US CSCA (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) is a specialty credential designed by the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants, US) to help candidates master the concepts and techniques that are required to earn a seat at the leadership table, and becoming a key player in driving the strategic planning process at their organization. The CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) is a specialty credential designed specifically for CMAs*, which complements and expands upon the strategic planning and analysis skills developed through the CMA® (Certified Management Accountants) certification. This credential helps to master the concepts and techniques that are required to earn a seat at the leadership table and become a key player in driving the strategic planning process at your organization.

COURSE DURATION

40-75 hours of study suggested, depending on your level of expertise


The CSCA exam will cover and test three content areas:

The strategic planning process

  • What is strategy?
  • Role of the finance team in the strategic management process
  • Vision, mission, and goals
  • Analytical planning tools and frameworks

Environmental scan and competitive analysis

  • Macro environmental forces
  • Industry economic market structure
  • Industry segmentation
  • Industry life-cycle analysis
  • Threat of new entry and/or substitution
  • Supplier and buyer power
  • Complementary products and services
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Competitive forces analysis
  • Competitive rivalry
  • Financial analysis of competitors
  • Innovation, change, and market disruption

Internal analysis

  • Organizational culture and core values
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Core competencies
  • The value chain
  • Operational effectiveness

Financing strategy

What is competitive advantage?

  • Delivering unique value
  • Differentiated competencies

Business level strategies

  • Low cost
  • Differentiation
  • Value innovation
  • Market segmentation
  • Pricing as a strategic lever
  • New product and new market development

Functional level strategies

  • Operational excellence
  • Quality optimization
  • Technology as a competitive advantage
  • Innovation strategy

Strategy in a global context

  • Market expansion
  • Value chain optimization
  • Risks of conducting international business

Corporate level strategies

  • Horizontal and vertical integration
  • Strategic alliances and joint ventures
  • Strategic outsourcing
  • Diversification
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Restructuring

Sustaining competitive advantage

  • Barriers to imitation
  • Capability of competitors
  • Industry dynamism

Analyzing strategic alternatives

  • Marginal costs and revenues
  • Adding or dropping products and services
  • Customer profitability analysis
  • Investment decision analysis
  • Scenario planning

Strategy implementation

  • Alignment of tactics with long-term strategic goals
  • Change management
  • Strategy deployment, including challenges and prioritization
  • Linking strategy to the strategic financial plan
  • Forecasting financial statements and organizational performance
  • Financing for growth
  • Characteristics of a successful strategic management process

Risk management

  • Risk analysis
  • Mitigating risks
  • The role of enterprise risk management (ERM)

Strategy measurement and organizational performance

  • Evaluation and control
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Strategy map
  • Benchmarking
  • Reporting results

Governance, social responsibility, and ethics

  • Agency theory
  • Role of the Board of Directors
  • Role of the CEO and the CFO
  • Incentives
  • Organizational structure
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Social responsibility

Certified Management Accountants Hold positions ranging from staff accountant to CFO on the basis of their expertise and training in strategic planning knowledge for current or future roles.

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