ICAS or CIMA? Help!



Ive managed to get an offer for next year but the offer lets me choose whether to do ICAS or CIMA, and I cant really work out what the differences are apart from ICAS looking at tax and external audit whereas CIMA does. Does anyone know if one is harder than the other, which is more reputable, what the difference in pay is like (if it matters) etc? With regards to the pay if i take the offer i would be looking to stay with post qualifying too so would whichever i choose have an effect?

Any and all advice would be immensely appreciated!!! :slight_smile:


Lil. x


Anyone have any opinions? please? I really cant decide which of the two would be the better option. I was thinking as well, that I may want to work abroad at some point and wondered which of these would be more attractive to foreign employers?

What one would you choose (ICAS/ICAEW or CIMA)? and why?

All input is really helpful!!!

Lil. x


Hi Lil
I would personally choose ACA/CA route because CIMA restricts you to industry only, whereas with an ACA/CA you gain a broder range of skills, meaning you’ll be employable both in practice (ie big 4) aswell as in industry (ie finance controller in BP). If you really want to stay in industry then go for the CIMA, but if you want to keep your options open then choose ACA/CA.
Just my opinion though :)!!

Hope it helps!


ICAS is a lot more recognised, without a shadow of doubt.


ICAS is probably better option in terms of recognition, prestige etc
If you prefer management accounts then CIMA probably but ICAS opens up most things to you, that’s why I held out for a CA training role


Thanks for the comments guys, think i’m slightly swaying towards ICAS as it is. Though a lot of the people in the company seem to have CIMA. But then im hoping to secure a different offer anyway :frowning:

lil. x


ICAS - means you are a chartered accountant and gives good all round skills - and allows career progression in industry/practice/public sector

CIMA - very management accounting based - limits you to industry mostly - can’t be an auditor with CIMA

ICAS is harder - and the exams are a done in quick succession whereas CIMA is more spread out

Generally CIMA has better starting pay, but ICAS has better long term pay - though as both are at the same company for you I expect pay is the same

ICAS is better for international work than CIMA

Go with what you want not what most of the people are doing