Management accountants expect pay increase of 5%

CGMA designation holders anticipate increases similar to 2018 in salary and bonuses.
Management accountants expect pay increase of 5%

Management accounting continues to become more lucrative for its practitioners, as CGMA designation holders across the globe forecasted an average expected increase in salary of 5%, with 83% expecting to receive an increase.

On top of their base salary, those expecting to receive a bonus — 94% of CGMA designation holders — expect an average annual bonus of 13% of their salary.

These figures for average salary increase and bonus — from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants’ annual 2019 Salary Survey of CGMA designation holders and CIMA students — remain unchanged from 2018.

Salaries for those with the CGMA designation vary across global markets, as do pay satisfaction levels. In the UK, the current average yearly salary is £66,000 ($82,500) compared with £63,000 ($78,750) in 2018. Salary satisfaction, however, has decreased by 1% since 2018 to 60% this year, the survey showed. The current average salary for those with the CGMA designation in Sri Lanka is LKR 2,647,000 ($14,600); in Ireland, €85,000 ($93,500); in South Africa, ZAR 999,000 ($67,000); and in Malaysia RM 208,000 ($50,000) (excluding any bonuses).

In the US, the current average salary for those holding the CPA and CGMA designations is $158,000. For those holding the CPA designation only, the figure is $122,000. However, CPA credential holders are more likely to expect a salary increase than those with both the CPA and CGMA designations (82% v 77%). And of those expecting a salary uplift, the average anticipated increase is 6% for CPAs and 4% for those with the CPA and CGMA designations. Pay satisfaction levels are broadly similar, with 62% of CPAs and 61% of those with both the CPA and CGMA designations stating that they are satisfied with their current salary.

A total of 87% of CIMA students across the world are expecting to receive an average salary increase of 9% (10% in 2018). And 90% expect to receive an average annual bonus of 8% (9% in 2018).

Building skills

To stay relevant in their current role or to upskill with a view to moving jobs, CGMA designation holders are committed to building their skills. Of those planning to take on new learning in the coming year, 43% said they are developing strategic skills and 32% skills related to driving performance. Acquiring skills in business planning (27%), influencing (26%), and change management (26%) are also top priorities.

CIMA students, on the other hand, have a different raft of skills-building needs. Getting to grips with accounting information systems is a skills priority for 48%, while business planning (43%), strategy (42%), project management (34%), and negotiation and decision-making (29%) are also skills they plan to develop.

Other takeaways from the Association’s survey are:

  • On-the-job learning is the number one method of acquiring skills for both CGMA designation holders and CIMA students; being mentored and completing an online course are also in the top three.
  • 48% of CGMA designation holders and 57% of CIMA students plan to change jobs in the next two years.
  • For those wanting to change roles, both groups are motivated by financial reward and promotion prospects. Further, 28% of CIMA students rate training and development in their top three reasons for wanting a change, and 39% of CGMA designation holders say scope of role is an important catalyst for change.
  • The top three motivators for CIMA members in their current role are flexibility/work-life balance (58% said this), a good working environment (51%), and financial reward (39%). CIMA students’ top motivation is financial reward (50%), followed by a good working environment (41%) and flexibility/work-life balance (38%).

The Association’s online salary calculator allows members, students, and others to access more data from the survey and compare their remuneration package to those of counterparts in their country, industry, or level of experience.

The survey, which took place in mid-2019, had responses from 3,500 CGMA designation holders and 3,500 CIMA students globally, as well as 2,300 CPA credential holders.

— Oliver Rowe ( is an FM magazine senior editor.