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Professional Qualification

Bridging the skills gap

Producing competent and confident management accounting professionals who can guide and lead their organisations to sustainable success.

CIMA Professional Qualification

The CIMA Professional Qualification is recognised worldwide as the most relevant global finance qualification for a career in business.

By studying with CIMA you will be joining a global organisation powered by two of the world’s leading accounting bodies (AICPA – the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and CIMA). We work together to make management accounting the most valued profession in business worldwide.

On completion of the CIMA Professional Qualification, you will be awarded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, recognising your value and showcasing your professionalism, business and leadership skills, ethics and commitment.

As accountants in business, management accountants need to understand how businesses operate, how they are managed, how people work together and how strategy is formulated.

They also need to be able to provide the analysis which managers need to understand the economics of a businesses’ operations, to manage performance and to manage risk. These capabilities are in addition to the core technical financial accounting skills expected of a professional accountant.

Only the CIMA Professional Qualification can give you the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience needed add value to organisations and drive business success.

The pillars

Three learning pillars

The content of the Enterprise pillar develops as students progress through the qualification. The pillars are interlinked to provide a consistent body of knowledge and are designed to cover a range of valuable business areas in addition to finance.

The Enterprise pillar focuses on how to formulate as well as effectively implement strategy. It emphasises how change management, project management and relationship management and the structuring of organisations can help to successfully implement strategy.

The content of the Performance pillar develops as students progress through the qualification. The pillars are interlinked to provide a consistent body of knowledge and are designed to cover a range of valuable business areas in addition to finance.

The Performance pillar uses the tools and techniques of management accounting and reeks management to ensure a realistic strategy and to monitor implementation. It covers budgets and cost management and develops the ability to identify, classify, evaluate and manage risk.

The content of the Financial pillar develops as students progress through the qualification. The pillars are interlinked to provide a consistent body of knowledge and are designed to cover a range of valuable business areas in addition to finance.

The Financial pillar focuses on how to prepare and interpret financial statements with an understanding of the regulatory framework and external reporting requirements. It looks at tax implications of financing decisions and formulating financial strategy.

The full structure and assessment approach

The syllabus is split into three pillars and three levels, and comprises 12 exams: nine Objective Tests, and three Case Study exams.

  • Objective Tests are 90 minutes long, computer based and available on demand at aover 5,000 Pearson VUE assessment centres worldwide.
  • Case Study exams are 3 hours long and available in four windows throughout the year, also computer-based and available at over 5,000 Pearson VUE assessment centres worldwide.

Find out more about assessment

The levels

Three levels of progression

Operational level

This is first level of the Professional Qualification and consists of three computer based Objective Tests and one Case Study exam.

The Operational level covers the implementation of strategy, as well as reporting on the implementation of strategy. Its focus is short-term.

Students will learn how to:

  • Prepare financial statements
  • Provide management accounting information
  • Use appropriate tools for decision making through a broad understanding of business

After successfully completing this level, students will receive the CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Dip MA).

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Management level

This is the second level of the Professional Qualification and consists of three computer based Objective Tests and one Case Study.

The Management level translates the strategy decided at higher levels, and communicates it to lower levels for implementation. It monitors and reports on the implementation of strategy, and ensures corrective action is taken when required. It has a medium-term focus.

Students will learn how to:

  • Prepare group accounts
  • Make pricing and product decisions based on a robust analysis
  • Manage projects and relationships

On completion, you receive the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Adv Dip MA).

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Strategic level

This is the third level of the Professional Qualification and consists of three computer based Objective Tests and one Case Study exam.

The Strategic level concentrates on making strategic decisions and providing the context for which those decisions will be implemented. Its focus is the long-term.

Students will learn how to:

  • formulate financial strategy
  • manage strategic relationships
  • identify and manage risk

The subjects at each level and designed to be sequential, from Operational to Strategic level, encouraging the progressive development of knowledge, techniques and skills.

On completion of the Strategic level, students will be eligible to submit their practical experience for assessment.

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On successful completion of the practical experience requirements, students will be admitted to associate membership and granted the associate chartered management accountant (ACMA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designations.

Educating for employability

The increasing complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in the operating environments of organisations make it difficult for their leaders and employees to create and preserve value. Finance professional with high quality technical skills, deep undertstanding of their organisations, and the ability to influence and lead people can provide the insight those organisations need to craft and successful execute their strategies.

The CIMA Professional Qualification has been designed to enable this. Our syllabus and assessment bridges the skills gaps of newly qualified finance professionals worldwide, meeting the employability needs of both business and people and is aligned to the real world of business.

More information

  • Exemptions

    If you already hold a degree or other relevant qualification, you may be eligible for exemptions from one or more subjects from the CIMA Professional Qualification.

  • Study options

    CIMA’s flexible structure and on-demand exams put you in the driving seat - giving you complete control over how, when and where you study - so the way you study will hold the key to your exam success.

  • Register with CIMA

    Ready to take the first step towards a successful career in business and finance? Register with CIMA today and kick-start your studies.