Choice to study either CIMA or ACA




I’ve managed to get onto a grad scheme which others both the ACA (out of practice) and CIMA qualification. Originally i’ve been leaning towards CIMA as i prefer it but I do recognise how difficult it is to get onto an ACA graduate scheme and thus feel as though it would be as “wasted” opportunity. I’m 90% I want to work my way up the corporate industry ladder and focus on management accounts but I would like to keep my options fairly open (perhaps maybe auditing/asset management).

My question is which qualification would you recommend?
Also as i’d be getting the ACA qualification outside of the traditional audit practice environment, how respected would it be and how easy would it be to move into auditing?



Hi Shaye,

Congrats on securing a grad scheme!

Some advice on your query:

  • If you are thinking about possibly continuing in to audit/ asset management I would recommend doing the ACA. If we take audit as an example, all of the Big4 do the ACA rather than CIMA and so it will give you a better shot
  • Having said that, getting the ACA qualification out of the traditional audit practice wouldn’t be less respected (As you mentioned) but you do need to obtain a certain amount of hours of experience with a registered body (e.g. a Big 4 or registered audit firm). Without this experience you wouldn’t be abel to obtain the full ACA and so you need to check if your firm is registered with the ICAEW or similar.
  • If you have the ACA AND the minimum number of hours signed off by a registered body, it would be achievable to move in to auditing possibly as an experienced hire. I feel it would be an easier route to try to pursue a graduate scheme with an audit firm though, so consider that!

Hopefully this helps! Good luck!