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CPAs' compensation rises with certification, survey finds.

Professional certification means more money for both CPAs and certified management accountants (CMAs), according to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). In a random survey of 2,400 IMA members, the average annual salary reported by CPAs 40-49 years old was $75,136; for CMAs in that age group it was $74,908. Practitioners in the same age group who were not certified reported an average salary of $56,024. The disparity held true for all age groups. (See the table below.)

Thirty-six percent of the survey respondents were CPAs, 20% were CMAs and the remainder held a variety of other accounting certifications, according to Karl Reichardt, CMA, an associate professor of accounting at the College of Business Administration, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, who conducted the survey with David L. Schroeder, an associate professor of decision sciences at Valparaiso. Reichardt also noted that 75% of the respondents were men and 25% women.

Clark H. Johnson, CMA, vicepresident, finance, and chief financial officer of Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, New Jersey, recalled that he took the first CMA exam in 1974. "I was financial director of a smaller J&J company, but after obtaining certification I came to the attention of the CFO, and within three years I was J&J's corporate controller," he said.


Johnson strongly urged his own accounting staff to obtain certification. "I think the higher salaries are due to higher competence rather than the actual certification itself," he said. Preparing for the exam is an educational process that results in better performance, which results in better salaries, he believes.

Reichardt agreed with the importance of certification. "I encourage my students to get professional certification regardless of whether they are going into public or private accounting," he said. "You can see the difference in average salaries."
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Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 1994
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