ACA vs. CIMA

CIMA
#1

hi guys,

been offered an ACA position at a mid-low-tier accountancy based in canary wharf and a CIMA position at a bank.

just wanted opinions on which ones you’d go for and why… it would help me make my decision…

many thanks,

raj

#2

Well what to do is whatever one you don’t want I’ll do, so your not letting anyone down!

Personally I am leaning towards CIMA, but it depends, do you want to do auditing?
Or do you want to do forecasting etc

TBH I don’t even know myself, will be interesting to see responses

#3

congrats on getting two offers!

CIMA and ACA are both top notch qualifications and will open up opportunities to you once you qualify. A few points to consider:

  • Both entail a lot of study and whilst you will have spend a significant amount of time at college for both qualifications, you also have to go to college at weekends for CIMA.
  • Short-term career. In honesty, some people (not all!) can find audit a bit monotonous, whilst the range of work that CIMAs do early in their careers can be more varied and more interesting.
  • Long-term career goals. Generally an ACA can open up more doors, i.e. once you qualify you can do management accounting, budgeting and analyst type work with an CIMA or an ACA, but it is harder for CIMAs to get into audit, group financial accounting, etc which is bread and butter for ACAs. Putting it another way, I remember reading something once about the qualifications of Finance Directors at FTSE100s and generally they were all ACA/CAs with a few exceptions. Don’t let that put you off though, as CIMAs tend to progress more towards titles such as ‘Head of Management Accounting’, ‘Financial Planning & Analyst Manager’, etc which can earn big bucks as well.
  • The organisations that are offering you these opportunities. You say the audit firm are mid-2-low tier, how big is the bank? How will it look on your CV in 3 years time? Does it even bother you!?

I hope this helps and doesn’t confuse you further!

#4

Well it sounds like a good choice to have! I think it depends on what you’d like to do in the long term (if you know). I’m a bit bias as I’ve only been applying for CIMA jobs so take my response with a pinch of salt.

CIMA has a more strategic focus, so it’s not just the general accountancy practices you’re learning, but how to use your knowledge to make strategic decisions for the future benefit of your company. This is what appeals to me as it seems the qualification is a bit more creative and constructive to being a business manager.

ACA I’m not as clued in on so I’ll leave it to someone else to explain. From what I understand it’s focus is more on the number-crunching side. Either way it sounds like you’ve got a good job on your hands.

#5

thanks for the replies…

the offers are for business assurance at a top 30 firm doing ACA, and a graduate finance scheme at a top retail bank doing CIMA. i think in terms of employers, the bank will look better on my cv in the future. i’m not entirely sure where i see my long term future, which is making it difficult to decide which qualification i’d want to do.

i do like the fact that the work will be varied over the first few years at the bank, and dont think i would particularly enjoy doing audits for three years, but at the same time, if doing them meant better prospects long term, i wouldn’t mind. i know working towards either qualification will require me to study a lot in my own time, which is not something that concerns me too much.

does anyone know wat the prospects are of moving into a consulting role with a CIMA qualification? and the salaries at that level?

thanks again

#6

I would think it would be easier to move into consultancy (management) with CIMA over ACA just purely becase most consulting schemes offering an accounting qualification provide CIMA eg Deloitte and JP morgan

#7

I’m not clued up to how easy it will be to move in to consultancy with either an ACA or CIMA. I do know it does happen a lot, but I also know that it’s quite possible to go into consultancy without any professional qualification.

However, the salary yard stick for a newly qualified ACA or CIMA in London are between £40K to £45K - bear in mind that the bigger FS companies will be the best payers, possibly up to £50K.

#8

The [[ACA]] is more of an ‘advice-giving’ qualification. The [[CIMA]] is more of a practical company accounting qualification. [[ACA]] you’d have to do at a professional services firm, whereas [[CIMA]] you’d do in a normal company (in industry somewhere).

In my opinion, if you wanted to do [[consulting]], then I would recommend applying for the [[ACA]]. That said, you’d probably be fine with either in the long run.

#9

hi

i am currently studying for the managerial level (CIMA) , and will be appearing for the may 2010 exams

I am 24 , so i was just thinking will be good to carry on with the CIMA ??

#10

I would choose CIMA if I were you!

#11

Hey Raj,so where you studied for your future ?(CIMA or ACC,because i am planning for CIMA,but i want to know does company 's are searching for CMAians )please help me to this .Waiting for you reply ,Thanks! Jayesh

#12

Did you became CIMAian (or CMAian), please reply to this.(The reason i asked is i am planning to go for CIMA ,but i wanted to know are company’s searching for CMAians with good salary ,please help to me for this,Write now i am a student from India. Thanks!
Jayesh