Quick Guide to CIMA Qualification

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

CIMA is the world’s largest and leading professional body of management accountants.

CIMA has 203,000 members and students in 173 countries.

By becoming a CIMA member you will join the world’s largest professional body of management accountants. You will be able to use the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation and be part of a truly global network. The CGMA designation is powered by two of the world’s leading accounting bodies – CIMA and AICPA. It aims to establish management accounting as the most valued profession in business worldwide.


What is management accounting?

Management accounting combines accounting, finance and management with the leading edge techniques needed to drive successful businesses.

what is management accounting

CIMA Qualifications – Overview


CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

The Certificate in Business Accounting is entry level accounting qualification for students with little or no accounting background.
The CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting offers a grounding in the basics of management accounting, financial accounting and business, and forms the basis of the CIMA Professional Qualification.

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CIMA Professional Qualification

The Professional Qualification encourages step by step development of finance and business knowledge and the skills required by today’s businesses.
Students who complete the CIMA Professional Qualification progress to full CIMA membership, becoming become Chartered Global Management Accountants with the designatory letters ACMA and CGMA.


CIMA Qualification Structure

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

There are five papers at this level and all must be passed before you can proceed to the professional qualification.

On completion you will be awarded the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting.

Exemptions to this level are available on the basis of your existing qualification. If you have completed your bachelors degree then in all probability you will get an exemption from all subjects in this level. You will need to pay fees for availing exemption in each subject.

Check exemption for you qualification here

Subjects & Syllabus

CIMA certificate level syllabus


All five subject examinations within the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting qualification are sat at CIMA
approved assessment centres using computer based assessment (CBA) methodology. Registered CIMA students may sit the examinations in any order and at any time of the year.
The pass mark for each of the five examinations is 50% and permanent credit is awarded for any subject in which the
candidate scores 50% or more. Each subject examination will be two hours.

Download detailed syllabus, guidelines and FAQ for certificate level

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Subject wise Resources

C01 C02 C03 C04 C05

CIMA Professional Qualification

Professional Qualification is divided in 3 levels:

  • Enterprise Pillar
  • Performance Pillar
  • Financial Pillar

Subjects & Syllabus

Enterprise Pillar Subjects

Performance Pillar

Financial Pillar


There will be a written examination paper of three hours, plus 20 minutes of pre-examination question paper reading time.

Download detailed syllabus and guidelines professional level

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Other Resources

Operational level P1 E1 F1
Management level P2 E2 F2
Strategic level P3 E3 F3
Professional competence level Practical experience (T4 part A) Exam (T4 part B)

Practical Experience Requirement

You need a minimum of three years’ relevant work based practical experience before becoming a Chartered Global Management Accountant (ACMA, CGMA).

Experience may be drawn from any of the following three areas over a period of 3 years or more (but a minimum of 18 months must be gained within the core area).

Relevant experience gained before registering as a student will also count.

Area 1 – basic experience Area 2 – core experience Area 3 – supplementary experience
1a. preparing and maintaining accounting records 2a. preparation of management accounts 3a. financial strategy
1b. statutory and regulatory reporting 2b. planning, budgeting and forecasting 3b. corporate finance
1c. IT desktop skills 2c. management reporting for decision making 3c. treasury management
1d. systems and procedure development 2d. product and service costing 3d. taxation
2e. information management 3e. business evaluation and appraisal
2f. project appraisal 3f. business strategy
2g. project management 3g. external relationships
2h. working capital content
2i. risk management and business assurance

Professional Gateway Route

The professional gateway route is an accelerated entry route to CIMA open to members and passed finalists of particular professional bodies.

To be eligible, your professional body must be both:

  • A member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
  • An examining body

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is eligible under this route.

This route requires you to sit a three-hour exam held in May and November each year. It assesses your knowledge of the material covered in the management level of the CIMA Professional Qualification.

Once you have passed you will be awarded the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting and be granted exemptions from all certificate, operational and management level exams in CIMA Professional Qualification.

Once you pass the assessment, you can then enter the CIMA professional qualification at the strategic level.

Find more info here

Program Expense

If you complete CIMA in three years and pass every exam on the first attempt, it will cost around GBP1,350 or approx. Rs. 1,35,000 (based on 2013 exam fees). You also need to take into account the cost of study materials and any tuition classes you enrol in.

See latest fees here

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