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Retiring my CIMA membership

Retiring my CIMA membership

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I'm sure there are hundreds of posts on this topic, but I can't seem to find any of them when searching Any Answers, so apologies if this has been covered before.

I am considering retiring my CIMA membership, simply because it's costing over £350 per year and money is still very tight. I just don't get anything back for the money I pay out. I work predominantly with very small businesses (sole traders, one man bands, very small limited companies and a couple of charities) and many of them simply aren't interested when I try to dazzle them with my qualifications.

Are there any repercussions of giving up my ACMA? I realise I would have to register with HMRC for MLRegs, but I can't see that there would be much more of a difference. I could also re-register for a fee at any time in the future if I needed to.

I'm very proud of my qualification and would feel very sad to let it go, I just cannot justify the cost!

I'd be grateful for any advice from anyone who has gone this route or decided against going this route for any reason.

Many thanks in advance

SD

Replies (34)

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By MissAccounting
16th Sep 2013 12:30

Reference letters

Only major stumbling block that I can foresee is that if a client wanted a mortgage reference or similar you may not be able to sign it without one of the main accountancy qualifications behind you.  I picked up a client who needed an ARLA report doing and their advisor at the time was unable to do it because he had no formal qualifications and the client assumed he was a "proper" (his words not mine) accountant and made the switch as soon as he realised.

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By ccassociates
16th Sep 2013 13:07

Qualification

You will retain your qualifications even if you relinquish your membership.

I am an FMAAT and have always been proud of my membership but I am beginning to question what it actually does for me.especially since I became involved with the ICPA.

AAT actually give me nothing except the ability to register with them for AML

ICPA give me heaps, of freebies and heaps of free CPD material plus discounts on things I really need the latest being free access to Bloomsbury online tax services and all for a membership fee of less than half AAT

I also believe that prospective clients are found through reputation and reccomendation rather than letters after ones name

With regard to mortgage applications , most now seek SA302 and also ask what are your qualifications not which body are you affiliated to

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By mabzden
16th Sep 2013 17:06

Client Comfort

It's good to be able to say to clients that you're a member of a Chartered body. They may not have a clue about the different accountancy bodies, but once they hear the word "chartered" they'll feel happy that you're a "proper accountant" (MissAccounting's client's words, not mine!).

 

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
By ccassociates
16th Sep 2013 14:28

"Proper"

mabzden wrote:

It's good to be able to say to clients that you're a member of a Chartered body. They may not have a clue about the different accountancy bodies, but once they hear the word "chartered" they'll feel happy that you're a "proper accountant".

 

Trouble is that in reality being a member of a chartered body does not mean that you are a "proper" anything. Many members of chartered bodies have been proved to be proper villians

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
By ccassociates
16th Sep 2013 14:28

"Proper"

mabzden wrote:

It's good to be able to say to clients that you're a member of a Chartered body. They may not have a clue about the different accountancy bodies, but once they hear the word "chartered" they'll feel happy that you're a "proper accountant".

 

Trouble is that in reality being a member of a chartered body does not mean that you are a "proper" anything. Many members of chartered bodies have been proved to be proper villians

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By Cantona1
16th Sep 2013 14:57

I thought ACCA's just over 200 quid was excessive. £350 is over the top.

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By andy.partridge
16th Sep 2013 15:31

I would be careful

MissAccounting makes a good point.

Most clients aren't bothered but if you have just one extra client a year, because your chartered status gives them a little more confidence in you, it is worth keeping it going.

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By Tosie
16th Sep 2013 15:48

You will regret it.

You have worked hard for your qualifications and as it has been discussed here, once you leave it is very difficult to get back in.

Maybe two years down the line you hate self employment and you are looking for a job they are not interested that you used to be a member of cima if they advertise for a cima.

I am sorry but mortgage people do want to know which body you are a member of, not if you have passed the exams.

Weigh up the £350 against the amount of money that it cost you to get the qualifications.

It would be different if you were at the end of your working life.

I also think you can charge more if you are chartered.

 

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
16th Sep 2013 16:06

Mine don't give a monkeys

I "qualified" in 1977 and have been in practice since 1981 and I do all I can to be improper! @mabzden you have just insulted thousands of proper accountants on this site who don't have letters or chartered after their names but are still knowledgeable AND experienced enough to answer my questions..

The world would not stop turning if I could not sign off the 2-3 mortgage references I do each year and I'd have no problem handing over the couple of Charity IE's I do, I'd still work for the clients.

