What is CIMA?

CIMA is the most relevant accounting qualification for business.

Becoming a Chartered Management Accountant can accelerate your career and boost your salary. It is a proven path to business success.

See also:

What is management accounting?

Why study CIMA?

CIMA 2015 Syllabus



The CIMA certificate in business accounting is CIMA’s own entry route to the CIMA professional qualification.

This certificate contains of five subjects as follows:
CO1: fundamentals of management accounting (core management accounting topics such as cost determination, breakeven analysis, standard costing, cost and accounting systems and financial planning and control),
CO2: fundamentals of financial accounting (conceptual and regulatory frameworks, accounting systems and control, and preparing accounts for single entities),
CO3: fundamentals of business mathematics (basic mathematics, probability, summarizing and analyzing data, variables, forecasting, financial mathematics and spreadsheets),
CO4: fundamentals of business economics (goals and decisions of organizations, the market system and the competitive process, the financial system and the macroeconomic context of business),
CO5: fundamentals of ethics, corporate governance and business law (covers ethics and business, ethical conflict, corporate governance, comparison of English law with alternative legal systems, the law of contract, the law of employment and company administration and finance).
We advise you can sit the five certificate subjects in any order and in any combination to suit your requirements


The three papers at this level are:
E1: enterprise operations – it addresses several functional areas of business, and introduces candidates to the economic, social and political contexts of international business (the global business environment, information systems, operations management , marketing, managing human capital)
P1: performance operations – this paper deals with tools and techniques that generate information needed to evaluate and control present and projected performance (cost accounting system, forecasting and budgeting techniques, project appraisal, dealing with uncertainty in analysis, managing short-term finance
F1: financial operations – this paper’s core objectives are preparation of full financial statements for a single company and the principal consolidated financial statements for a simple group (principles of business taxation, regulation and ethics of financial reporting financial accounting and reporting
We advise students to pass the operational level paper before attempting the management level paper in the same pillar. However, it is possible for students to study and sit an operational paper in one pillar and a management paper in another pillar. Students must pass all operational and management subjects before attempting the strategic level.
All three operational level papers will be awarded the CIMA diploma in management accounting.


The three papers at this level are:
E2: enterprise management – paper develops tools and techniques for identifying key types of competitive environments (strategic management and assessing the competitive environment, project management, management of relationships)
P2: performance management – the main focus of paper P2 is the application of information in the management processes of decision making and control to optimise performance (pricing and product decisions, cost planning and analysis for competitive advantage, budgeting and management control, control and performance measurement of responsibility centres)
F2: financial management – extends to more advanced topics in financial accounting and to developments in external reporting (group financial statements, issues in recognition and measurement, analysis and interpretation of financial accounts, developments in external reporting)
We advise students to pass the operational level paper before attempting the management level paper in the same pillar. However, it is possible for students to study and sit an operational paper in one pillar and a management paper in another pillar. Students must pass all operational and management subjects before attempting the strategic level. Students who pass all three management level subjects will be awarded the CIMA advanced diploma in management accounting.


The three papers at this level are:
E3: enterprise strategy – this paper requires application of tools to assist in the evaluation of the performance implications of a given strategy (interacting with the competitive environment, change management, evaluation of strategic options, implementation of strategic plans and performance evaluation
P3: performance strategy – The paper considers both financial and non financial risks (management control systems, risk and internal control, review and audit of control systems, management of financial risk, risk and control in information systems)
F3: financial strategy – deals with key elements in designing and managing the organisation’s financial strategy – in the context of contributing to achieving the organisation’s objectives and within its external constraints (formulation of financial strategy, financing decisions, investment decisions and project control)
All three strategic level subjects must be studied at the same time and students must sit all three exams (E3, P3 and F3) together at the first sitting. Following this, any re-sits can be taken in any combination (for example one at a time). These papers must be successfully completed before students attempt the test of professional competence in management accounting.


The test of professional competence in management accounting is made up of two component parts that must both be achieved to complete the test. Part A: initial professional development ‘ work based practical experience and Part B: case study exam.
Students are advised to undertake both parts concurrently, although they can be taken in any order once all strategic level exams have been completed.

How is CIMA different?

Most accounting qualifications train you for private practice, working on audit and tax issues. CIMA prepares you for a career in business.
Learn more about how CIMA is different from other finance qualifications.

Will studying CIMA help me get a job?

CIMA-trained people work in industry, commerce, management consultancies, banks and not for profit and public sector organisations. Many of our members work in prestigious, high paying roles.

Read case studies about the varied jobs CIMA students and members do.

Where can I work with CIMA?
All around the world. We have 171,000 members and students working in 165 countries.

CIMA at a glance: fees, salaries, jobs

How long does the certificate in business accounting take?
The five certificate exams are studied and tested at your own pace.
On average, students take one year to complete this level.

CIMA Salary surveys

CIMA’s salary surveys look at the salaries and bonuses paid to CIMA members and students.

How long does the CIMA professional qualification take?

On average, students complete the ten professional qualification exams in four years.
Most students attempt two or three exams at each sitting but they can be completed in three sittings.

CIMA Practical experience requirement

You need three years’ experience before you can become a CIMA member. You can gain this experience while studying.

How much will it cost?

CIMA students pay a one-time registration fee, an annual subscription fee, and a fee for each exam or exemption.

So, if it takes you three years to complete CIMA and you pass every exam on the first attempt, it will cost around £1200.

You also need to take into account the cost of study materials and any tuition classes you enrol in.

Please note: As of 1 July 2010, new students will not have to pay their first subscription (£94) upon registration.

Where can I study?

You can study anywhere in the world.

You just need to be sure you get to one of the CIMA worldwide computer based assessment centres to sit certificate in business accounting assessments and one of the exam centres to sit professional qualification exams.

How can I study?

You can study with a tuition provider, on your own at home, or using a combination of methods.


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