4 Facts You Should Know About CIMA

Ask around, and you’ll discover that getting a CIMA qualification is a great start for anyone wanting to become an in-demand qualified accountant. Here are 4 key things you should know about CIMA. 

4 Things You Need to Know About CIMA

CIMA qualified members and students stand to reap plenty of benefits that come with the qualification.

If you’re thinking about if or when to start, here are 4 key things you need to know about the CIMA qualification.

1. CIMA qualification is a big deal and can boost your career 

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the largest professional organization of accountants in the world. 

It has a membership of over 280,000 in over 180 countries. If you haven’t already figured it out by now, becoming CIMA qualified is a great feat.

It’s a distinguished accomplishment not only in the accountancy but also in other related spheres. Think of it as the gold standard in the finance profession. As a CIMA qualified member, you get an outstanding reputation and status in the accounting world.

“A CIMA qualification lends a certain credibility. Having the qualification gives comfort that while I may not have done something (in my job) before, I’ve demonstrated an ability to achieve. Being as credible as CIMA is, that’s a valuable tool.” - Caoimhe O’Reilly, Plant Finance Manager at Amcor

2. Becoming qualified takes work and commitment 

Becoming qualified takes work and commitment 

Like in any other field, getting a professional qualification requires a lot of effort, commitment, and self-drive. 

CIMA courses equip you with the necessary skill and knowledge to handle and adapt to the dynamic accounting world. The big question is: ‘How can one go about it?’


First, it’s important to figure out what you really want. CIMA offers five different courses. Once you complete a level, you are awarded the qualification certificate.

The two primary CIMA qualifications are CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting and CIMA Professional Qualification. CIMA has also integrated specifically-tailored qualifications, i.e., Russian Business Programs, Apprenticeships for England, and Islamic Finance Qualification.

The entry-level CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting covers the basics in business economic, ethics and business law, management, and also financial accounting. As it is a no-frills qualification, it is ideal for accounting tenderfoots.

The advanced CIMA professional qualification augments your accounting knowledge by throwing in skills such as risk management and financial strategy. 

It is divided into three levels - operational, management, and strategic. Unlike the CIMA certificate in BA, it requires some prerequisites in accounting.

CIMA Study Options

Study options vary depending on the course providers. Most providers offering CIMA qualifications have a degree of flexibility to ensure the study fits in your schedule.

You can opt for full-time or part-time according to your availability. Classes don’t have to be held in a classroom setting. You can do it online in the comfort of your room. 

The study period length will depend on the course providers, study schedule, and the course you are undertaking.

3. CIMA graduates don’t usually stay in accounting!

CIMA graduates don’t usually stay in accounting!: Credit - Austin Distel

This might come as a surprise, but a lot of CIMA qualified members don’t end up in accounting careers.

CIMA qualified members have no shortage of options when it comes to careers

This is perhaps the most significant boon of getting a CIMA qualification. You can choose to pursue a career in finance, credit, business, or even consultancy fields.

You’d expect most CIMA qualified members to tread in the accountancy direction. On the contrary, only a few of them choose accounting practice. The rest take roles in commercial and strategy-based positions. These include financial analysts, credit analysts, and firm consultants.

These positions have the perquisite of giving you the feel of both number-crunching and decision-making ends. They provide a highway to senior roles such as finance director, managing director, and even CEO.

Besides, a CIMA qualification also gives you bargaining power when negotiating salary figures. Successfully completing CIMA courses speaks that you can fit in a range of practices.

4. CIMA keeps pace with the digital world

CIMA keeps pace with the digital world

The CIMA course syllabus is in line with what the marketplace requires. Seeing as the market is dynamic, CIMA syllabuses usually change or evolve to keep up. 

Today, the industry demands individuals equipped with digital skills such as data science, cybersecurity, integrating reporting, and business models.

As such, there is a focus on digital skills in CIMA as reflected in the new 2019 syllabus. CIMA qualified members that possess these skills have an easy time applying their knowledge to a digital world.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to advance your accounting career, a CIMA qualification is a good route. 

Apart from career development, you get to enjoy other benefits such as recognition and validation.

So make sure to include your CIMA qualification in your CV (whether you’re studying or qualified) as it will help you get your foot in the door and help you stand out from other skilled job candidates.

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Topics: CIMA