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CIMA Programmes are Visa for Success in Financial Sector: Debasish Biswas, Country Head – India, CIMA

CIMA was founded in 1919 as "The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants" (ICWA) and later transformed to "Chartered Institute of Management Accountants" (CIMA) in 1986, after it was granted a Royal Charter. Now, CIMA is the largest management accounting body in the world, with more than 227,000 members and students in 179 countries. What is the secret behind this great successful journey?

CIMA was founded in 1919 in Great Britain on the realization that the traditional methods of accountancy were unable to provide the range of information required in order to plan and manage modern business. This realization resulted, in part, from the interest shown by the British Governmentduring World War I in introducing cost accounting into munitions(ammunition andequipment) factories. Many early supporters of CIMA were industrial managers or engineers who had become aware of the limitations of traditional accounting.

The institute changed its name from ICWA to the "Institute of Cost and Management Accountants" in 1972 and subsequently to the "Chartered Institute of Management Accountants" (CIMA) in 1986, after it was granted a Royal Charter, a globally recognized accounting qualification, based in the UK and particularly honored in Commonwealth countries. Its membership has grown from 15,000 in 1970 to 227,000 members and students operating in 179 countriesin 2014. It has played a role in founding fraternal professional bodies such as the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan, the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh, the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and the Institute of Management Accountants (USA).

CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders. finds more about CIMA from him -

Can you brief about the mission and vision of CIMA?
CIMA’s mission is to help people and businesses to succeed in the public and private sectors. Over 227,000 members and students in 179 countries work at the heart of business in industry, commerce and not-for-profit organisations.

What are the objectives of CIMA?
Management accountants play a vital role in managing business opportunities. They inform the strategy and help secure the future of a business. CIMA management accountants help redefine how business is done.

CIMA exists to help people and businesses succeed in an increasingly fast-changing and uncertain world. This means we ensure our offering and approach are always relevant to all our stakeholders – not just to our members and students, but to employers and society as a whole.

What are the courses offered by CIMA?

CIMA offers a Management Accounting programme that comprises a balance of accounting and business management skills. CIMA’s study and robust assessment methods mean that the real-life skills and competencies employers need are woven into the syllabus.

Our syllabus is strong on the core accounting skill, but also includes Big Data, Sustainability, Integrated Reporting and finance function transformation. We also study Risk, as well as Costing and Cost Management.

The Certificate in Business Accounting is CIMA’s entry level accounting qualification for students with little or no accounting background. The certificate level provides students with business experience beyond just financial accounting and one can gain insight into how the different areas of accounting relate to the business world.It can be seen as a knowledge refresher course or a foundation to a career in business and finance. The Certificate in Business Accounting forms the basis of the CIMA Professional Qualification and is a valuable qualification on its own.

The CIMA Professional qualification is recognized worldwide as the most relevant global finance qualification for business.In order to register for the Professional qualification, a person would have to possess a foundation in business or accounting studies, such as CIMA Certificate in business accounting, aMaster’s in accounting or an MBA, proof of membership of ICWAI, ICMAP, ICMAB or an IFAC body.

Two of the world’s most prestigious accounting bodies, AICPA and CIMA, have formed a joint venture to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. This designation recognises the most talented and committed management accountants with the discipline and skill to drive strong business performance. The route to the CGMA designation includes a combination of exams, experience and is educationally equivalent to a master’s degree.

What are the highlights of CIMA course?
A CIMA qualification develops analytical, application oriented, decision making skills, rather than just theoretical knowledge. The need for management accounting skills is growing and will continue to do so in the coming years as well. Most accounting qualifications enable students for private practice, working on external audit and tax issues, while CIMA members are qualified to work across an organisation, not just in finance. You can work in any industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations as well. The CIMA qualification strengthens a person’s ability to enter the global workforce.

What are the essential qualifications one has to have to apply for CIMA?
Anyone can study CIMA, whether new to business and accounting or already with some experience. The only requirements are competence in mathematics and the English language.

