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ACCA or CIMA.....or both? confused as to which one i should do.....

ACCA or CIMA.....or both? confused as to which...

Didn't find your answer?

I am leaning towards ACCA, as it is more flexible than CIMA. Moreover i could open my own pratice someday.

However CIMA is also very tempting as it is more respected, and has a stellar reputation.....from what i can gather...

Moreover nearly all the executives at my workplace are ACCA trained (albeit they all trained at large firms)... Is this changing, are CIMA trained individuals beginning to occupy top positions in companies. I am considering doing CIMA first, and then spend a however long it takes is to do ACCA (i think its 1 year).

Has anyone here done both?

Help please........what would you do....?

I am 24 and a pure accountancy graduate.....and very confused....

Many thanks in advance....
David Brent

Replies (20)

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By skylarking
01st Jun 2009 12:34

Now 28
The poster is now 28 or 29. It would be more interesting to know from him what he decided to do and how it has worked out for him.

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By Anonymous
01st Jun 2009 11:54

My word...this is a blast from the past!
@ the last few posters

You do realise the question was originally posted in Feb 2005 don't you?! The OP is probably qualified by now and if they went down the ACCA route are probably approaching their fellowship!

Ho did make me giggle :-)

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By AnonymousUser
01st Jun 2009 08:21

Do Whichever Suits You!
Read the following annual review of the UK accountancy bodies which gives full statistics and which you may find useful:

With respect to whether you should study for ACCA or CIMA it really is a matter of personal preference with respect to the area in which you would like to work. CIMA is better for industry based management accountancy whereas the ACCA is better if you wish to work in practice. The ACCA is a much larger organisation and indeed is destined to become the largest UK based chartered accountancy body within the next year and as such it is more widely recognised throughout the world, especially in the Far East.

There are other chartered accountancy bodies such as the ACA and CIPFA which may be worth your while looking into. The ACA is much the same as the ACCA and CIPFA is for individuals who work in the public sector.

Hope this helps.

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By Sarah Offord
31st May 2009 22:40

of course with aca you run the risk of turning into a complete a

I am CIMA qualified and I established my own practice several years ago. My clients look at me blankly when I explain that I am ACMA rather than the traditional ACCA or ACA and frankly couldn't care less. My experience in industry is that CIMA is very well regarded and usually in the majority. The only people who don't regard CIMA with the respect that it deserves are the snobby ACAs and some misguided ACCAs.

I think the syllabus and content of each of the respective courses is irrelevant. The exercise of qualifying as an accountant is more to prove your aptitude and build the foundations for a career in accountancy. Whichever path you follow, you will need to be continously learning to ensure you have the level of expertise that is required to do your job well.

So, my advice would be go for the course that you like the look of and where you feel you might recieve the best support.

I hope that helps.

Also, no offense to ACAs. I know you are on the whole a thoroughly lovely bunch of people, but your are continually let down by the snobby arrogant ones.

Sir Digby

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By davide1982
31st May 2009 17:34

Choosing between those certificates depends on your industry preference. I'd also recommend the following article for those who are interested in becoming a qualified accountant:

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By Blueveinedboy
02nd Mar 2005 17:43

Practice v Industry
I went through the same thought process when I started my professional exams some 10 years ago. All of my colleagues were ACCA and yet I chose CIMA. My reasoning was because I decided that I didn't want to go into practice and wanted to become a management accountant, and that from what I saw the ICAEW qualification was the best qualification for practicing accountants and CIMA was the best for management accountants. I personally could not see the logic in doing ACCA - it is seen as the poor man's ICAEW and not as effective in management accounting as CIMA as it is too technical. However it is your choice and in the end if you work hard and achieve your objectives then it matters not what exams you did but what you are capable of in the future.

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By AnonymousUser
28th Feb 2005 11:47

I was in same postion
I was in the same postion 2 years ago. I am now in my final stage of ACCA and can say that I am very happy that I did ACCA over CIMA.
But it does depend on which direction you want to go.

