People who aspire to improve their professional qualifications in accounting often debate ACCA vs CIMA. The key contrast between the two is that ACCA focuses on developing advanced accounting skills and principles, while CIMA provides knowledge for individuals seeking to take on strategic and business leadership positions.
certification equips students with skills in bookkeeping, management accounting, taxation, auditing, etc., while CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) certification provides relevant training and degree related to management accounting and various other related subjects.
Both ACCA and CIMA are recognized certifications in accounting and finance. However, CIMA is more than just accounting as it also helps to improve decision-making skills as it is a combination of accounting and business management. So both certification programs focus on specific job profiles and candidates have to decide based on their career aspirations.
Comparative Table – ACCA vs CIMA
||Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA)
||Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
||Divided into three levels
|Divided into four levels
|Duration of course
||Accounting & Auditing
Ethical & Professional Standards
Strategic Marketing Management
||£1,500 – £2,000
||£2,500 – £3,000
||Sep 05-09, 2022
Dec 05-09, 2022
|Feb 09-25, 2022
May 11-27, 2022
Aug 10-26, 2022
Nov 09-25, 2022
ACCA vs CIMA – Which is Better?
This is a very common question and unfortunately there is no simple answer. There is no doubt that both certifications help secure some of the most sought-after jobs in finance and accounting. ACCA
emphasizes advanced tax principles and external audits and prepares candidates to work independently or in private finance-focused firms. On the other hand, CIMA helps candidates prepare for the business side of accounting with a flair for managerial knowledge.
After becoming ACCA
certified, a candidate will gain a deeper understanding of the technical side of financial accounting. On the other hand, a CIMA candidate who passes the exam develops excellent strategic and business management skills.
Both courses require a similar amount of time to complete. For ACCA
, candidates must pass 13 professional exams and three years of supervised accounting experience. If candidates manage their work and studies at the same time, they can complete the ACCA qualification in three years. On the other hand, CIMA candidates must complete 16 papers and three years of relevant work experience to successfully complete the CIMA qualification. So even in CIMA candidates can complete the course in 3 years if they balance their work and studies well.
Eligibility or Experience Required
A candidate must complete high school to be eligible for the ACCA exam
. In contrast, CIMA exams need a candidate to graduate from any discipline from a recognized university. In addition, both the ACCA and CIMA qualifications require the candidate to have three years of relevant work experience. Finally, it should be noted that candidates are eligible for exemption from papers based on their educational background.
In addition to the core areas of accounting, auditing and taxation, the ACCA course
covers business studies, financial reporting, financial management, law and ethical and professional standards. On the other hand, the CIMA qualification focuses on developing business skills. Its subjects are business accounting, management accounting, information management, financial management, strategic marketing management, etc. ACCA syllabus has 13 exams while CIMA has 16 exams.
Career Opportunity and Salary
An ACCA qualified professional usually starts in the job profiles of Accountant, Financial Advisor, Tax Manager, Finance Manager and Internal Auditor. On the other hand, a CIMA qualified professional is best suited as an Accounts Manager, Business Analyst, Forensic Analyst, Project Manager
and Financial Controller.
ACCA trainees start on an average salary of £19,300 p.a., while ACCA finalists and ACCA part-qualifiers can earn up to £30,700 p.a. and £25,800 p.a. respectively. On the other hand, CIMA qualified professionals receive an average salary of £62,000, rising to £129,000 at higher levels.
Fees and Passing Rates of ACCA and CIMA
CIMA is slightly more expensive than ACCA in terms of examination cost. The ACCA qualification costs around £1,500-£2,000, while the CIMA qualification costs in the £2,500-£3,000 range.
Based on historical graduation rates, both courses can be said to be moderately difficult. The table below shows the results of the ACCA exams
conducted during March 2022, where we can see that the Professional level is the most difficult, while the Knowledge level is the easiest.
||Mar – 22
| Accountant in Business
| Financial Accounting
| Management Accounting
| Corporate and Business Law
| Financial Reporting
| Performance Management
| Financial Management
| Audit and Assurance
|Strategic Professional – Essentials
| Strategic Business Leader
| Strategic Business Reporting
|Strategic Professional – Options
| Advanced Audit and Assurance
| Advanced Financial Management
| Advanced Performance Management
| Advanced Taxation
The table below shows the results of the CIMA exams conducted during February
2022. Apart from the Professional level, all other levels are equally difficult in terms of pass rate.
are held in March, June, September and December, while CIMA exams are held in February, May, August and November.