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Current CIMA students can now choose a new method of study and assessment to earn their Professional Qualification

What is the Finance Leadership Programme?

The CGMA® Finance Leadership Programme is a competency-based digital learning experience and your pathway to earn CIMA’s CGMA® Professional Qualification the CGMA designation. The Finance Leadership Programme is delivered via an online, learning and assessment platform founded on the CGMA Competency Framework and the 2019 Professional Qualification Syllabus. The programme sets out to in still the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to proceed through the Operational, Management, and Strategic case study exams – the points at which the programme converges with the CGMA Professional Qualification. 

Why did CIMA develop the Finance Leadership Programme?

The Finance Leadership Programme the outcome of our continuous engagement with students and employers. They have expressed their need for new and different learning options with greater flexibility while ensuring that the same standards of competence are maintained. The programme provides students and their employers with an alternative pathway which can meet their diverse needs in a different but equally valid way to that of the traditional CIMA pathway.

How is the Finance Leadership Programme structured?

The general structure of the programme is almost identical to that set out in the CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification syllabus, and consists of three main levels: Operational, Management and Strategic. Each level follows the same structure: 

  • The Topic is the most granular piece of learning content within the programme. Each assessed Topic will include a group of topic-level assessment questions (TLAs). These TLAs are what determines your proficiency and progression through the programme. There are approximately 300 topics in total across the programme, however not all Topics are assessed. 
  • A collection of associated Topics is grouped together into Skill Sets, which are primarily used to capture and display your progression on the student dashboard. There is no assessment at this level. 
  • A collection of associated Skill Sets is grouped together into a Competency AreaCompetency Areas are the major milestone for you on your journey through the programme, and are the delivery point for the comprehensive, learning assignments called the Business Simulation Assignments (BSA). The BSA is a customized, learning assignment which you can apply your learning in a risk-free environment because you are not graded on them. BSAs can only be accessed after you successfully complete all Skill Sets within a Competency Area. 
  • The Exam Review Course is available on its own tab on the student platform and provides insight on the exam purpose and structure and also includes mock (practice) exams, some of which are graded by an external tutor.  
  • Case Study Exams are three hours and designed for you to demonstrate your mastery of the content by completing several simulated workplace tasks. To progress from one level to the next, you must take and pass the case study exam at your current level. After a student completes a CS exam , they can continue to a higher level of learning and progress further by completing competencies, therefore no delays in moving forward with their study. This flexibility to progress whilst you wait on their exam results is unique to FLP and  if you fail the earlier Case Study you can repeat it whilst your higher level progress is retained. You are eligible to sit for the case study exam when you have passed all your assessment and completed all relevant BSAs your level (however you can book your Case Study exam well in advance when studying on the programme as soon as the respective exam window opens). Case study exams are proctored at Pearson Vue test centres or online. The same case study exam is used for all CGMA Professional Qualification students regardless of their learning path.

What are the similarities between the self-study route and the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme (FLP) route to the CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification (PQ)?

Both routes are founded on the same CGMA syllabus and teach the same competencies to prepare finance professionals for careers in management accounting. Regardless of which programme you take, you will be assessed on the same material and must demonstrate the same level of competency and experience to earn the CGMA® designation and CIMA® membership.

Who developed the learning and assessment content for the Finance Leadership Programme?

All the subject matter experts that we use to produce our learning and assessment content have extensive experience in working with the CIMA’s CGMA syllabus, delivering the CGMA qualification and developing learning content. Many of our partners will have worked with other, similar organisations, and we utilise this experience to enhance our own offer.  

There are many robust quality assurance processes and review stages to ensure that the content seen by students is off the highest standards. We also continuously monitor this content to ensure it is performing as expected, as well as providing feedback channels for students and other stakeholders. 

What subscription options are available for FLP?

There are several flexible Finance Leadership Program package offerings designed with your goals and schedule in mind. These options are described below but are not available in all markets.

  • Skills Core – develop the competencies you need to accelerate your career. Earn Skill Certificates to showcase your accomplishments. There are no exam credits or exam preparation materials included in this option.
  • Skills Plus – develop competencies to accelerate your career and advance your journey toward the CGMA Professional Qualification by preparing for and taking the case study exams. Two exam credits per required case study exam are included in this option.
  • Skills Premium – develop critical competencies, take the case study exams and advance toward CGMA with live, online, interactive classes  and support from expert tutors(Delivered by our partner Kaplan). Two exam credits per required case study exam are included in this option.

The table below gives a breakdown of what is included for each subscription:

What is the price of subscription package options are available for the CGMA Finance Leadership Program?

The price depends on which subscription package and duration you select. From September 1 2022, these are the prices. These prices are including VAT.

Note: These prices will be available to students in the UK on September 6, 2022, which is the date launch date of FLP in the UK.

Product 1 year 2 years 3 years
Core** £1,920 N/A N/A
Plus £2,400 £4,080 £6,120
Premium £3,600 £6,120 £9,180

*For UK students, all prices are inclusive of UK VAT
**The Core product is not currently available in the UK. Core subscription does not include exam credits of Case Study Review Course

When do the first Skills Premium classes take place?

