10 key facts to know about CIMA

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

Want to learn more about CIMA? Here are 10 things you should know about this professional body for management accountants.

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1. What management accountancy actually is

CIMA stands for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Although management accountants can practise general accountancy, they have a very specific skills set, combining accounting, finance and management. Through interpreting financial data and using business knowledge they help businesses make decisions that will lead to improvement. CIMA management accountants are trained to understand how organisations work, find new ways to make companies more successful and use in-depth analysis – both financial and non-financial – to make important strategic decisions affecting the future of a company.

2. What management accountancy isn’t

Not sure how that sets a management accountant apart from a traditional accountant? In a nutshell, traditional accountants spend a lot of time focusing on the past to make sure the finances of an organisation are in order – they analyse past financial performance, looking at quantitative data. Management accountants look more to the future. They analyse data, forecasts and budgets, and examine both qualitative and quantitative data, in order to contribute to strategy. Plus, their remit is not just financial – they can influence all areas of a business.


In 2017 CIMA joined up with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to form the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA & CIMA), a professional network with 400,000 members all over the world. When you’ve completed your CIMA qualification and are a CIMA member, you are automatically entitled to put extra letters after your name – the Chartered Management Global Accountant (CGMA) designation. Not only will this be a boost to your CV, but it will also demonstrate your business acumen, ethics and commitment to your profession wherever you are working in the world.

4. CIMA and the digital space

You may not think that accountancy and tech have much in common, but CIMA recognises that it is vital for finance professionals to possess technical skills. They also need to be able to understand that organisations face both challenges and opportunities due to digitalisation and rapid changes in technology. To advise a firm about these opportunities, you have to understand then. Hence CIMA ensures that its syllabus is always updated to ensure its students are tech savvy, completely prepared to work successfully in the digital space.

5. A tidy sum

Knowing the salary your chosen career will reward you with is important when it comes to making career decisions. The average salary of a CIMA student is £32,000 – that’s £3k more than the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) reports the median average graduate starting salary to be. And when you can put those important letters after your name? That number jumps to £66,000. A few more years down the line, the sky’s the limit. You can use the AICPA's handy salary insights tool to compare your salary with others.

6. Size – it’s not everything, but it matters

CIMA is the world’s largest professional body of management accountants. This isn’t just because it’s 102 years old – it was founded in 1919 – although experience certainly counts. It’s because CIMA doesn’t rest on its laurels and is constantly innovating so it attracts the best students.

7. With your CIMA qualification, you likely won’t end up being a management accountant

Qualifying with CIMA doesn’t mean you have to be a management accountant for the rest of your life (although you may well find that you want to). In fact the majority of CIMA members don’t have ‘management accountant’ as their job title. Because the qualification is about so much more than looking at finances, CIMA qualification holders go on to do all sorts of things. Common job titles of members include, for example: CFO (chief financial officer), finance manager, management consultant and business analyst.

8. You can find CGMAs everywhere

Not just in most countries in the world, but also in all kinds of organisations: accountancy firms, professional services firms, consultancies, the Civil Service, charities, tech organisations, commercial multinationals, start-ups… you name it. And these can be public or private, big or small. Take a look at the career stories on cimaglobal.com to find out where CIA members work and get inspired!

9. Anyone can go for it

You may be nearing the end of your time at university and have just started thinking about management accountancy. That’s okay – it’s not too late. You can start a CIMA qualification as an undergraduate (incorporating CIMA courses into your study), as a graduate with any degree (you may even get exemptions if you’ve studied particular subjects) or even as a school leaver.

10. CIMA will always look after its members

Once you’ve qualified with CIMA, and even years into working, it won’t abandon you. You’ll have access to CGMA tools, webinars, reports and research that will enable to continue developing professionally and give you a competitive edge. You may decide to become a Fellow (FCMA), for example, joining business professionals at the top of their game. If you want to change your job, CIMA can help you with that too: thousands of jobs are added to its career hub every day. And wherever you’re working, you’ll have access to 657,000 like-minded, global peers!

To learn more about CIMA, go to the CIMA employer hub .

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