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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 2019 Professional Qualification continues to bridge the skills gap of newly qualified finance professionals worldwide, meeting the employability needs of both business and people.

In an increasingly digital world it is imperative that finance professionals not only possess sound technical accounting and finance skills, but can also understand how digitalization and rapid changes in technology are creating challenges, and opportunities, for organisations.

The updated syllabus includes how the digital world affects finance; this can be seen through the introduction of digital costing and digital strategy. Topics such as cybersecurity and business models have been have also been incorporated. Existing areas, such as integrated reporting, have been expanded to reflect their growing prominence.

Download the 2019 syllabus

The 2015 CIMA Syllabus will still be examined until 3rd November for objective tests and for case studies the last examination window will also be November.

Download the 2015 syllabus

For the first time, under the updated 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification, CIMA is publishing examination blueprints based on the syllabus which set out in detail what is examinable in each of the nine Objective Tests and three Case Study examinations.

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 the role of the finance function and how it interacts with the organization through the use of data and technology. It looks at business models and the management of people and projects to achieve organisational goals. It deals with the formulation and implementation of 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 risk management to ensure that strategy is realistic and to monitor its implementation. It shows how to use an understanding of costs to construct budgets, make decisions about prices and capital expenditure, manage costs and manage performance. It develops the skills to progressively 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 focus is the financial accounting and reporting obligations of the organisation. This includes an understanding of the regulatory framework and external reporting requirements, and the ability to construct and evaluate complex financial statements to show the financial position and performance of the organisation. The fundamentals of business tax are covered, as are the tax implications of financing decisions. It also looks at formulating financial strategy, which is linked to the formulation of organisational strategy in the enterprise pillar and assessing risk in the performance pillar.

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 over 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 focuses on the short term and the implementation of decisions. Candidates will be able to work with others in the organisation and use appropriate data and technology to translate medium term decisions into short term actionable plans.

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

Find out more

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 focuses on translating long term decisions into medium term plans. Candidates will be able to use data and relevant technology to manage organisational and individual performance, allocate resources to implement decisions; monitor and report implementation of decisions; as well as prepare and interpret financial statements to show performance.

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 focuses on long term strategic decision making. Candidates will be able to support organisational leaders to craft strategy; evaluate and manage risks that might prevent organisations from successfully implementing strategy; value organisations; and source financial resources required to implement of strategy.

Find out more

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 understanding 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.