CIMA Professional Qualification gets students ready for the future of finance

CIMA Professional Qualification gets students ready for the future of finance

Find out everything you need to know about the CIMA qualification and what doors it can open in the accounting industry

CIMA Professional Qualification gets students ready for the future of finance

About The Chartered Institute of Institute of Management Accountants

Founded a hundred years ago, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. You can find our members and students in 184 countries at the cutting edge of finance, working at the heart of organisations to guide decision makers and drive transformation in the digital world.

Building on CIMA’s rich heritage and through our work with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to form the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants in 2017, we are driving a dynamic accounting profession worldwide and leading both public and management accounting professionals into the future. Together, we are reimagining the world of finance.

The CIMA Professional Qualification

The CIMA Professional Qualification brings together management accounting, financial accounting and business skills to give our students the skills employers told us they need. Once you qualify, you will be able to work in a wide range of roles, from financial analyst to senior finance director and CFO, across the private, public and not-for profit sectors for organisations such as Virgin, the Big Four, Accenture, Lloyds, JP Morgan, Unilever, Gap, Innocent Drinks, Veolia, the NHS, the UK Department for Transport or the Salvation Army.

Our Future of Finance global research programme, which includes insights from more than 5,500 finance professionals in over 2,000 organisations across 150 countries, revealed that current and future finance professionals need to embrace technology to go beyond insight to drive impact, beyond limits to deliver solutions and beyond expectations to create value.

This is why on 31 January 2019 we launched our updated Professional Qualification, which now includes trending and future-focused topics such as digital strategy, blockchain and artificial intelligence, to help our students – like we have done for the past 100 years – reach their full potential, navigate change and be fully prepared for a career in finance.

How will CIMA help me succeed?

Once you become CIMA qualified, you will become both an Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation holder. Your ACMA and CGMA letters signify deep financial knowledge, broad strategic acumen and constantly evolving competencies – in short, an invaluable global passport to build your career.

In addition, you will have ongoing access to a cutting-edge library of learning resources and research such as our Future of Finance white paper, our Digital Mindset Pack as well as range of online courses, resources and insights on the A-E of finance in the digital world. You will also be able to use our global job board CIMA MyJobs to directly connect with employers and recruiters, and become part of a worldwide community of like-minded finance professionals. We are here to support you every step of the way. 

What are the entry routes to CIMA?

 Anyone can study CIMA, whether you are completely new to business and accounting or are already an experienced professional.

If you have little or no accounting background, you will start with our entry-level qualification, the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, to help you build your business and financial knowledge before studying the CIMA Professional Qualification. It is a recognised qualification in its own right and a great way to start your career.

If you have already completed a relevant degree or professional qualification, you may be able to fast-track your way onto the CIMA Professional Qualification. You could be eligible for exemptions if you are:

  • A graduate with a qualification listed in our database of accredited programmes.
  • A graduate of a degree programme that is related to our syllabus.
  • An Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) student or member.
  • Have an MBA or a master’s degree in accounting.
  • Studying or have completed a relevant qualification with another professional body.

What’s involved?

The CIMA Professional Qualification syllabus is divided in three pillars – enterprise, performance and financial – across three levels – operational, management and strategic. It includes nine subjects in total, covering everything from managing business performance to financial reporting and managing risks. All subjects interlink with each other to ensure that we equip our students with an outstanding set of skills to help them succeed in the modern business world.

While we have kept the main structure, number, format and length of our exams, we have added new key areas to the 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification to complement our core accounting, finance, and business topics. These include topics such as technology, data and information in a digital world, business models and value creation as well as digital strategy, risk management and cybersecurity.

At each level, we assess our students’ progress through a Case Study exam, a real-life business situation and role play where you will need to demonstrate your technical, business, people and leadership skills and competencies.

Once you pass the final Strategic Case Study exam and complete a minimum of three years’ relevant work experience, you will officially become CIMA qualified. 

How long will it take to complete the CIMA Professional Qualification?

 You should approximately allow for three month-preparation per subject, completing a level’s three Objective Tests over a nine month-period, plus three months for the Case Study exam. Depending on professional commitments and personal circumstances, some students may progress more quickly than others. If you have a planned and structured approach, completing the full qualification in three or four years, including re-sits and holiday breaks between levels, is entirely possible.

What are the costs of studying with CIMA?

 The costs of studying CIMA will greatly depend on how you choose to study and what support is available from your employer if you are already working. We charge a registration fee of £77 which includes your first year’s subscription – thereafter you will pay an annual subscription, which gives you access to exclusive content and benefits to support you as you progress through the qualification and your career. Our exam and exemption fees are listed on our website.

 As a CIMA student, you will also need to factor in individual study costs. These will depend on whether you choose to study with a tuition provider, using online and distance learning with CIMA Study, study at home using only official CIMA Study texts and materials – or using a combination of these methods.

Steve Flatman, VP examinations – management accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the unified voice of CIMA and the AICPA.

Resources & Whitepapers

Why Professional Services Firms Should Ditch Folders and Embrace Metadata

Professional Services Why Professional Services Firms Should Ditch Folders and Embrace Metadata


Why Professional Services Firms Should Ditch Folde...

In the past decade, the professional services industry has transformed significantly. Digital disruptions, increased competition, and changing market ...

View resource
2 Vital keys to Remaining Competitive for Professional Services Firms

2 Vital keys to Remaining Competitive for Professional Services Firms


2 Vital keys to Remaining Competitive for Professi...

In recent months, professional services firms are facing more pressure than ever to deliver value to clients. Often, clients look at the firms own inf...

View resource
Turn Accounts Payable into a value-engine

Accounting Firms Turn Accounts Payable into a value-engine


Turn Accounts Payable into a value-engine

In a world of instant results and automated workloads, the potential for AP to drive insights and transform results is enormous. But, if you’re still ...

View resource
Digital Links: A guide to MTD in 2021

Making Tax Digital Digital Links: A guide to MTD in 2021


Digital Links: A guide to MTD in 2021

The first phase of Making Tax Digital (MTD) saw the requirement for the digital submission of the VAT Return using compliant software. That’s now behi...

View resource