CIMA Professional Qualification

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

Join 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.

As a CIMA-qualified professional, you will be able to drive business success. You will use your financial knowledge to influence strategic decisions and manage performance. 

How do I become a CIMA qualified professional?

Anyone can study CIMA, whether you’re new to business and accounting or already have some experience. Your most important requirements are a good understanding of business English and maths.

First steps

Before you can get started on the syllabus, you will need a foundation certificate in business or accounting studies.

These can be:


You may be exempt from certain exams for the Certificate in Business Accounting and the CIMA Professional Qualification if you hold a relevant degree or qualification.

Find out more about exemptions

More information on how to get started at CIMA 

How is the qualification syllabus structured?

The course encourages a step by step development of finance and business knowledge. You will learn the skills required by today’s businesses. It has three pillars and four levels.

CIMA Professional Qualification diagram


As a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), you won’t be just a number cruncher, you will manage the future of a business. 

The three pillars represent specific areas of knowledge (see graphic below). The content of each pillar develops as you move up the qualification. The pillars are interlinked to provide a consistent body of knowledge. They are designed to cover a range of useful business areas in addition to finance:

  • Enterprise: how to formulate and effectively implement strategy
  • Performance: how finance helps in formulating and effectively implementing strategy 
  • Financial: how to prepare and interpret financial statements to make decisions. 


The syllabus is also divided into three levels of achievement. You will progress from the Operational Level, to the Management Level and finally, to Strategic Level.

The Levels encourage a linear development of knowledge. This ensures you learn the relevant skills needed by today’s businesses.

  • Operational: how to prepare financial statements, provide management accounting information, and use appropriate tools for decision making through a broad understanding of business. After successfully completing this level, you will receive the CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting.
  • Management: how to prepare group accounts, make pricing and product decisions based on a robust analysis, and manage projects and relationships. On completion, you receive the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting.
  • Strategic: how to formulate financial strategy and manage strategic relationships while managing risk, using the competencies gained at operational and management levels

T4 - test of professional competence

The Test of professional competence comprises two component parts that must both be achieved in order to complete the test. 

Part A - initial professional development – work-based practical experience
Students prepare and submit a ‘CIMA career profile’ for assessment of their personal work-based practical experience and skills development. 

Part B - case study examination
An assessment of competence, completed within a supervised examination environment.

Parts A and B of this test bridges the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’. On completion, you become a Chartered Global Management Accountant with the designatory letters ACMA and CGMA.

Download our full syllabus

How can I study?

You can study either full or part time. There are different ways to study depending on what works best for you, including:

2015 syllabus

We have introduced an updated syllabus and assessment method for the professional qualification which will take effect from January 2015, which includes a move away from paper-based assessments. 

Find out more about the 2015 syllabus.

Practice exams

Our practice exams enable you to get hands-on experience of the new computer-based assessment.

Try them now.

What should I do next?

Register as a student


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