In all these decades I can't ever remember being asked by clients or prospective clients if I was qualified or what the chartered stuff meant (it's boring).

The only reason I have kept mine over recent years is that my letters mean something to a couple of introducers.  As and when I'm down to a couple of dozen clients I'll drop it.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By mabzden
16th Sep 2013 16:39

No Insult Intended

Paul Scholes wrote:

@mabzden you have just insulted thousands of proper accountants on this site who don't have letters or chartered after their names but are still knowledgeable AND experienced enough to answer my questions..

I didn't mean to insult thousands of accountants(!) My one and only point was that some clients may find it reassuring to hear the word "chartered" when you describe your expertise. The same point has been made by other respondents. I used the term "proper" in inverted commas in reference to a comment by one of MissAccounting's clients.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, I agree that most of these qualifications aren't relevant for the work many of us do... and I don't judge people based on their qualifications and put them into a "proper" or "improper" accountant category... and I agree that some people with qualifications are crooks and/or useless...  and that people who don't have formal accountancy qualifications may be fantastic accountants....

I hope that clears things up.

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Replying to Alex_T:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
16th Sep 2013 16:50

Strange but true

It does sometimes happen that my prospects want a "chartered" accountant. One prospect who had this view was originally from outside the UK, surprisingly.

Regardless of the qualified/unqualified debate, the perception among the public is that qualified is better. I realise that their perception is not necessarily the same as reality (some qualifieds can be bad accountants, some unqualifieds can be good, etc) but that's marketing for you!

The mortgage reference is a real issue. In my experience clients are at their most stressed when applying for a mortgage. To find out that their accountant's status is not sufficient for the lender would make for a very unhappy client. Mind you, as I really dislike signing the damn things, perhaps that's the way to go ...

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By tom123
16th Sep 2013 16:09

As a fellow ACMA

As a fellow CIMA member (although not a CIMA Fellow :)) I think it would be a great shame if you decided to let your membership lapse.

Remeber how you felt when you first got the certificate?

Having said that, a lot of commentators on Aweb seem to be reaching a similar conclusion. Also, with CIMA's focus not being practice I guess it can feel a bit more redundant.

SD - do CIMA MiPs have a working group in your area - I know that they do where I live (Glos / Bristol).

Are you making full use of the training resources etc that CIMA have on their website - although I grant that they are sometimes hard to find.

 

Good luck, as always, but don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

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By Flash Gordon
16th Sep 2013 16:43

Dropped ACCA

I stopped my ACCA membership a couple or more years back and its made diddly squat difference (except the financial saving). No clients (current or prospective) have asked about it, I'm a member of ICPA so still able to talk about being a member of a body (which gives me tons more value).... I've had no regrets. It doesn't take anything away from the fact that I did pass the exams and get admitted - I've still got the certificates to prove it (wasn't giving them back).

I ummed and ahhed beforehand but once I did it, no worries.

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By redman7
16th Sep 2013 16:48

CIMA MIP

I'm also a CIMA MIP and begrudge paying the subs. I also think they are particularly poor at supporting members in practice. But I can't see me dropping my membership as it adds to my credentials and some clients do check me out on the CIMA web site to check I'm legit, so to speak.

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By Andywho is fed up
16th Sep 2013 17:01

Drop it

Just my two penneth, for what its worth.

You still hold the qualification, ie you passed the professional exams and are therefor a qualified accountant .  The questions of whether you then continue to pay a "members club" a fee each year for the privilege of them letting you go about your lawful business is up to you.

I no longer find the professional institutes have much time for the small one-man accountant.   Accordingly, I am no longer a a member.   I still carry out the same CPD, adhere to the same professional standards, I simply just don't pay someone for the privilege of making sure that I do so.  None of my clients give a hoot anyway.  Its personal service they get and that's what counts

Whether you want to continue to do so is up to you. 

 

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By Sarah Offord
16th Sep 2013 17:28

Not sure thats helped but thank you!

it would be a wrench to give up my acma. The subs are £240 pa for the associate fee and then another £84 (or threrabouts) to be an mip. To be honest its the mip fee that really annoys me, we get an emailed newsletter once a quarter which rarely has anything of interest plus the opportunity to spend several hundred pounds attenting the mip annual conference. I do get several clients asking for mortgage references, so I will look into this in more detail.

