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Difference between CIMA and ACMA

Management accounting has become very important in a past few decades because it provides the information that is crucial to the decision making process. Whether it is a small firm or a large organization, management accounting plays a vital role in the success of a business as it produces data driven input for the company management so that they can accomplish their targets. The most important element in any business is the revenue, and the management accounting information helps in determining the items that should be sold and how those items can be sold.

Due to the growing importance of management accounting in a corporate sector, companies felt the need to hire certified accountants who are qualified to perform their job efficiently. This is the reason why certifications in management accounting were introduced. Two of the most widely known certifications are CIMA and ACMA. Although, both the certifications are for management accounting professionals, yet there are certain differences between these professional certifications. Some of the differences are discussed below.


What are CIMA and ACMA?

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountant or CIMA is a professional body for management accountant that provides qualification and training in management accounting. It is a UK based body and focuses on accounting for business. CIMA professionals are usually involved in making strategic management decisions, and formulate strategies for businesses based on their knowledge and training. Over the years, they have sharpened their skills to meet the challenging requirements in the management decision making of the corporate sector.

On the other hand, ACMA, also known as Associates of Cost and Management Accountants, is a certification provided by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP). These institutes are members of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and are playing a vital role to train management accountants at domestic as well as international level. ACMA professionals are providing their services at a middle management position in consultancy firms, industrial sector and financial institutions. The ACMA professionals are the backbone of the organization. They gather and analyze the data, participate in the planning process and design and implement an effective control mechanism.

Exam Structure

CIMA usually has four levels including, Operational, Management, Strategic and Professional Competence Level. The courses are then divided into these levels. Each level contains a set of three courses that cover financial, performance and enterprise aspect of the corporate sector. However, the last level has two parts. In Part A, it is mandatory to have a practical experience to get CIMA membership and in Part B, a candidate is required to take a three hour case study based exam.

The exam structure of ACMA certification is different in ICAI and ICMAP. ICAI has divided the curriculum in three courses including, foundation, intermediate and final course. There are four papers in the first part. Intermediate level is divided into two groups and each group contains four papers. The last part, known as final level, again has two groups and each group has four papers. On the other hand, ICMAP has a semester system and there are total six semesters in ACMA. There are total eighteen papers and each semester consists of three papers.

Courses Offered

CIMA offers Enterprise Operations, Performance Operations and Financial Operations in the first level. In the second level, it offers Enterprise Management, Performance Management and Financial Management. And in the third part, following courses are included: Enterprise Strategy, Performance Strategy and Financial Strategy. As already discussed, the Professional Competence level contains Part A and Part B, where Part A requires an experience of three years and Part B is a case study based exam.

The courses offered to ACMA professionals usually include, Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Business Mathematics and Statistics, Enterprise Management, Business Economics, Commercial law and professional ethics, Strategic Financial Management, Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management, Strategic Performance Management, Cost and Management Audit, Tax Management and Practice, Corporate Financial Reporting etc.

Despite the differences between these two certifications, the motive of both CIMA and ACMA is to contribute to better corporate governance and Total Quality Management (TQM). They are providing efficient tools to provide an effective management information system and also playing a vital role to provide assistance in the overall decision making process. Therefore, there is no doubt that welfare of small as well as large businesses is greatly dependent on the services provided by the professional management accountants.

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  1. whichone is best or easy , or the best institute for cima in pakistan where pasing ratio is good enough?

  2. shahzaibsaleem, which one?

  3. CIMA…………………….. you will get certification prior to your marriage or childrens

    ICMAP……………… you and your children and their children will wait for YOUR certification

  4. Are you still using this procedure? I find this far more sophisticated compared
    to other people inside this market place.

  5. Good afternoon sir/ma does ACMA admit direct membership and what is the qualifications required?

  6. So tell me which one is best CIMA or ACMA I need some help

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