I asked some relatives one of which is a CEO of a gold mine in Africa for 25 years
He said he had not heard of CIMA and the only qualification he thought relevant when recruiting was ACCA.
It seems this is generally more recognised abroad.
I want to work abroad and so this was pretty much the deciding factor. But also ACCA is a more rounded syllabus and I have a friend who is doing CIMA and is at the same level and wishes he did ACCA.
If circumstances change and I have to stay in the UK though, with ACCA I am still fine.

If you want to do management accounting then ACCA offers that option. I am siting the management accounting papers for the option stage of ACCA. But if you wanted to work in a practice then ACCA gives you that option too, whereas CIMA does not in terms of being able to do audits etc.

I think CIMA is the in thing at the moment which is why a lot people seem to do it.

But I would examine both syllabus carefully and see which one you would benefit most from in terms of your career direction.

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By neileg
25th Feb 2005 10:40

I agree with Chris Fyfe
All chartered qualifications have much the same market value, CIMA, ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS. Even CIPFA has its place.

I would question the value of doing more than one qualification, even though I started to do this myself, I realised it wasn't worth the investment of time.

How the different qualifications are viewed depends on who's doing the viewing. Once you've been qualified for a few years, it's your skills and experience that matter, not the letters after your name.

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By Neville Ford
28th Feb 2005 09:23

CIMA in practice
I qualified with CIMA and worked in industry for a number of years. I started in public practice 12 years ago, by personal choice, and find it a very rewarding way of making a living. My practice is very similar to other general mixed practices, except that the experience of having worked in industry prior to practice has given me a focus on the real issues, rather than box ticking, and on practice organisation to maximise efficiency.

In industry the only time anyone is bothered about whether you are qualified or not is at recuitment, and then only that you qualified with a recognised body (this gives the employer some confidence in your standard of education), but the over-riding influence will be experience and personal skills. Whilst in post it is your performance that is the arbiter.

In practice most clients are totally ignorant of any distinction between the various bodies and they are only interested in that you are 'qualified'. Whether you are successful in practice, particulary sole practice, will be determined by your own personal and technical skills. Your clients will quite quickly find out if your technical skills are not good enough. Personal and inter-personal skills will largely determine your success. Personal organisational skills, sustained hard work, the ability to relate to people and to understand their problems and concerns, the ability to communicate information to them in a way they understand and above all integrity and high ethical standards will contribute to your success.

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By ginnysanter
25th Feb 2005 17:12

If you are planning to do CIMA, then to do ACCA, why put yourself through the extra study and exam stress involved? It is possible to do management accounting papers in ACCA study, so if that is what you want to do to get a more rounded qualification then you can.
I would also say be careful about using your degree to get exemptions to the earlier stages of qualifications, I did that and discovered I would probably have understood more, more quickly, if I had done the basic levels first.
I have been ACCA qualified for almost a year now and, frankly, no-one cares what qualification I've got, they just care that I'm qualified.

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By Anonymous
24th Feb 2005 18:13

Hold on!

I suggest you look at CIMA's new syllabus before you make a decision. I know it's bit unfair for ACCA since their new syllabus is not ready but hey that's the way the world goes.

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By AnonymousUser
24th Feb 2005 10:43

I'm doing CIMA and almost at the end just one paper to go to finish managarial level then final will be targeted.

I started CIMA because my friend who was doing ACCA suggested my to do it and i m really happy to continu it and now i am advicing my friends to do CIMA if you have a choice.

and confident

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By CP Fyfe
24th Feb 2005 12:43

It really doesn't matter
Pick the syllabus that interests you more because you will need a lot of stamina to get through the exams.

In long term carrer stakes the 2 qualifications are basically indistinguishable. Once you have the letters after your name your career will advance in accordance with how good you are. Almost nobody would make any sort of distinction whatsoever between the two once you are qualified.

Other points you may want to consider:

1. If you want to work abroad ACCA is more well known.

2. How good is the teaching on offer for both syllabuses - ask the college you would be attending for overall pass rates on both syllabuses.

3. CIMA may merge with ICAEW (if both groups of members act for the good of the profession!) so you become a CA by the backdoor - which does win in the prestige stakes. Whereas ACCA seem to be pitting themselevs in competition with ICAEW to be the biggest institute.

