions. You go back to 20% of about financial accounting, and then you move more into finance-related topics, such as corporate finance, decision analysis, investment decisions such as capital budgeting, and then you wrap up with professional ethics. So those are the kind of different topics that are tested on those two parts.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So to get a CMA, there are a couple of different steps. You have to have an active IMA membership. You need to complete parts one and two of the CMA exam that we just saw. They IMA does it slightly different than maybe some other organizations’ certifications. They’re looking at passing candidates, I should say, which have 360 points out of 500 because with the exams, questions vary in level of difficulty. So what they do is they kind of scale the points depending on which questions that particular candidate gets. So it doesn’t necessarily translate into a 72% pass rate. It is that scaled score. You need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. You have to abide by the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, which is their code of ethics. And then once you’ve passed it, once you have two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management, that will give you that experience in order to be re-certified.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So what you want to do with the CMA exam is work towards specific dates because we have testing windows. So they offer the exam January and February, May, June, or September and October. And so the last exam date would be in that second month, last day of that month, so February 28th, June 30th, October 31st. And then they give you the last day that you can register. So that’s an overview of the CMA exam. Now I’m going to hand it over to Devon to talk about the CPA exam.

Devon Baranek:

Okay, so CPA, hopefully everybody knows stands for certified public accountant, and they are trained financial advisors with a variety of knowledge, skills and training. They can help individuals, businesses, and other organizations do things like plan and reach their financial goals. There’s a very wide variety of potential career paths. You could work in auditing, internal or external. You could work in tax. They often serve as consultants. You could work for the government or another non-profit. You could provide things like strategic business advice. You could work in education, and then even within that, there are specialized areas of accounting. For example, working in things like forensics, business valuations, personal financial planning, IT consulting, and things like that. It’s a very well-respected degree. It’s very well-known. Some of the potential roles when you get to the higher level could be things like a controller or a CFO or a CEO. And just worth noting that all CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are necessarily CPAs. They haven’t all reached that designation.

Devon Baranek:

Reasons to become a CPA. There are really four big ones. The first is opportunity. As I mentioned before, the CPA designation is a highly desired entry-level credential. It demonstrates that you have a commitment to the profession and a high level of technical proficiency as well as other competencies, and you would’ve demonstrated that through passing the CPA exam and through your relevant work experience, things like analytical skills, research skills, communication skills. CPAs also have higher earnings. They earn 10% to 15% on average more than entry-level accountants without that designation. There’s also a lot of career mobility for CPAs. You’re able to change your industry without necessarily changing your entire career. Accounting is going to be important to pretty much any company because financial information interpreted by CPAs is going to allow executives to make more informed decisions and need to be able to communicate that information. Additionally, the job security is very high. There is a high demand for CPAs. The unemployment rate is low. The most recent statistics from the Department of Labor and Statistics, they say that the employment of accountants and auditors is going to grow faster than average through at least 2024. There’s also a lot of retiring CPAs, and they’re leaving a gap in the market, making way for these entry-level students.

Devon Baranek:

How you become a CPA is actually a little more complicated maybe than another designation because you’re licensed by a state board of accountancy, so every state has its own rules. As a general guideline, you need what they call the three Es, education, exam and experience. So you need at least 150 semester hours. The specific number of accounting business hours will vary state to state. Some states will require you to have more semester hours in accounting or general business. Some states will let you sit for the exam before you hit that 150. So it does depend on where you’re planning on getting certified. The exam, we have another slide about that, but you have to pass all four sections of the exam. And then the experience, again, will vary based on what state you live in, but there is a requirement for some work experience in every state. Just as a general example, in New Jersey you need one year of what they call diversified and intensified experience under the supervision of a CPA. In Pennsylvania they say a year, and they define that as 1600 hours, and they say that you can work in government industry, academia or public practice. And then New York is a little bit more specific. They say a year, and you need to provide accounting services or advice involving those accounting skills that you’ve acquired, compilation, management advisory, things like that, again, under the supervision of a CPA.