I have asked for reduced fees before  and got a big fat no. A lot of organisations do not recognise the strain of debt on households. on the face of it we have a very healthy income, but most of our income goes to servicing our debts so we struggle each and every month. And once you are in the position where you can barely afford to repay the interst on your debt let alone alone repay the capital it very quickly snowballs out of control. I feel I should point out that much if the debt incurred was cash leant to a family member who could not repay us (we're talking 10s of thousands of pounds), but there you go. 

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By mikeyban
16th Sep 2013 18:59

Am I being silly ? Are you guys saying you are qualified still if you relinquish your membership?

Would I really be a qualified accountant if I resigned from the ACCA?

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By Cantona1
16th Sep 2013 19:36

Qualified is not defied in Law. Yes, you can be qualified of anything, but you can not use the name ACCA as you not a member of that body.

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By StephenMilne
16th Sep 2013 21:27

CIM MiPs
Hello Everybody,

I saw tis thread and thought I would add some comment. My name is Stephen Milne and I recently became chairman of the CIMA members in practice panel.

We are a group of volunteers who work to try and improve the lot of CIMA MIPS. Unfortunately fees ate outside our remit.

You are right of course that CIMA's focus is not really on practice and the fact that there are only 1400 of us does not allow us too much influence.

There are things we are trying to do to help however. The ICPA do provide some very useful resources and we are looking into areas where they can help our MiPs.

We do have some communication forums, a system called MIP net by which information can be shared, we have a very active group on Linkedin, all you need is a basic linkedin profile and you can join us on CIMA Members in Practice.

We are now in the process of getting regional meetings running throughout the UK. If you don't have an area meeting near you please get in touch and we will direct you to the nearest one.

Of course things are tight out there and with the term accountant not being protected in law it is tempting to not renew your membership. However, we do have some initiatives coming online to try and make ourselves better known and therefore generate work for our colleagues.

If anybody wants to know more please get in touch.

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By pipper01
16th Sep 2013 21:29

I'm a CIMA MIP and an AAT MIP. AAT give me far more value for money and really the only reason for keeping CIMA is that it was hard work to get it. Having said that, I have had a customer that I did the management accounts for come to me saving he had just been told his external accountant's mortgage reference had been refused because he wasn't 'qualified'. After the hassle and nit-picking that bloke had given me over the management figures, just because he wanted to do it, it did feel good to say 'I can do it'.

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By IckleL
16th Sep 2013 22:35

Perhaps asking the wrong question?

Hi SD,

I can sypmathise with your position, £350 can seem like a lot when money is tight and I remember starting out in practice and having to carefully manage my cashflow to ensure that I would be able to make the payment when January came around again.

Perhaps though you could put yourself in the position of advising yourself as if you were your own client. Is the problem that your costs are too high (including your professional subscription) or is it that your sales are too low?

As a Chartered Management Accountant you are uniquely placed to provide world class financial management advice with a real commercial focus. This is a skill set that my clients pay a premium to access, I admit it's not an 'easy sell' and it takes time to find clients that will value what you have to offer but believe me they are out there and finding them would transform both their business and yours.

For me going to the conference was an essential part of understanding the value of what I had to offer and in addition working with a business coach and also with the Entrepreneur's circle has enabled me to build a profitable business in which the £350 is now an insignificant cost. The conference alone is worth the conference fee plus my subscriptions, even it I get nothing else from my membership. In addition, the regional MIP meetings and resources such as MipNet and Linked In are also key in the value that my membership delivers to me.

A wise man once said an accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing - it's good to break the mould.

Good luck and I hope that your financial situation soon improves.

Ickle Lynnie

 

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Replying to SpreadsheetUser:
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By andy.partridge
17th Sep 2013 09:43

Not quite

IckleL wrote:

A wise man once said an accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing - it's good to break the mould.

 

'Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.' The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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By Ray051
17th Sep 2013 09:06

AML fees

If you leave CIMA you will have to pay HMRC £120 for AML registration so it will only cost you £22 per month to stay a member. Not much of a marketing cost. 

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By Sarah Offord
17th Sep 2013 12:32

Fees Issue

Many thanks for all of the responses. I am slowly tackling the issue of fees, for those clients who are getting a bargain and all new business is being taken on with more sensible fees.

I am somewhat limited by the amount of time (& energy) available as I try to run my practice around my young family, school runs and school holidays etc.

If a client were to come to me, with the same set of circumstances as I have I would certainly be advising him that he should consider bankruptcy (seriously it is that bad). The business itself is very lean and very profitable for the amount of time I plough into it. It is my personal finances which are a dire mess. Lets see we have one property (our home) in negative equity and approx £35k in additional unsecured debt. Our monthly outgoings just about match our income including debt repayments (some are on debt plans - £1 per month and others are getting the minimal payment so really no impact on the capital repayment). Bankruptcy is the most sensible option, but having discussed this in a separate topic previously we decided to soldier on. NB We have cut back our outgoings right to the bone and doing what we can to deal with our debt mountain.