The October Learning class window live session dates are below for each level. All live sessions will run from approximately 6:00pm-8:30pm UK local time and are subject to change.

Operational Level: October 12; October 24; November 16; November 28; December 12; January 9; January 16; February 6; February 20; March 6; March 20.

Management Level: October 13; October 27; November 7; November 22; December 5; January 23; February 2; February 13; February 28; March 13; March 28.

Strategic Level: October 10; October 25; November 8; November 22; December 6; January 10; January 24; January 31; February 28; March 7; March 14.

How do Finance Leadership Programme assessments compare to CIMA’s Objective Tests?

Within the Finance Leadership Programme, student proficiency and progression are determined by topic-level assessments (TLAs). These are objective questions which students must successfully undertake to complete individual topics and progress through the programme. 

The main difference between TLAs and Objective Tests (OTs) is in their delivery. TLAs are linked to individual topics, meaning that students will undertake these assessments – and demonstrate their proficiency – continuously as they complete each topic rather than taking an exam in a test centre. This provides more flexibility to students, but also means that there is much more assessment: students will, on average, undertake three times more questions per subject area in the Finance Leadership Programme than through OTs.

For certain topics in the Finance Leadership Programme, students can also choose to ‘pre-assess’, or take the TLAs before they attempt the learning. Again, this provides more flexibility for students by allowing them to demonstrate prior learning or experience and use this to speed up their journey through the programme. Students can only attempt to pre-assess a topic once: the threshold for completing pre-assessment is higher and, if a student does not complete it successfully, they must then undertake the learning before attempting the assessment again.

Otherwise, the format, complexity and coverage of TLAs and OTs is identical. Individual TLAs for each topic are produced using the same processes, to the same standards and verb levels set out in the CIMA’s CGMA syllabus, as are questions used in OTs.

How will my learning be different?

A key difference between the two programmes is how you learn. In the self-study route, you have the flexibility to find a learning provider that fits your needs, timelines and preferred learning format. In the CGMA FLP, the learning is part of the all-inclusive subscription package and delivered online in a self-paced e-learning environment.

Is the CGMA FLP more flexible in terms of learning?

The CGMA FLP allows you to learn and be assessed online, at your pace. As there are no objective test exam dates to schedule or work towards, you can study when you want, wherever you are and even learn the topics in whichever order you like.

How is assessment different?

The self-study route uses objective tests to assess topic proficiency within each of nine competency areas of the syllabus. These objective tests (OT) are multiple choice and taken via Pearson VUE, either at testing centres or online. You can decide when you are ready to take an OT and schedule your exam sitting at any time.

The CGMA FLP seamlessly blends learning and assessments to ensure you understand key topics and can apply new skills before you move on to more advanced business concepts. Topic proficiency is regularly assessed via multiple-choice questions that are embedded into the online learning experience.

In both programmes, you must pass the assessment of all competencies within a given level to be eligible and authorised to sit for a case study exam.  

Are the Case study exams the same?

Regardless of which programme you choose, you will take the same case study exams, under the same exam conditions and to the same standards. All case study exams are offered four times per year, administered worldwide via Pearson VUE either in testing centres or online.

What are the Practical experience requirement (PER)?

All CIMA members must meet the same practical experience requirements. For complete details, click here. You will be advised on what steps you need to take leading up to, or upon completion of the strategic level case study exam. You will need to submit your PER and application, which can be accessed online from the My Account section.  

Do I earn the same Awards in the Finance Leadership Programme?

Yes, Awards are the same for both routes. Upon completion of the CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification, you will be awarded CIMA membership at either the ACMA or FCMA level. You will also be awarded the CGMA designation. For completing the Operational level or Management level you will earn CIMA’s CGMA diploma. In addition, Digital Skills Certificate are awarded upon completion of modules.  All CIMA students will get the same diplomas sent via mail when they pass the Operational Case Study Exam or Management Case Study exams.

What happens when a CIMA student wants to transition to the CGMA FLP? What is the process for switching?

Any CIMA student who wishes to transition to the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme route can do so by starting the registration process. During the registration process, you will be identified as a CIMA student and we will review your status, location and other relevant information to ensure you’re eligible for the programme. If you are eligible, the reviewer will send you a consent email, explaining the details of making the switch. You must then confirm that you wish to do so. Upon receipt of the confirmation, you will be transferred.

Am I eligible for the CGMA FLP?

Eligibility for FLP is open to anyone with the relevant academic qualifications to exempt them from Certificate level.  Also, all current or lapsed CIMA students at Operational level or above are eligible to transition to the CGMA FLP. There is no re-registration fee, as all fees are covered in the bundled CGMA FLP purchase price.

Please note, if you’re on the apprenticeship route, you cannot move over to FLP.

Any person who is restricted from being a CIMA student for disciplinary or other reasons is ineligible for the CGMA FLP.


How is my progress transitioned?

You will maintain all progress you have made with CIMA as a student, as outlined here:
  • If objectives tests have been passed, you will receive credit for the corresponding competency area learning and assessment. This means you will not be required to re-take the learning or assessment in competency areas where you have already proven your proficiency via Objective Test.
  • If case study exams have been passed, you will receive credit for them in the CGMA FLP and will not be required to re-take them.
  • No credit is given for learning taken with other providers, as it did not include the necessary assessment that is embedded in the CGMA FLP.

