Training is a combination of examinations and practical experience.
To qualify as a chartered management accountant, you must successfully complete:
the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Professional Qualification;
a minimum of three years' relevant practical experience.
To achieve the 2010 CIMA Professional Qualification you will need to complete:
three exams at operational level;
three exams at managerial level;
three exams at strategic level;
a two part Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting (TOPCIMA), based on a work-based practical experience and a case study exam.
There are stopping-off points and interim awards if required by an individual and/or an organisation. For example if you complete the operational level you are eligible for the CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting, and if you complete the management level you will be eligible for the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting.
The syllabus for the CIMA Professional Qualification is built upon the following three core pillars of learning:
Each of these pillars is split into three levels of examinations - operational, managerial and strategic. There are three examinations in each pillar.
Many employers offering CIMA training to graduates will have a structured programme that combines the practical experience required with opportunities to study for the examinations. Although many employers will give employees time off for study leave, there is a substantial amount of private study required. To be successful in gaining this qualification, the amount of study required while working demands significant amounts of personal time, dedication and determination.
Study methods vary and can include full-time, part-time or evening classes, or a combination of these. There are also opportunities to self-study, through colleges which provide distance learning packages and online with CIMAstudy.com, the only CIMA-endorsed online study system.