Don't get me wrong, I value my CIMA membership and I am very proud of my qualification and status as an ACMA. I just feel that it is a luxury to be paying out in excess of £300 a year every year for what is not really essential to my business. Plus that £300 could be paying off a debt that is incurring interest charges, which would be better for our personal finances.

Thank you for all of the advice given. I'm having a real battle making this decision.

SD

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By stevejbicknell
17th Sep 2013 13:47

www.cimaaccountant.com

Why not work with other CIMA MiPs for benefit of all, we have started a blog www.cimaaccountant.com and are referring business opportunities between MiPs. I look after the Blog.

All CIMA MiPs are welcome to join in and its free but we would like you to share the blog on your social media.

Drop me an e mail [email protected] if you would like to join in.

 

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By Sarah Offord
18th Sep 2013 09:36

@steve

I took a look at the cimaaccountant website last night. The blogs are great! I will definitely be in touch.

Many Thanks

SD

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By catlady
03rd Oct 2013 21:47

Apparently CIMA members may not be able to sign mortgage references anyway :
http://www.cimaglobal.com/Members/FAQs/Why-cant-I-sign-a-client-referenc...

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Replying to Peter-S:
By Sarah Offord
04th Oct 2013 09:29

@catlady

catlady wrote:
Apparently CIMA members may not be able to sign mortgage references anyway : http://www.cimaglobal.com/Members/FAQs/Why-cant-I-sign-a-client-referenc...

 

This is not always the case. I have signed off plenty of mortgage references and have never had them questioned by mortgage companies. I think it very much depends on the lender.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By andy.partridge
04th Oct 2013 09:43

Bizarre

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

catlady wrote:
Apparently CIMA members may not be able to sign mortgage references anyway : http://www.cimaglobal.com/Members/FAQs/Why-cant-I-sign-a-client-referenc...

 

This is not always the case. I have signed off plenty of mortgage references and have never had them questioned by mortgage companies. I think it very much depends on the lender.

I agree with Sir Digby. The link suggests the problem is that CIMA members are not registered auditors. True, but just how many small practitioners of any institute are actually registered auditors?
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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By catlady
04th Oct 2013 10:21

That is good...

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

catlady wrote:
Apparently CIMA members may not be able to sign mortgage references anyway : http://www.cimaglobal.com/Members/FAQs/Why-cant-I-sign-a-client-referenc...

 

This is not always the case. I have signed off plenty of mortgage references and have never had them questioned by mortgage companies. I think it very much depends on the lender.

That is good to know!

I have not been working in accountancy for a while and decided that the CIMA membership was too expensive, so I resigned from them a couple of years ago. I am now starting back and was going to rejoin, then saw their statement and was shocked! I will still wait until January though, otherwise I get clobbered for another years worth of subs then!

 

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By MDK45
04th Oct 2013 07:40

The issue that stopped me were the 'unknowns'. Imagine you resigned your membership and they moved the parameters for readmission i.e. Increased readmission fees massively or worse still a readmission exam? Personally, I pay my acca subs and take it out of my wife's clothing allowance! Lol, i wish :-)

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By Ray051
04th Oct 2013 10:31

Mortgage certification

If you encounter a Finance Company who does not recognise the CIMA qualification, and there still are a few, refer it to CIMA Professional Standards Dept., [email protected] They will do their best to resolve this by writing to the body concerned. In a small number of cases this does not work and there is nothing anyone can do about that.

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By SKCOX
04th Oct 2013 12:22

Not so hard to get back in

I resigned my CIMA membership when I first went into practice, simply because I didn't know whether practice would work out for me and couldn't justify the expense. If clients asked about my qualifications I explained that I had qualified with CIMA but was not now a member of the institute. It didn't cause me any problems. When the deadline for readmission got close I realised that I didn't want to lose it for good. So I paid the readmission fee, filled in the form, applied for MIP at the same time, met all the conditions and now I'm back in. I was expecting it to be difficult but it wasn't.

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By Sherman Holter
27th Oct 2013 19:05

Charity IE
With regard to the Charity IE thing, the charity commission requirement is just that you need to be competent, not qualified. Only if the income of the charity exceeds £250,000 do you need qualifications.

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