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Association of International Certified Professional Accountants or CGMA designation FAQs

Is the creation of the Association compliant with CIMA’s Royal Charter?

Yes, the pursuance of CIMA’s RC objectives (and likewise the AICPA’s mission) is at the heart of what the Association was set up to deliver. The two bodies continue to discharge their constitutional responsibilities, overseen by their Councils as before. In fact, we are doing even more today to support CIMA’s mission and the advancement of management accounting.

Is CIMA owned and controlled by the Association which in turn is owned and controlled by the AICPA?

No, CIMA is not owned or controlled by the Association, nor is the Association wholly owned or controlled by the AICPA. The Association is a company limited by guarantee and both CIMA and the AICPA are subscribers to the Association’s memorandum. Both professional Institutes continue to exist in their own right and have together created a third legal entity to provide programmes, services and support to their respective and collective members, students and stakeholders and shared service support to the two founding bodies. The Board of the Association treats management accounting and public accounting equally and includes Council members from both Institutes.

Is the transfer of assets to the Association commensurate with a takeover?

No – both CIMA and the AICPA have transferred some assets to the Association in return for expertise, services and support to their members, students and Institutes. The appropriate protections are in place to ensure adherence to CIMA’s Royal Charter objects and the AICPA’s mission.

Does CIMA remain an independent Chartered body?

Yes it does, and continues to exercise all of its governance, standard setting, licensing, regulatory oversight, compliance and public interest responsibilities as it always has done. CIMA continues to be the membership body for all ACMA and FCMA designation holders.

Do Associate (ACMA) and Fellow (FCMA) remain the two categories of CIMA membership?

Yes, this position was re-affirmed by CIMA’s Council in June 2017. CIMA and the Association honour and respect the hard work and perseverance it takes to become an ACMA/FCMA. These are highly valued designations which mark the completion of a challenging professional qualification and becoming a CIMA member. As an addition to these, the CGMA designation signals to employers across the world that members are part of a community of the most highly qualified management accountants worldwide.

Why do there appear to be fewer references to ACMA/FCMA on the CIMA website and on member communications?

While we may be expanding our (web) communications to include more global information, there has been no change to the number of references to ACMA/FCMA on the website.

What is the difference between A/FCMA and CGMA?

A/FCMA is awarded by CIMA and denotes membership of CIMA and holders are governed by the Laws of the Institute. CGMA is owned by the Association and is a proprietary set of designatory letters bestowed on individuals who have completed rigorous training, passing of examinations, and agreement to abide by an exacting code of ethics. CIMA members can and do hold a variety of designations, including, for example, MBA.

What is the rationale for the creation of the CGMA designation?

It provides a means for aligning visibly the commitment of both CIMA and the AICPA to supporting their respective members working in business; as a proprietary brand, it enables us to develop and expand support for the designation and management accounting around the world.

Is it true that more than 150,000 accounting and finance professionals now hold the CGMA designation?

Yes. CGMA signals achievement of professional education and experience as well as adherence to a code of conduct. It means that members are part of a management accounting community with access to resources to maintain competence and increase employability wherever in the world they live or work. It allows employers to identify qualified talent anywhere in the world.

Why is there lack of market recognition for CGMA?

Currently there is arguably less recognition in some markets for CGMA than there is for ACMA, FCMA and CPA, but building brand recognition on a global basis takes time and there has been positive progress since its launch. In fact, the international staffing firm Robert Half recently placed CGMA second in its list of “Accounting Certifications Employers Really Want to See."

Is there a lack of credibility of the CGMA designation due to US CPA PER process being different to the CIMA PER process and does this not produce two different classes of CGMA membership which dilutes market recognition?

No, the CGMA designation is underpinned by either the A/FCMA or CPA qualification which are in themselves highly respected professional designations and each of which offer a variety of routes to qualification and membership.

Is objective testing aligned with the commitments made by CIMA when obtaining the Royal Charter?

Yes, it is. The Charter permits standard setting and testing of same in a wide range of forms.

Is CGMA awarded to non-actively licensed CPAs?

Yes. US (State Board) qualified CPAs seeking the CGMA designation will do so by taking the same strategic case study examination as final level CIMA students and meeting the necessary and equivalent practical experience requirements. 

Why are Council members not responding to social media conversations about the Association and the CGMA designation?

Council members do not respond in their official capacities to LinkedIn conversations, or other social media threads, on any issues. Those responsible for answering have done so in numerous ways — by telephone and by comments in LinkedIn. Despite our outreach and correction of misconceptions and inaccurate information, a very small group of individuals continues to raise the same issues. 

Can the regional offices respond to emails and queries relating to the Association and the Royal Charter?

That is not their primary role; any such queries should be directed to the Secretary General of CIMA at the Helicon, London.

Why do both the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and the American Institute of CPAs have the acronym AICPA?

Significant sums were invested in protecting the name – Association of International Certified Professional Accountants – from the launch of the first joint venture between the two bodies in 2012. To minimise confusion there is an agreement between the bodies that the new entity is known as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and that the AICPA acronym is reserved for the founding professional body of the American Institute of CPAs.

Is membership of the Association automatic for all members of CIMA and the AICPA?

Yes, but it is not compulsory. The advantage of Association membership is that member and student services and support can be determined, prepared and then provided much faster and more cost effectively by the two bodies working together through the Association rather than working separately and incurring separate costs and duplication of effort. There are also many new resources being made available to all members through the Association.

Is the Association a member body of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) – the international regulatory body?

No, the Association is not a member of IFAC. CIMA and AICPA are member bodies of IFAC and continue to exercise their compliance regimes through their respective byelaws and constitutions. 

Is the CEO of the AICPA entitled to use the designation FCMA?

Like many others, he is entitled to do so having made a successful application in line with constitutional permissions.

Was Privy Council approval given for the establishment of the CGMA designation and the Association?

Privy Council approval was not necessary, although CIMA has always been happy to engage with the Privy Council Office on this and other matters.

When does CIMA have to get consent or approval from the Privy Council?

There are certain circumstances under CIMA’s constitutional documents in which CIMA must seek Privy Council consent; for example, amendments to the Byelaws. However, the Privy Council has no general “policing” role in relation to CIMA or any other chartered bodies. More information about the powers of the Privy Council is set out on its website at the following link:

Does CIMA still have Regional Boards?

The Regional Board structure is now part of our Association of International Certified Professional Accountants structure and supports the Management Accounting Board in fulfilling its responsibilities; these Boards have no governance responsibilities; they provide input to strategy and serve as local strategic input and “eyes and ears” into the ongoing needs of student, members and key stakeholders in the many geographies around the world. CIMA does, however, have Area & Branch bodies in the UK and around the world which continue to deliver support to members.

Why then are CIMA members invited to participate in the vote to elect Regional Board members?

As CIMA members, you are also a member of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants representing 667,000 members and students around the world.  As CIMA and Association members, you vote on the elected member composition of the Boards which is determined via a combination of nomination (75%) and election (25%); it is important for CIMA members to as they provide input into the strategic direction of the Association on Management Accounting.

Is the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants a member of IFAC?

The Association is not a member of IFAC. However, both the AICPA and CIMA are members of IFAC. If the Association applied for membership of IFAC, it would be admitted into membership.

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