Difference between CIMA and ACMA

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The significance of management accounting has in the past few decades increased since it offers crucial information which is crucial for purposes of decision making. Management accounting plays a crucial role in the success of small and large organizations. This is because it produces data driven input for the management for company management in order to accomplish targets. Revenue is the most important business element and management accounting information helps in the determination of the items which should be sold and how these items should be sold.
As a result of the increasing importance of management accounting in the corporate sector, there was a need for companies to hire qualified certified accountants to efficiently perform their job. This is why management certifications came to being. ACMA and CIMA are the two popular certifications known. While both certifications are intended for professionals in management accounting, the two have differences.


What is CIMA?
CIMA is the acronym for Chartered Institute of Management Accountant. It is a professional body for management accountants that offer training and qualifications in management accounting. The body is based in UK and emphasizes on business accounting. CIMA professionals are involved in strategic management decision making and at the same time formulate business strategies based on their training and knowledge. With time, they have improved their skills in a bid to meet challenging requirements in decision making by management at the corporate sector.

What is ACMA?
ACMA on the other hand is an acronym for Associates of Cost and Management Accountants. This is a certification offered by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) as well as Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP). Both of these institutes are members of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and usually play a major role in training management accountants domestically as well as internationally. ACMA professionals offer their services in the middle level management positions in consultancy firms, financial institutions and the industrial sector. ACMA professionals form the organization’s background. They gather data and analyze it, participate in the process of planning and also design and implement effective mechanisms of control.

i) Exams
Normally, CIMA has four levels. They include Management, Operational, Professional Competence and Strategic level. The courses are also divided to these levels where every level contains a three set course which covers the performance, enterprise and financial aspects of the corporate sector. Nevertheless, the last level has got two parts. It is compulsory to have a practical experience in Part A for one to have the CIMA membership while a candidate is expected to take a three hour case study exam in part B.

The ACMA certification of the exam structure differs in ICMAP and ICAI. For ICAI, the curriculum is divided to three courses that include the intermediate, foundation and the final course. In the first part, there are a total of four papers. The Intermediate is divided to two groups where each group has got four papers. The final level also has two groups where each group has four papers. ICMAP on the other hand has got a semester system with a total of six ACMA semesters. There are a total of 18 papers and every semester contains 3 papers.

ii) Courses Offered
In the first level, CIMA offers Financial Operations, Performance Operations and Enterprise Operations. The second level offers Financial Management, Performance Management and Enterprise Management. The courses included in the third part are Performance Strategy, Financial Strategy and Enterprise Strategy. As discussed before, the level of professional competence has got part A and B where 3 years of experience is required in Part A while Part B is an exam based on a case study.

Courses offered to professionals of ACMA include Cost Accounting, Financial Accounting, Statistics, Statistics, Business Mathematics, Commercial Law, Business Economics, Strategic Financial Management, Enterprise Management, professional ethics, Portfolio Management, Investment Analysis, Corporate Financial Reporting, Cost and Management Audit and Tax Management and Practice.

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