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I started studying CIMA last February and took my first exams in May. I have
taken the CIMA route as I work in management accounts and this is the course
they advised me to follow. I am not sure what the difference is between CIMA
and ACCA would like to know what the differences are, what type of person
is suited to both and what opportunities are available for both
qualifications. I am a bit unsure about whether to continue in Management
accounts or try Chartered. A lot of people I spoke to say that Chartered
Accounts is very boring but I might find it interesting. Can you supple any
relevant information which may help.

Thank you.



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By admin
29th Sep 2001 23:25

The overriding difference between the two qualifications (ACCA and CIMA)is the ability to switch between a career in practice and industry.
Speaking from personal experience, I would have to say that ACCA is the one which will give more opportunities to gain a wide cross section of experience.

As organisations get bigger, they become more fragmented/departmentalised. There are not too many jobs around which will allow a CIMA accountant to gain a wide range of experience while in one role (early in their career that is!).
Working in practice has many downsides! However, the biggest advantage is the wide range of experience that can be gained doing different tasks, in different industries. It can give you an opportunity to build some essential skills while you decide what direction you want your career to take.

With this in mind, moving into practice, especially early in ones career, means that you are in a job which could keep one challanged for 4-5 years, maybe even longer. Whereas in industry at present, most accountants starting out in their career would have to job hop every 18-24 months. Otherwise they end up in a repetitive job where there is their exposure is limited. Only when they have reached a management level, will greater longevity be seen.

In the early part of a career, experince/learning should be more important when choosing a job than remuneration, though this is not always the case!!

To summarise, ACCA may well open more opportunities than CIMA in your early career. Whether you belong to ACCA or CIMA, will be less important later in your career when experience will be the crucial factor.

Your right to question the choice of accounting qualification at this early stage. Just remember if you do decide to switch, enquire about getting exemptions from ACCA for the CIMA papers you have already passed, don't waste what you have learned already!!

Best of luck,


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By admin
26th Jul 2001 10:01

CIMA better as audits exempted to £4.8 million
Since UK companies with turnover to £1 million are exempted from a statutory audit, about 90% of them do not need to be audited. That limit is predicted in the press to gho up to £4.8 million with the new Companies Act.

So, why waste time with audit exams for ACCA qualifications when you are not going to audit? Also, getting audit license means audit practical training and that type of practical training is rare to find.

CIMA is a more useful, wanted and earns money. ACCA qualification is not futuristic. ACCA therefore will be yet another bookkeeping qualification, at least CIMA has managaement angle!

Think about it as your future earnings depend on this important decision.

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By admin
19th Jul 2001 11:15

As a CIMA and ACCA member, my view is that they are virtually identical in examinable content and on par. They both share at least 80% similar content, with at most two subject variances at final level. ACCA has a higher financial accounting & auditing content, while CIMA has a higher marketing & business content. Even the management accounting and financial management papers are similar. Both are global in outlook and accommodating of several national legal variances. Ignoring the professional rivalry, there is realy no reason why the two bodies shouldn't merge with specialisation options at final level, namely: financial management and auditing.

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13th Jul 2001 21:55

cima v. acca
I suppose the answer lies in as follows:

A CIMA accountant and an ACCA were being interviewed for a job. The CIMA student was asked " what is 2 + 2?" To which the CIMA candidate replied "4.0000000" The ACCA was then called into the interview room and asked the same question " what is 2 + 2?" The ACCA chap thought about it for a while, scratched his head, looked the interviewer in the eye and replied " for audit purposes, what answer would be acceptable for Inland Revenue purposes?"

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By admin
14th Jul 2001 20:30

You will be better off with ACCA

I think you should follow the ACCA route because it is better that ACA in the sense that that it has an extra "C" in its tiltle from the other fringe body which awards ACA. The more the better! Alternatively, try to get as many qualifications as possible until you run out of space in your name plate.

Nigel Eastaway has:

FCA., FCCA, FTII, BBC, ITV, FCMA, CCF, GHU, etc etc. Unfortunately, he can't use all these titles in his business card!


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12th Jul 2001 12:27

Obtain both qualifications to differentiate yourself
I am an ACCA member who one day hopes to be a member of CIMA as well. To me, both qualifications are equally useful as they are focussed towards different areas of accountancy. ACCA is more relevant for those who intend to go into public practice as the subjects covered have an obvious bias towards financial accounting, audit and taxation.

