The Institute was incorporated in 1996 under the patronage of Mr William Dix (former Chairman of Ford and Qantas) and Professor John Miller (former Director of Consumer Affairs, Chairman of Pannell, Kerr, Foster and holder of numerous senior academic positions). Its objectives are to provide a professional organization for management accountants, and to encourage, disseminate and promote the specialisation in organizations in Australia. Similar specialist bodies have been operating in most English-speaking developed countries, e.g. USA, UK and Canada, but not until that time in Australia.
A management accountant applies his or her professional knowledge and skill in the preparation and presentation of financial and other decision oriented information in such a way as to assist management in the formulation of policies and in the planning and control of the operation of the undertaking.
Management Accountants therefore are seen as the "value-creators" amongst the accountants. They are much more interested in forward looking and taking decisions that will affect the future of the organization, than in the historical recording and compliance (scorekeeping) aspects of the profession. Management accounting knowledge and experience can therefore be obtained from varied fields and functions within an organization, such as information management, treasury, efficiency auditing, marketing, valuation, pricing, logistics, etc.
There are seven levels of membership in ICMA with differing educational and experience requirements:
Post-Graduate Level: Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Graduate Level: Associate Management Accountant (AMA) and Graduate Management Accountant (GMA)
Technical level: Registered Cost Accountant (RCA); Registered Business Administrator (RBA) and Certified Accounting Technician (CAT)
Affiliate Level: Management Accounting Affiliate (MAA)
Details of membership benefits and services are available in the membership page. The Institute's newsletter, On Target, and its research journal the Management Accounting Frontiers (MAF) (formerly, JAMAR) are available in electronic format on this website. The Institute has a wide range of activities, in Australia and in its international branches.
The Institute offers a number of education programs that have received accreditation from many Australian and overseas universities. Being a CMA means a commitment to a continuous professional development, and the Institute offers seminars, training and other development activities to assist members achieve this objective. For the industry and employer perspective, the Management Accounting 2020 program offers industry-based certification for best practice in decision information and control systems.
The Institute is also an examining body, and members are required to pass examinations and other assessments and have relevant work experience prior to describing themselves as ‘Certified Management Accountants’. Business organizations are also accredited by the Institute as Private Providers - providing suitable training programs for prospective members to obtain their education requirements for membership.
CMA is established with a vision to attain the status of a premier body of professionals practising the science of management accounting. The Institute thus aims:
To promote and develop the science of Management Accountancy and to foster and maintain investigations and research into the best means and methods of developing and applying such science and to encourage, increase, disseminate and promote knowledge, education and training and the exchange of information and ideas in respect of all questions relating thereto or connected therewith;
To provide a professional organization for Management Accountants and by means of examination and other methods of assessment to test the skill and knowledge of persons desiring to enter the profession;
To further the development of management accounting education in these disciplines in the universities and schools in Australia and internationally;
To encourage research into the application of management accounting theory in practice;
To hold conferences and publish a journal as a means for disseminating ideas and information in the discipline of management accounting, and for promoting their discussion.