The CIMA professional qualification is a modular one and hence comprises of four levels. At the completion of each level, the student is awarded a certificate or a diploma. For example, a student can start the first level immediately after Class XII. On completion of this level, the student gets a Certificate in Business Accounting.

On the completion of all levels and with three years of relevant work experience, a student becomes a member of CIMA and obtains the title of Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA).

ICWAI passed finalists/members, CAs, MBAs or M.Com. degree holders can fast-track through the CIMA qualification, with the help of our Gateway routes. The Gateway Assessment is a single examination. On passing this exam, these eligible students, will receive exemptions to 11 of the 15 CIMA papers, an entry to the 4th level of the CIMA qualification and an Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting.

There are certifications like CPA, CFA… etc. How different is CIMA from others?
Management Accounting as a career path provides a broader scope of work compared to conventional accounting courses, wherein management accounting focuses on business and delivers much more than just accounting knowledge.

A CIMA qualification combines accounting, finance and management, with leading edge techniques required to drive successful businesses. Management accountants not only carry out financial performance reporting, but also manage business opportunities involving every facet of the company. Non-financial, qualitative data, prediction models, external research and environmental factors are all taken into consideration before making financial decisions in a company.

Globally management accountants are highly regarded for the analytical and decision-making skills they bring to the table. They are not confined to working with the finance function alone, but enjoy the advantage of working across the entire gamut of business, joining the dots and helping the business to succeed.

What skill set should a student possess to pursue CIMA?
At CIMA, we believe that anyone can study CIMA, whether he or she is new to business and accounting or already has some experience. The only requirements are competence in mathematics and the English language.

In order to enter the financial professional field, a person must hold a degree in accountancy or relevant certification courses. But just a technical degree will not suffice anymore. A finance professional today must understand all facets of the business they work in, in order to contribute in a more meaningful way to the company.

What is skill-set CIMA would impart in a professional?
Within any type of organization, a management accountant is the most able person to ‘connect the dots’ to support forward-looking decisions for the CFO and CEO. In effect, a management accountant can also be referred to as a business navigator as he/she is a core supporter of the key areas of decision making that a Board is responsible for. A management accountant is able to determine the integrity of information, interpret that information, and use insights to inform or make good decisions.

Management accountants are best placed to be able to convey technical terms and analysis in a straight-forward, clear way, while recognizing the implications of this analysis across the business – connecting the dots.

In addition to strong accounting fundamentals, CIMA teaches strategic business and management skills such as analysis, strategic thinking, risk assessment, planning and communication.

Does CIMA assist its graduates in getting placements?
CIMA is a globally recognized qualification and hence CIMA qualified people are in demand across the world. For example, the Singapore Government recognizes CIMA as one of the qualifications to work in finance in the country. CIMA Myjobs is our official global job site, where people can find advertisements for CIMA qualified positions around the world.

What advice would you like to offer to today youngsters who are aspiring to have career in management and accountancy?
Today’s students must recognize the global economic situation and how economies have weathered many storms. In such circumstances, companies expect their finance professionals to play a greater role in guiding the organization towards sustainable growth, rather than just crunch numbers. Finance professionals who have the ability to analyze past data and at the same time steer the company through the risky times to long-term business success are sought after key people irrespective of the size of enterprises today. Top management is increasingly looking at their accounting/finance teams as co-pilots who help them take the company through rough as well as smooth weather.

While accounting courses provide students with the capability and understanding of accounting processes/procedures and regulation, management accounting courses provide the most appropriate balance of accounting and business management skills. A management accounting qualification develops analytical, application-oriented, decision making skills - rather than just theoretical knowledge, thus appropriately preparing the finance professional for industry needs.

Students must carefully assess their needs and future career path while making informed decisions in choosing a suitable education.

-Interviewed by D.Sai Charan, Content Developer, Sakshi Education Desk


Published date : 08 May 2015 11:16AM

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