Devon Baranek:

The exam itself, it is a computer-based exam. There are four parts. The first is auditing and attestation. The second is financial accounting and reporting. The third is regulation. And the fourth is business environment and concepts. No matter which state or jurisdiction you take the exam in, it will be the same, so that is uniform. A passing score is 75, and then the questions include multiple choice. There are simulations in three of the four parts and then communication as well. And then the eligibility to sit for the exam varies by state. Like I said, in New Jersey you can sit with 120 credits, but you can’t be certified until you hit 150. In other states that is different. And then it’s also worth noting that exam takers have to pass all four sections of the exam within 18 months, or the clock restarts. So if you pass a section and more than 18 months go by, you have to re-take that section of the exam.

Devon Baranek:

The actual licensure, so to get a CPA license, it gives you the right to practice public accounting, and as I mentioned before, it’s issued and maintained through the state board. So you would have to go through the state that you plan on working in or the state that you live in. Once you have the license, continuing professional education CPA is required to maintain it, and that varies by state as well as well as how long the licensing period is. In Pennsylvania it’s every two years. In New Jersey it’s every three years, and in a state like Connecticut you need to renew that license every year. There’s also a fairly involved code of professional conduct that outlines ethical expectations and behaviors for CPAs. I just provided some additional resources since it is going to be very dependent on where you live and where you’re thinking about being certified. So the AICPA is the largest organization of CPAS. You can see their link there. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, NASBA, aggregates all of the state board information on their website and then also this link to a list so that you can look into the specifics for your state.

Devon Baranek:

I’m going to talk a little bit about the CMA and CPA similarities. You can probably tell that there’s a little bit of overlap here. As we mentioned, they are both professional designations. They require that you get an extensive amount of education. They require that you pass some rigorous testing and that there is a work experience component as well. They both require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. And like I said, that exam is a multi-part, computer-based exam. And then the work experience is required is just going to depend on which designation you’re going for. Both designations show that you have education, expertise and skills that are required to successfully handle a wide variety of job skills. They both require continuing professional education hours each year to stay active. They show by being a member that you have a strong commitment to ethics, and as I said before, they are widely-recognized designations, and they allow for higher salaries, improved mobility and improved job security. So I will hand it back over for the differences.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Thanks. I’ll take the differences. So as Devon said, there are a lot similarities, but there are differences. And again, it kind of goes back to what your career goals are, but with the certified management accountant, it’s going to be mostly internal reporting, so you’re going to providing financial and operational information to help run the business. Your customers would be management and employees who are going to use that information for decision-making. Information is more segmented in nature, so you might have divisional reports or departmental reports or even maybe product profitability is what you’re going to be emphasizing. And again, that goes to relevance, which means making a difference in a decision. And with management accounting and certified management accountant positions, you’re going to be more current and future focused with your outlook of information. And with management accounting in general, you provide the information when the benefit exceeds the cost. With the CPA, it is more externally focused. You’re doing external reporting, financial statements, tax returns. Your customers tend to be more external, so you have information that you’re providing for stockholders, government agencies, creditors who are going to use that financial information. It’s typically aggregated, so if you’re reporting that financial information, you’re using consolidated statements. For instance, auditors with the auditing there’s consolidated financial statements.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

The focus is on reliability, which just means you want to make sure that they’re accurate or maturely stated. And then it is more historical, has a more historical perspective. You’re dealing with past transactions that have been recorded in a assimilated into those financial statements. And with public accounting, you provide the information primarily because it’s required by regulatory agencies, so the IRS, the SEC, individuals or organizations like that. And now I’m going to turn it over to AJ to just talk in general about our program.

