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FAQs

In April 2016, we wrote to our members about our long-term strategy and the proposal from CIMA’s Council to evolve our joint venture with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and create a new association that would represent the breadth of the accounting profession. 

Following the recent ballot, we are pleased to share the good news that members of CIMA and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) have overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal to evolve our joint venture and create The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants ('the Association').

1. What is The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants?

CIMA and the AICPA are joining forces to create The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants ('the Association') with over 600,000 current and next-generation professionals. We aim to become the world’s most influential professional body of accountants while continuing to operate the two membership bodies our communities have collectively trusted for many decades. We will also aim to advance the entire breadth of the accounting profession – both management and public accounting – and continue to raise the profile of the CGMA designation globally to further enhance member employability and recognition.

2. What does this mean for CIMA members and students?

CIMA members and students will keep everything they value from CIMA while benefiting from the combined strength of the two organisations. We will be stronger together, allocating resources more effectively and achieving greater efficiencies to deliver better services and benefits to them. Members will retain their membership of CIMA and designations, but they will automatically become a member of the new joint venture Association.

3. What are the next steps?

We will commence working to integrate our operations and implementation of the proposal will begin straight away. While full integration will of course take time, the new Association will launch in 2017 to deliver additional value to members and students.

4. Why are CIMA and the AICPA joining forces to create a new accounting association?

Remaining competitive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world is harder than ever and we understand the complexity in sustaining a business. That is why we believe we must evolve to continue advancing our profession — expanding opportunities, and keeping our designations at the forefront of market demand. 

CIMA and the AICPA have been working together since 2011 to advance management accounting. We created a new designation, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). The CGMA designation is designed to elevate the management accounting profession and further emphasise its importance for businesses worldwide.

The new Association will build on the history and reputation of both CIMA and the AICPA and by integrating strategy, management and operations, we aim to become stronger, provide better and more responsive services to better serve our members and students in the competitive challenges that lie ahead.

5. Who is the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)?

The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 412,000 members in 144 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887.  Members of the AICPA represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.

6. What are the successes of the initial joint venture?

Through our close collaboration since 2011, CIMA and the AICPA have promoted and developed the science of management accounting, as well as enhanced the competency of people who are within or working towards entering the profession.

One of the achievements of our partnership is the development of the Global Management Accounting Principles, which represent the first set of universal principles to guide the practice of management accounting, and which have gained increasing endorsements worldwide. The two organisations have also developed a competency framework as well as a competency and learning website – these help management accountants understand the knowledge requirements and assess the skills needed for both current and desired roles, provide a variety of learning resources and empower CGMAs to take control of their career development by discovering and learning new skills.

The joint venture has led to the increased recognition of management accounting across the world among key stakeholder groups, from employers to those considering a career in the accountancy profession. In addition, since 2012 more than 50,000 professionals have become CGMA designation holders in the US. The joint venture has therefore enabled CIMA and the AICPA to elevate the profile of management accounting in the world’s largest economy, increasing the employability of management accountants.

7. How will the Association differ from the 2011 joint venture?

The 2011 joint venture was set up to power the CGMA designation, which is designed to widen the geographic reach of management accounting and further emphasise its importance for businesses worldwide. 

The creation of the Association represents an evolution of the joint venture. CIMA and the AICPA are joining forces to create a new accounting association while continuing to operate the membership bodies and Councils of CIMA and the AICPA that our communities have collectively trusted for many decades. There will be integration of management, strategy and operational activities of CIMA and the AICPA through the Association. Together, we aim to advance the entire breadth of the accounting profession – both management and public accounting – and continue to raise the profile of the CGMA designation globally to further enhance member employability and recognition.

8. Does this mean that CIMA is moving into public accounting?

CIMA has no plans to move into public accounting and will retain its strong focus on management accounting. By joining forces with the AICPA, we aim to advance the entire breadth of the accounting profession – both management and public accounting – and continue to raise the profile of the CGMA designation globally to further enhance member employability and recognition.

9. Are the AICPA taking over CIMA?

No. Our agreement with the AICPA states that a new Association will be created, while both CIMA and the AICPA will remain two separate entities and their respective Councils will remain. CIMA’s Royal Charter will also remain. Members will retain their membership of CIMA, as well as their A/FCMA and CGMA designations, but they will automatically become a member of the new joint venture Association. By joining forces with the AICPA, we aim to advance the entire breadth of the accounting profession – both management and public accounting – and continue to raise the profile of the CGMA designation globally to further enhance member employability and recognition.

10. Will I retain my Associate / Fellowship status?

All CIMA members will retain their Associate / Fellowship status (A/FCMA) and CGMA designation, and will continue to be able to refer to themselves as a “Chartered Global Management Accountant”. In addition, CIMA members will automatically become a member of the new joint venture Association.

11. As a CIMA member will I automatically become a US CPA?

CIMA members will not automatically become a US CPA because the AICPA does not award the CPA designation. The Association does not serve as a MRA route for CIMA members to become a US CPA as the professional qualification process to become licensed as a US CPA is set by each US state government accountancy board. Generally it requires the equivalent of a masters degree, passage of the 4-part Uniform CPA Examination and two years of experience. Any A/FCMA wishing to be a licensed US CPA will have to go through the qualification process of the state in which s/he wishes to practice.

12. As part of the Association, will all CPAs become A/FCMAs and CGMAs?

No. The route to CGMA remains the same for CPAs. They must pass the CGMA case study exam, meet experience requirements and be a member of the AICPA to qualify for the CGMA designation.

13. Will the Association have an impact on CIMA members who are retired under the current remission criteria?

At present it is not anticipated that there will be any impact on CIMA members who are retired under the current remission criteria.

14. Will my CIMA subscriptions also cover for membership of the new Association?

Subscription fees paid to CIMA will provide automatic membership in both CIMA and the new Association.

15. Will the new Association align the practical experience requirements of both bodies?

Both CIMA and the AICPA have already aligned ethical and experience requirements for the CGMA designation and will continue to be committed to this as part of the Association.

16. Will my members’ and students’ subscription fees change as a result of the creation of the new Association?

There are no plans to change subscription fees specifically to support the creation of the Association. CIMA member and student subscription fees will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis as usual.

17. Will this affect the 2015 CIMA Syllabus or other CIMA products such as the Global Business Services qualifications?

The syllabus was updated for 2015 and we will continue to work with employers, tuition providers and students to ensure that it retains the high standards required. The same applies to all of our products and qualifications. CIMA will still continue to administer exams for all its qualifications and the fees will continue to be paid in GBP to CIMA.

18. How do I find out more information about the new Association?

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress. If you have an enquiry, you may contact us at vision@cimaglobal.com and we will attend to your enquiries as soon as possible.

19. Whom should I contact with my enquiries – CIMA or the Association?

You should continue to contact CIMA with your enquiries. View contact details for our global contact centres.

20. How will this affect MRAs with other bodies?

CIMA values its existing mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) with other professional bodies and will commence discussions on the ongoing relationship with those professional bodies over the coming months.