Professional qualification (2015 syllabus and assessment)

CIMA introduced an updated syllabus for its professional qualification and new assessment methods in January 2015.

What changed?

This updated syllabus and assessment bridges the skills gaps of newly qualified finance professionals worldwide, meeting the employability needs of both business and people. Our objective is to produce competent and confident management accounting professionals who guide and lead their organisations to sustainable success.


Competency framework

Following comprehensive global research with employers of various sizes and in different sectors, we have developed a framework which shows the skills, abilities and competencies finance professionals need to drive the success of their organisations. 

New focus

The 2015 syllabus is competency-based; retaining the 2010 syllabus structure with its pillars and levels. It remains as strong as ever on the core accounting skills. We have added new material such as ‘Big Data’, sustainability, integrated reporting and finance function transformation. We have strengthened existing themes on costing and cost management, and carried the topic of ‘risk’ through all levels of the syllabus. We have also adjusted the weightings of some syllabus topics.


CIMA is the first global accountancy body to pioneer a combination of computerised assessments to examine our syllabus. Each subject is assessed not only by an objective test, but also by a case study which combines the knowledge and learning at each level of the qualification – resulting in nine objectives tests and three case studies. 

With all exams being computer-based, objective tests are available on demand, with four case study exam sittings per year.



Our aim has been to ensure the syllabus remains relevant and the learning experience of candidates matches the real world of business. We have worked closer than ever before with employers, members and students around the world to make sure we deliver the necessary changes. Our focus has been on how to increase 'employability'.

For students, we have completed a rigorous update that will make them more employable.
For anybody thinking of enrolling with CIMA, we have created a business-ready qualification.
For employers, we have ensured the content remains relevant to global business so their employees have the skills and competencies needed to deliver sustainable success for their organisation.
The many partners we work with – such as tuition providers – welcome our focus on assessment and the faster progression this brings.