AJ:

Yes, awesome. Thank you so much. So just a very quick overview regarding our online master’s of accounting program. The program itself is 100% online, so there are no campus visits required for our distance learning students. It is also an asynchronous program, meaning that you don’t have to be online at specific days or times to be able to log in and complete your coursework. Students will typically take two seven-week course per semester, so you’ll be able to follow that schedule throughout the entirety of the program. The program will help qualify students to sit for either the CPA or the CMA license. Like I mentioned, it’s a 30 credit hour program and designed to be able to be completed in just under two years. We do have a few different concentrations that students can choose from within the program, whether it be business analytics, finance, or even forensic accounting. So that’s a very brief, very high-level overview of the program. At this point, what I’d like to do, Betsy and Devon, we can take some questions that we’ve been getting in the chat box regarding the CMA and CPA. First up, I do have a question from Steve. His main question is what are the job prospects like for holders of the CMA designation? We know that the CPA is more well-known, but what does the outlook look like for CMA holders?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So that’s a great question. Again, the CMA is geared towards more of the corporate setting positions, and a lot of large organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, will promote having one of the two designations for a lot of their leadership programs, the CPA or the CMA. So while, as you mentioned, Steve, that the CPA is more well-recognized, having that designation that shows your mastery in financial management and management accounting is key. And promoting that, promoting yourself that you have that mastery for those more corporate setting positions is a great way to start out your career and position yourself for a lot of those jobs out there. So a lot of the job postings will say certification required, and you can use either the CPA or the CMA in order to get into some of those corporate setting jobs.

AJ:

Awesome. Thank you very much. And we did have another question. Do you have any advice or information for students who are looking to obtain a certified international auditor license? I’m sorry, internal auditor. I’m sorry.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Internal audit. Okay, I was like gosh, I’m not familiar with-

AJ:

Sorry.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

That designation. I was like that’s a new one.

AJ:

Yes, the certified internal auditor.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So again, with the certified internal auditor, it’s a certification exam. The focus is for more assurance or internal audit positions. And I know that there are three parts with that dealing more with internal controls, risk management. And it is set up a little bit differently with those three parts. Devon, I don’t know what you want to add to that. I’m not sure what the question is, yeah, but go ahead.

Devon Baranek:

well, I would just say if you’re looking for resources similar to the CMA or the CPA, they have their own organization, the CIA, and you can get all kinds of information about the exam, what the experience requirements are, what the education requirements are through those channels. It’s just kind of another option for those who might be interested more in that internal audit, risk management, that area. Just as a general answer… That’s something we could maybe get into the specifics about maybe with that individual. But as a general, I would say that you can go to the CIA, and you can find some basic information there.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Yeah, the Institute of Internal Auditors has just put that in, and they have… Just like with, for instance, the IMA, it’ll pull up, and you have that information how to become a certified internal auditor, yeah.

Devon Baranek:

I should mention too there’s a Central Jersey Chapter of the IIA that we do have a relationship with. We teach an internal audit class at the undergrad level, and then there are some components of that included in a few of the master’s level courses. So there are some contact and resources available at Rider as well.

AJ:

Awesome. Thank you all very much. We do have a question here about prerequisites required for the program. So what prereqs are required if undergraduate degree was not in accounting or if you took an undergraduate accounting course many years ago?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Yeah, so we have five or six prerequisites. Cost accounting is one. The two intermediate accounting series, auditing. There’s consolidations and then tax. So I think it’s actually six. And we provide all those prerequisites online, so if you don’t have those, our instructors will provide that online, and then you could take it and enroll in once you have those classes. I believe there’s six of them just to give you that basic foundation in order to get to that higher level of thinking when you enter the master’s of accountancy because they’re going to make the assumption that you have the basic knowledge financial statements or product costing. And so that’s what those core courses will allow you to do. So we have all of those online for you, and then you can just, like I said, enroll into the program. Devon, I don’t know what else you want to add.

Devon Baranek:

I would add that we recently removed one or two of the prerequisites since we try to stay current with sort of what all online masters programs are doing since that’s the one of the things that students should look at. There’s a varying number of courses that are required, and the offering of having them online is so you can everything at Rider, the prerequisites and the classes themselves, kind of a one-stop shop.

AJ:

Awesome. Yeah, these are some really questions that we’ve got coming in from students. I have another one here. How many times can a student sit for the CPA or CMA exam if they don’t pass it on the first try?