How is the entry route determined?

The online sign-up process will guide you to a recommended entry route to start your studies to the CGMA Qualification, based on your unique education, professional qualification, and experience. The rules are the same regardless of if you select to study via Finance Leadership Programme or traditional route taking Objective Tests.

If you already are a CIMA student and transition to the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme, your entry route decision will not change.

What is included in the subscription?

Everything you need to complete the CGMA FLP is included, no supplementary learning, tuition support or materials are required. Regardless of length, each subscription includes:

  • Registration fee
  • Student fees
  • Case study exam fee
  • All learning materials
  • All assessment materials
  • Interactive exercises
  • 2 Case Study exam credits per level included in subscription period
  • Business simulation assignments
  • Access to tutor videos about how to approach your case study exam
  • Video analysis of the pre-seen materials for your case study window
  • Graded case study mock exams with personalised feedback

Is all learning mandatory in the CGMA FLP?

Mandatory learning depends on where you enter the programme. You must complete all learning (including embedded assessments) and case study exams to pass a level and progress through the programme. You have access to all levels of learning at all times, regardless of your entry route, therefore, earlier learning is always available to all students for revision, if needed.

Transfer students’ frequently asked questions

Do I need to have an active CIMA student subscription to study CIMA’s CGMA via the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme?

No, the all-inclusive subscription package includes your CIMA student subscription fees.

  • If you do not have an active subscription, we will restart one for you.
  • If you have an active CIMA student subscription, we will transition it into the new Finance Leadership Programme subscription and add a new end date.

How long will my Finance Leadership Programme subscription last? Will it end when my current CIMA student subscription ends?

You will get a new student subscription to the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme, which will be active for the length of subscription you choose (1, 2 or 3 years) starting with the day of purchase. For example, if you purchase a 1-year subscription on April 1, 2022, it will expire on April 1, 2023.

Will I get credit for the CIMA students dues I paid for the rest of the year?

No, all dues paid are non-refundable.  All membership fees are included in the programme subscription cost.

I have already paid for an OT and/or case study exam, can I get a credit for that?

You will not automatically get a credit when you transfer to the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme. You must cancel your scheduled exams with Pearson VUE, and you will receive a refund to the card you used to pay for the exam. Note: Exams must be cancelled at least 48 hours ahead of the scheduled exam sitting to be eligible for a full refund.

Can I do more than one level and case study per year in the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme?

Yes, with an active subscription to the CGMA FLP you can progress as far as you’re able for the duration of your subscription. The subscription does not prevent or restrict progression. For example, if you have time to complete the learning and exam prep for one level and pass the case study exam, you can then continue to the next level learning and possibly even finish the exam prep and case study for that level, too. Active students are encouraged and rewarded.

Will CIMA mail me the diploma and advanced diploma when I am studying the CGMA FLP route?

Yes, all CIMA students will get the same diplomas sent via mail when they pass the Operational Case Study Exam or Management Case Study exams.

Can I pay my CGMA FLP subscription in instalments?

No. You pay for your chosen subscription in one payment.

Does the assessment methodology in CGMA Finance Leadership Programme take as long to complete as the OT exams?

The embedded assessments after each topic take a short time to complete. Due to the assessment model, students can progress as fast or as slow as they wish through the learning, but students should invest the appropriate time in learning and assessment throughout each respective level and in preparation for the Case Study exam.

Why don’t I have to take assessments at a test centre or online?

As we deliver the learning and embedded assessment through the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme, we can be confident that you have all the tools and materials within the programme to complete the qualification and be fully prepared to take the case study exams.

How long does it take to complete a level?

The programme is entirely self-directed, so you can complete it at whatever pace you prefer. If you have ample time to dedicate to completing the learning and prepping for exams, it’s possible to complete multiple levels in a year. Typically, a learning level takes around 100–150 hours to complete and case study preparation takes an additional 50–75 hours.

If I transfer to Finance Leadership Programme do I need to submit proof of my previous qualifications to get my existing exemptions re-approved?

Any existing student who transfers to FLP will have had their exemptions reviewed and approved.  There is no further reviews needed.

Is the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme available in the UK?

In the UK, we are working with our strategic partners (including tuition providers) on ways to embrace this new approach. We intend to roll this out in September 2022.

Upon completion of the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme, do I still obtain the same ACMA, CGMA membership under CIMA’s CGMA PQ?

Yes — the CGMA FLP confers the same benefits as other routes to the CIMA’s CGMA PQ.

Can I switch back to CIMA’s CGMA PQ route if I decide that I no longer wish to proceed with the CGMA Finance Leadership Programme?

Yes, switching between the various pathways will be available later this year as we update our registration process.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions?

For any additional queries you can to speak directly to the Global Engagement Centre. We recommend using the online chat feature for the best service experience.

You can schedule an appointment to chat with us at a time that suits you: cimaglobal.com/appointments/

Email: flp@aicpa-cima.com