CIMA: What you need to know

Considering a career in management accounting? You should study CIMA…

Whether you’ve been thinking about accountancy courses for a while, or you’re just looking to put your passion for maths to good use, a CIMA qualification could be the perfect way to kick-start your career.

Not sure what your options are? Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:


What is CIMA?

CIMA stands for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

It’s the world’s largest professional body of Management Accountants, and has over 227,000 members in 179 countries worldwide.

Their mission is to help people succeed in accounting, in both the public and private sectors, and CIMA works with leading employers to help train Financial Managers and Accountants across the UK.

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What CIMA qualifications are available?

There are two main CIMA qualifications: the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (entry-level), and the CIMA Professional Qualification (advanced).

There are some new qualifications, specifically tailored towards Islamic finance and Russian businesses, but these are not considered part of their core certifications.

Apprenticeship qualifications (CIMA Higher Level Higher Apprenticeship in Management Accounting) are also available.

Here’s a quick rundown of the two main CIMA certifications and CIMA levels:


CIMA Certificate Level 1

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting – A standalone qualification that teaches all the fundamentals of management and financial accounting, as well as covering skills such as preparing financial reports, forecasting performance and data analysis. 

Entry requirements: There are no formal entry requirements, making it the perfect first step for anyone looking to become accountancy qualified.


CIMA Levels 2, 3 and 4

CIMA Professional Qualification – Split into three pillars and three different levels, this advanced qualification will help teach and validate skills in areas ranging from risk management and financial strategy, right through to management accounting. 

Entry requirements: You don’t necessarily need the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting to get started, although you will need a foundation in business or accounting studies (e.g. a Master’s in accounting or proof of membership with another leading accounting body)

View all CIMA courses now


Why should I study CIMA?

CIMA are the industry-standard when it comes to management accounting, and CIMA qualifications are respected throughout the financial industry – especially if you want to progress into chartered accountancy.

As a result, a number of employers may consider CIMA membership as a prerequisite to securing a position within their organisation.

Additionally, as a globally-recognised accountancy body, CIMA qualifications open doors all over the world. 

Companies ranging from Barclays, Nestle, Deloitte, Unilever and more train their staff with CIMA, and their certifications continue to set standards for Management Accountants worldwide.

What job can I get with a CIMA qualification?

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How much can I earn once CIMA qualified?

This will vary depending on location, level of certification, previous experience and job title. 

However, as a rough guide, those with the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting will generally be earning somewhere in the region of £28,000 for an entry-level position (as a Graduate Management Accountant, for example).

On top of this, CIMA students currently in employment can expect a bonus of around £1200 while they’re still studying, and roughly £6,000 once fully qualified.

CIMA qualified finance professionals earn an average of £60,000, including bonuses.

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What CIMA study methods are there?

The majority of course providers offering CIMA qualifications provide flexible study options, allowing you to fit work around your schedule.

So whether you want to learn full-time or part-time, take an online course from your own home, or study in a classroom setting, there’s a course out there for you.

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How long will it take to study CIMA?

This will depend on which qualification you’re studying, as well as the course provider.

As a general guideline, it should take around one year to complete the CIMA Certificate, while the CIMA professional qualification may take up to four, depending on how much time you can dedicate to studying.

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Advantages of becoming CIMA qualified

Some advantages of becoming CIMA qualified include:

  • A validation for your skills in management accounting
  • Higher salaries and bigger bonuses than industry averages
  • Global recognition
  • Being in-demand for some of the world’s leading employers
  • The chance to become a member of the world’s largest organisation of Management Accountants

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Ready to start studying? View all CIMA courses now