If you work in accounting or want to work in accounting, getting a professional certification is a great way to improve your job prospects and earnings. Advanced accounting certifications boost your credibility and give you an edge over other professionals. When looking for the best people to work for their company, employers put a lot of value on a professional accounting qualification.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are two of the most well-known organisations in the accounting field that offer advanced certifications (ACCA).
Both are well-known and respected certifications that employers look for. They are also meant to set standards for how a professional should act. Their goals, on the other hand, are very different.
What is CIMA?
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, or CIMA, is the largest accounting group in the world. It is based in London. CIMA was founded in 1919. Its goal is to train accounting professionals to be competent and give them the tools they need to handle change and drive long-term success throughout a business organisation.
The CIMA qualification goes beyond accounting based on principles. It prepares the professional for constant change by giving them the skills they need to lead strategically when the business world is changing.
CIMA's certification process is based on three pillars: enterprise, performance, and financial. It focuses on how enterprise, performance, and financial disciplines work together and what strategies they use. A person with a CIMA gets the tools they need to establish themselves as a strategic business partner who can deliver a responsive result in a business environment that is always changing.
2. What can you do with a CIMA qualification?
Accountants who want to work in business can get a CIMA certification. CIMA takes your accounting knowledge as a starting point and helps you learn more than just numbers. With this qualification, you have been trained in related fields that help you make decisions about strategy, projects, operations, risks, and finances.
The ultimate goal of CIMA is to make professionals who are well-rounded and can help a company's success last.
CIMA is a good qualification for jobs that require planning and analysis. Accountants with a CIMA can work as financial analysts, commercial analysts, and financial controllers, among other jobs. A person with a CIMA professional qualification and a lot of experience could be on track to become a Chief Financial Officer or a Financial Director.
3. Pursuing a CIMA qualification
To get a CIMA qualification, you will need to spend a lot of time and money on your future career. There are two levels of membership that CIMA recognises, which are:
Associate: To become an associate, you must pass 12 theoretical exams including 3 case study exams, or get exemptions from them. Also, an Associate must have worked in a qualifying job for at least three years. This needs to be written down, and you must show that you have experience in technical, business, people, and leadership skills. For experience to be relevant, at least some of it must be at an intermediate, advanced, or expert level.
Fellow: If you want to reach the Fellow level, you'll be part of a small group of professionals who have shown they can lead in a strategic, operational, or technical way. Most of the time, a Fellow has worked on a board or has reported directly to directors in that role.
Associate and Fellow members are both Chartered Global Management Accountants and can add "CGMA" to the end of their names.
4. What is the average salary of someone with a CIMA?
In 2016, people with a qualified CIMA made an average of £64,011. People who worked in banking made an average of £85,334, while people who worked as lawyers made an average of £42,603.
5.What is ACCA?
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, or ACCA, was created in 1904 to make sure that accountants continue to work in an ethical and high-quality way. Business & Technology, Management Accounting, and Financial Accounting are all parts of the ACCA exams.
It is a broad qualification that focuses on keeping and improving high-quality accounting practises and financial reporting. It is more based on principles than CIMA, which gives it more flexibility and lets it be used in more industries and fields.
6.What can you do with an ACCA qualification?
Most of the time, an accountant with an ACCA qualification works in tax, audit, or consulting. They may work as financial or cost accountants for big or small companies in many different fields. The ACCA qualification is a good fit for jobs that check for compliance, do accounting or auditing work, or tell outside parties about financial results. With an ACCA qualification, a professional shows that they have a deep understanding of finances, have had advanced training in ethics, and can think strategically.
7. Studying to get a job with the ACCA
Getting an ACCA qualification will take a lot of time, just like getting a CIMA qualification. To get an ACCA certificate, you need to do the following:
- Pass 15 tests in a row.
- Take a course on ethics and professional skills
- Have three years of experience in the field
8. What is the average salary for someone who has an ACCA certificate?
In 2016, the average salary for an accountant at a large company was between £47,000 and £75,500. Accountants who have an ACCA qualification can usually negotiate a better salary and are usually paid at the higher end of this range.
9. What is the difference between CIMA and ACCA?
Before we talk about how they are different, let's look at how they are the same. Both degrees are very respected and are known all over the world. For CIMA and ACCA qualifications, you have to pass a series of difficult tests and have three years of experience in the field. They also need to keep learning to keep up with changing professional trends and keep up with professional standards.
Both qualifications are important and have a lot in common, but they serve very different purposes. The ACCA sets the standards that define professionals who work in auditing and accounting. They are focused on building a high level of credibility, work quality, and ethical practises to make their work seem more trustworthy to the public.
On the other hand, CIMA's goal is to train and shape leaders into true business partners who want to use strategy, operations, and enterprise to reach a successful result. The ACCA is more interested in how a company reports, while the CIMA is more interested in how a company runs.
ACCA or CIMA: Which is better for my career?
Whether a degree or a certificate is better for you depends on the career path you choose.
Employers look for ACCA candidates because they have great reporting skills, are honest, and can work in a variety of fields. Public accounting firms and companies that need a lot of knowledge for financial reporting will be interested in these traits.
CIMA is a specialised management accounting qualification, and if you want to work in business, employers will give you a lot of weight if you have CIMA. Employers know that a CIMA-qualified applicant has the strategic, operational, management, and people skills to help lead a company through rough times because the curriculum is designed to help professionals adapt to a business environment that changes quickly.
If you're thinking about what a professional certification can do for your accounting career, keep in mind that employers want to hire people who have both experience and a certification. Having a CIMA or ACCA qualification could make or break your chances of getting a job.
Here at Ujuzingo, we've made it a habit to support accounting and finance enthusiasts put their best foot forward as they search for opportunities that meet their skills and career aspirations, while also assisting employers in finding more job-ready applicants. Check out our accounting and finance courses or current job openings.