Devon Baranek:

[crosstalk 00:26:06].

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Oh, go ahead.

Devon Baranek:

So I was into it for the CPA, and there’s no upper limit, but it’s worth mentioning that there are fees associated with the exam, so it can be very expensive to take it and continually not pass. There are $300 or $400 fees associated with each part of the exam, but there is not a limit. There’s no rule that says if you fail it three times, you’re out forever. So that’s for the CPA.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

That’s true for the CMA exam as well. And like Devon says, you’re investing your money and your time, so you might as well just-

Devon Baranek:

Your time.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Do the best you can, yeah, because if you’re constantly retaking it, you’re throwing your money away. I think Devon mentioned you have to pass all four CPA parts within an 18-month window. What I could find with the CMA, even though there’s only two parts, you have about three years to get it all done, or you’ll lose the other part if you don’t pass those. But you can take them as many times as you want. It’s just kind of a waste of your resources to keep taking it without really investing the time and money and just studying and getting it done.

AJ:

Awesome. Lot of great information here. Have another question coming in. Does Rider accept transfer credits from other schools?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So that would be something you’d want to talk specifically with our academic coordinator about, but typically if you have an undergraduate accounting degree and it’s within a certain timeframe, those courses will transfer. You don’t have to take the intermediate accounting again if you’ve had it within, let’s say the last few years. But again, what I think the academic coordinator will do is kind of match up and make sure that the course you took does kind of achieve the same goals that the Rider’s courses do. So it really would depend, but definitely you don’t have to retake classes if you’re transferring from another school.

AJ:

Now, students are able to transfer some masters credits into the program? Is that right?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

You know what? Devon, you might add into this. I’m not sure about that just because some of our classes are more specific to the program. We have, for instance, issues in financial reporting or issues in managerial accounting. So I guess that would be up to the department chair and the academic coordinator how much they match up.

Devon Baranek:

Agreed. Yeah, I think that might be a case-by-case situation.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Yeah, yeah. I do know that I sit on a committee for the MBA program. And sometimes if a person moves from the MBA over and the course is very similar, that they’ll allow for it. But with the master’s of accountancy, I think like Devon says, a case-by-case basis. We just have to see that that is the same level of information that’s been achieved by the student in order to be able to give credit to it. So that would be something that we’d have to look at.

AJ:

Awesome. So we do have a question here about the cost of the program. I’d be more than happy to answer this one. So the cost of the program is going to be $950 per credit hour, and that doesn’t include books and university fees. So trying to figure out the holistic cost, that’s one of those things that you would definitely want to speak with an enrollment advisor about, and we would absolutely be able to go into greater detail regarding the actual cost of the program.

AJ:

All right. We have another question here. Students graduating from the online accounting program, do you see more of them going towards the CMA or the CPA?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

[crosstalk 00:30:29]. Do you want to take it, Devon? Go ahead.

Devon Baranek:

I was just going to say the CPA tends to be more the more popular track, but I think, Betsy, you were saying with the CMA, our students have scored particularly well in the past few years, and it is becoming a little bit more popular. Is that right?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Yeah, that’s true. Our program is set up for those 30 additional credits for the CPA. And the CMA, you can take it with a bachelor’s degree, and it doesn’t have to be in accounting. What’s beneficial about our program if you’re really thinking about the CMA would be that the class I teach, the issues in managerial accounting, really overlaps both the BEC section of the CPA exam and a lot of parts one and two of the CMA exam. So by taking that class, you get a lot of that information. So if initially you thought the CPA exam, but then you want to add on the CMA exam, I think our program would definitely prepare you for that. So it’s something to consider maybe getting dual certification and having even more opportunity.

AJ:

All righty. So if anybody has any other questions, feel free to keep throwing them in the chat. We’ve had a lot of good questions at this point. We have, let’s see, one more here. So are there any CPA test prep options available through Rider or through the accounting program as a whole?