CIMA on the other hand is more relevant if your goal is to work in industry as there is a greater emphasis towards management accounting, strategy and information management within an organisation. CIMA better prepares you for this function as its syllabus is heavily skewed towards management accounting, strategic management, IT and marketing. Judging from the new CIMA syllabus, it appears CIMA is trying to move away from being purely an accountancy qualification and instead concentrating on providing an all-round business management education.

In the final analysis, it would seem that CIMA and ACCA are not really substitutes but instead are complementary to each other. To be an effective accountant, you need to be able to prepare information for both internal and external users and this is where I feel the trend towards having more than one accounting qualification could exert itself in future. My advice: Complete your CIMA and then go on and get the ACCA qualification. You won't regret it! Good luck.

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By admin
12th Jul 2001 10:20

I started out life as a scientist did a PhD and a couple of university fellowships and then took a late career change into accountancy. I had an interview with a big six firm and was eagerly offered a training post - but not a salary that would support a wife and mortgage. So I took a job in industry and studied CIMA at night. I could have taken either CIMA or ACCA, but CIMA looked slightly more relevant to my work.

After qualifying I packed up working for a living and started my own practise. My qualification has neither been a hinderance or a help. Most clients, who bother, just want to know that you are qualified. What is most relevant is your personality, experience, knowledge and the ability to apply those to problems you are faced with.

So do which ever you feel is more relevant to you - and this can only be a guess as you don't know what the future holds. Quite frankly I would be happy to see ACCA & CIMA and some of the smaller institutes mergered. It would make things a lot clearer for the general public.

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By admin
11th Jul 2001 16:25

Having been time-barred at ACA, I switched to ACCA as it meant less studying of new material!! On a more serious note, I went towards and qualified with ACCA as it was more recognisable overseas (I've been working in industry in The Netherlands for last 3 years),would be easier to go back into practice if I wanted to, and at the time I did the exams, CIMA tended to have quite a Marketing bias in a number of papers.

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By admin
04th Jul 2001 10:37

Although my preference is to work in industry, I took the ACCA route to give me flexibility. The difference is the focus of the syllabus, e.g. the taxation area has a greater concentration on personal taxation, whereas CIMA focuses more on company taxation.

If you want to work in public practice you will probably find it more difficult to find a position with the CIMA qualification unless it is in the management consultancy aspect.

Otherwise there is little difference. Personally I find management accounting much more interesting as you are totally involved in a particular business. Working in practice you are involved only at the fringes of many businesses.

Hope this is helpful.

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By admin
03rd Jul 2001 17:24

Speaking from a CIMA background it is hard to avoid being biased.

However, I would have thought the key determinant of the interest of the job was the employer rather than the title of the qualification.

Certainly, CIMA is more geared toward generating information for use within the company, rather than strict compliance work for external publishing.

There is now an emphasis on strategy and looking forward and outward from the business within the recently introduced new CIMA syllabus.

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04th Jul 2001 14:48

Like most things in accountancy, the answer is - it depends. You do not say what type of organisation you work for and this may have a bearing on the qualification chosen. It would also depend on what you own career aspirations are. Do you plan to remain in management accounting, or move to an expanded role? I myself chose ACCA and have moved into a larger role with a manufacturing company. I have no doubt that CIMA would have served me just as well - particularly the costing elements, but I felt that ACCA was more transportable. However, you should consider the above points and make your choice

Good luck

Andrew Randall

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By admin
04th Jul 2001 16:11

Exams record more important
I choose ACCA for its flexibility. Outside the UK nobody knows the difference b/w chartered and certified, and people who have accountancy qualifications are often referred to as CPA (certified public accountant). Whatever you do try to get through first time, that is what employers look for and make the salary jump higher. I worked as a financial controller, and internal auditor. If you want to move in other areas you can do that later. i.e. 2 years after qualifying I did an MBA. Good luck

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By admin
03rd Jul 2001 15:43

Mr Tax's Comments
ACCA is no more boring than CIMA.

Some might say that ACCA is more relavent if you were to work within practice.

Get pass papers for both and compare.

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