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By Anonymous
24th Feb 2005 13:22

ACCA unbeatable
As a member of both, I would suggest you consider ACCA for the following reasons:
-excellent technical resources and study aids for students
-oxford brookes honours degree in accounting, once you finish Stage 2 and complete a research and analysis project
-broader (but not diluted) syllabus that covers management, management accounting, financial accounting (IAS/IFRS), auditing, finance, IS, etc and focuses strongly on strategic aspects
-fast track to MBA after qualification, if needed
-popular and well known/respected in EU and most countries in the world
-ACCA was the first professional body to offer IAS/IFRS accounting training, the first to encourage environmental accounting and remains the only UK headquartered global body

Do not get me wrong, CIMA is an excellent and well respected qualification also. So when it comes to choice, its not so much a matter as which is "superior", its more the case of which body will support you better in your studies and throughout your life as a member, as well as provide you with access to professional contacts and resources globally.

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By listerramjet
24th Feb 2005 23:19

ACA every time
why restrict your choices to ACCA or CIMA? I would advise that you explore all the possible options. Ultimately your choice might be on long term objectives, or short term gains, but in fact any of the "chartered" accountancy bodies would be a good route, provided you work hard and get the qualification.

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By Anonymous
23rd Feb 2005 23:03

I am possibly bias being an ACCA member but as I see it ACCA gives you many more options.

You can choose to go into industry or practice.

Also as you say one day you may wish to set up your own pratice I'd say definately ACCA. I do however suggest that you get some more info from the ACCA re practising certificates. You cant just qualify and set up your own pratice!

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By AnonymousUser
24th Feb 2005 09:00

ACCA its the only choice...
Got to go for ACCA, its a far better qualification. I work with some CIMA qualified accountants and they wish they had choosen ACCA and see it as a better all round qualification.

Plus do your really want to join an association (CIMA) thats looking rounding at the other accountind bodies to merge???

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By Anonymous
24th Feb 2005 09:36

Sorry but who told you that CIMA is more respected? I doubt whether you could do ACCA in one year. Does it not tell you something when all the executives are ACCA trained.

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By wfewtrell
12th Jul 2012 23:31

CIMA members in practice

As Managing Director of a firm of Chartered Management Accountants I can confirm that it is certainly possible to have a career in practice as a CIMA qualified accountant!

Contrary to popular belief there are thousands of CIMA members in practice. Some, like us, operate a general practice providing the usual compliance services as well as general business advice and business development services. Others specialise in certain areas of strategic consultancy.

We have a Members in Practice annual conference held in June and every year more and more members and students who are considering practice are attending.

We (our practice in particular) specialise in supporting businesses with turnovers up to around £10m and, as Chartered Management Accountants we are perfectly positioned to advise on a broad range of issues that the management face day to day. It's not just about compliance work in this market as most businesses are crying out for commercially minded external accountants that can help them achieve their goals, not simply tell them how much profit they made last year! As we state on our website, we suggest that running a business is like driving a can get some useful information from the rear view mirror but it shouldn't be your primary focus of attention! We have anarrangement with a firm of registered auditors should the client need an audit and that works very well.

Whilst its true that most of our members our in industry, exactly the same can be said of the other two Chartered bodies and so that really shouldn't be an issue.

Lastly, you need to make up your mind regarding the route you want to take only after having spoken to as many people as possible, both ACCA and CIMA. You will no doubt find that there is good and bad in both (as in any walk of life). Some will be biased (understandably), some more objective. At the end of the day it is going to take you a number of years and a lot of hard slog to achieve your qualification, whichever route you take, and once you have one there is very little benefit from gaining another. Unless you do something naughty or stop paying your fees no one can take your qualification away from you and you'll have it for the rest of your life so you therefore need to choose carefully! I'm not going to tell you which one is best as that's simply a matter of opinion. Not just yours but also the opinion of those to whom you are looking to influence.

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By CP Fyfe
25th Feb 2005 13:09

I agree with Neil
I'd also add as a recruiter I would see very little advantage for someone who had ACCA and CIMA. Frankly it makes you look like an accounting anorak if you have 2 similar qualifications for no real reason.

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