Devon Baranek:

I can take this one. So each of the instructors chooses their own materials for the courses that they teach, and some instructors will incorporate some of the exam review materials. For example, the Becker software of the Roger CPA Exam Review. But Rider itself, we are not contracted with any of those companies, so we don’t have any exclusive relationships with any of them, so we don’t provide any CPA exam prep materials through the MAC program. What I will say is that typically when students are students that have jobs upon graduation, the employers, it’s very common for them to actually pay the exam prep materials. We do see that a lot.

AJ:

Very cool. [crosstalk 00:33:05]. So we have another one here. Oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Well, no, I was just going to reiterate, yeah, I think a lot of times we leave it up to what the students also prefer. If they have a preference for Becker, we might use the Becker materials are we’re teaching that material in our program. And so we do give them that flexibility. So yeah, we don’t require a specific one. And as Devon says, we don’t have one contracted, but a lot of employers have their preference on certain CPA review firms and courses, so they’ll provide those for those candidates or their employees.

AJ:

Okay. Let’s see. Got another question here. Do online students in the MAC program have access to the same career prospects and job fairs as other students?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

I think, I mean, that’s a great question. I believe as our college of business and graduate college of business, whether they’re online students, let’s say they’re taking classes in person, the same information is disseminated about career fairs and email disseminations about opportunities, job employment. So yes, whether you’re online or you have more classes face-to-face, everybody as far as career information, academic advising, they’re given the same level of treatment.

AJ:

All right. And let’s see here. So we have a student who currently works for a small company as an accounting manager. The question is it worth still sitting for the CMA if you’re planning in your current position? Or is the CMA mostly for bigger companies?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

It is geared towards more internal positions. That being said, when I got my CMA, I was still in public accounting. And one of the reasons I decided to get it was because I could make connections with some of my clients. Several of the controllers that I was auditing had their CMAs, so their knowing that I had mine, we developed a connection. We were part of [inaudible 00:35:31] organization and those resources. So that is why I did it, even though I was in public accounting at the time, to make those connections with my clients. So I do see a benefit of having the CMA. And then if you decide you wanted to move more into a corporate or organizational setting, you would already have it. But again, I had gotten mine for that connection with some of the clients that I was dealing with.

AJ:

Okay. So looks like we have a question here regarding the GMAT. So as far as applying to the program, a student with relevant work experience, is GMAT still required? I can say that yes, as a part of the application process, we do still require the GMAT. However, we do have GMAT waivers that are available for students to apply for. So anyone who may have done exceptionally well in their undergrad or someone coming in with work experience, that definitely is an option that we can look to for the GMAT requirement.

AJ:

Let’s see. Do we have any other questions here? So after graduation, would you still need to take a prep course for the CPA or CMA exams? Or would a student be ready to sit for those exams once they graduate?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

You still need a prep course, only because with the certification exams, how they ask questions is part of that process. Sometimes you’ll know the material, but just the way that the organization asks the question on the test needs to be practiced. So those review courses definitely help you with the practice of going over those questions. We do provide the foundations, and we cover a lot of topics, but our program is not intended to be a review course. It’s intended to give you that higher level of thinking and making those connections in business. So while we might use some of the material as background information, we’re pulling in articles, we’re pulling in cases to get more at that critical thinking aspect. So you would still need a review course for the certifications. Yet, we do provide you a lot of that foundational knowledge. Maybe you’ve seen in some of your undergrad classes, and then we’ve expanded on it. Devon, I don’t know what else you want to add to that.

Devon Baranek:

I just would say I’d strongly agree, if for no other reason than these are both computer-based tests, and they’re very specific in how they ask questions. For the CPA exam, the functionality of the screen that you see, you’re able to practice with it beforehand so you can get familiar with. It uses a program that’s like Excel, but it’s not quite Excel, and things like that can really trip students up. So just from a figuring out how to best manage your time on these high-level structural tests, I think the prep programs are definitely worth it.

AJ:

Great stuff. So we have a question here. How soon can I sign up to start the program? The answer to that would be as soon as you feel comfortable. We are still currently accepting applications for our summer and fall semesters for this year. So that would definitely be something that I would recommend, getting in touch with one of our enrollment advisors and really finding out which admission period would work best for you. But the short answer is as soon as you’re ready, you can go ahead and start applying to the program.

AJ:

Let’s see. We’ve got another question here. How do students interact with professors during office hours and whatnot in the online program?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So what we do, we have chat or conference capabilities. We use Canvas as our learning platform, so we have that as an option. But a lot of the value out of our program is when students submit assignments, we give detailed feedback on each assignment. And it´s professors. It´s not graduate students or assistants doing that. So we grade all of our own stuff that’s being submitted. And so we get that interaction through that aspect as well. And through questions and emails and stuff. But we do have that collaboration tool. And then what students do, almost every online class we have discussion boards with weekly topics, so they’ll post, and then they have to read their classmates´ posts and respond. So you get that interaction with the classmates that way as well.

AJ:

Awesome. So we have another question here. We kind of touched on it with the prep materials, but is there anything specifically with CMA prep?

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

Again, so there are various organizations or companies that provide CMA prep for that exam. Like I said, for the class I teach, it does overlap with parts one and two of the CMA exam in the BEC section, so I’m covering a lot of the managerial and financial management topics. But just like with the CPA exam, you’d want to get a course just so you can practice those questions, get familiar with. Sometimes they put in these little ringers to try to trip up people maybe who aren’t reading it as carefully. So just practicing and getting familiarity with how they ask certain questions is important. So I would say also with the CMA exam, to have a review course or at least a database of questions that you can practice with. I’m not sure if that answered the question, but if not, I’m happy to expand on anything.

AJ:

All right. And it looks like we’ve got one more question in here. And that is when would you suggest students start studying for the CMA? And I guess we should also ask that about the CPA.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

So a lot of our students as they’re going through the program will study or they’re taking a class. So for instance, I teach issues in managerial accounting. So that is a lot geared towards that BEC section. So it makes sense as you’re studying the material to be studying for the BEC section and kind schedule your test soon after you’ve finished that class. And with the CMA exam, as I mentioned, you’re taking that class. A lot of the content you’re going to see on both exams. So if you were taking that class, that would be good time to schedule at least one or both of those parts because they have the financial management and the managerial accounting on it. So I think what you’d want to do, and enrollment managers and academic coordinators can work with you if you’re taking, for instance, Devon’s class, issues in financial reporting, that would be a good time to also be studying for FAR. If you’re taking the auditing masters class, that’s a good time to be also working on your auditing. So the academic coordinator can actually map out this class would be good for REG, or this class would be good for the BEC section.

Betsy Haywood-Sullivan:

And again, the CMA exam, as we went through some of the information, there’s some financial reporting, so you get that from some of your financial accounting classes in our program, but then also a majority of it would come from the issues in managerial accounting class. So strategically if you can pair it up with the classes you’re taking, I think you’ll get more out of the course and prepare you better for those certifications.

Devon Baranek:

I would just add that what most of our students do, as Betsy was saying, that a lot of our students live in New Jersey and plan on getting certified in New Jersey, and New Jersey allows you to sit for the exam before you’ve earned 150 credits. And every state is different, so I would just encourage students to check their specific state that they plan on getting certified in. Some states will not let you sit for the exam until you’ve earned 150 credits. So then that would just change your test-taking strategy a little bit.

AJ:

Definitely. Well, I think we’ve gotten a lot of great information and a lot of great questions in today. At this point, we do have to start wrapping up a little bit. So if anybody has any other questions that they need to ask, please feel free to contact an enrollment advisor. We’d be more than happy to work with you and answer any questions that you have. Thank you so much, Betsy, Devon. Thank you so much joining us today and sharing your expertise and your information with us. To everyone who is attending today, I just want to let you know, again, we are currently accepting applications for our summer and our fall semesters. So please give us a call. Our number is 866-310-2840. You can also email us at admissions@online.rider.edu, or feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our enrollment advisors using our live vCita link that you see there. Thank you so much for joining us, and everybody just have a great day. Thanks.