Posted by: Andre Post Date: 27th June 2014

If you’re looking to gain accountancy qualifications, you might be wondering which route to go down. There are a range of courses available, and CIMA and ACCA are two of the most popular. Both of these qualifications are highly respected and sought after in the UK. So, which is the best choice for you, CIMA or ACCA?

CIMA or ACCA? Your area of interest

The major difference between CIMA and ACCA is their focus. The decision of whether to study CIMA or ACCA is likely to be based on your long-term career ambitions, as each arms you with different skills and knowledge.


If you are looking to embark on a business-focused career, then CIMA courses are a good match. You will qualify as a chartered management accountant, preparing you for a business leadership role. With the full CIMA qualification under your belt, you will be able to take on a broader range of roles in any kind of organisation or industry, helping to shape strategies and make financial decisions.

As a CIMA member, you could one day find yourself in a top role such as Financial Controller or Managing Director.

Alternatively, ACCA courses place more emphasis on auditing. Many ACCA members take on private practice roles, focusing more on financial assessment and compliance than planning and management. As a chartered certified accountant, you will be highly aware of professional values in the world of accountancy, and of the ethical issues that can arise.

With ACCA, you can gain qualifications equivalent to a Masters Degree, setting you up for a successful career. You could enjoy roles from Personal Banker to Financial Analyst, or even become self employed.

Which accounting career path is right for you?

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CIMA or ACCA? Your qualification level

One of the things you should consider before deciding on a course is the qualifications you already have. The courses can be started at different You may need to gain more qualifications before beginning your course, or you

To begin studying for the ACCA Fundamentals, you will need to have at least two A level and three GCSEs, all in different subjects. If you already have a degree from an ACCA accredited university, you may be able to go straight into the ACCA Professional level qualification. You could be exempt from some exams, allowing you to get a head start on the course.

CIMA, on the other hand, can be started without any previous qualifications. The course can be started at two levels, the Certificate or the Professional qualification. If you’re a school leaver, or have been working but don’t have formal qualifications, you can start with the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting. As with ACCA, if you do have previous qualifications, you may be able to start with the CIMA Professional qualification, and even be exempt from some papers.

Studying for your qualification

Whether you decide on CIMA or ACCA, you can study in a way that suits you. Both qualifications can be studied in the classroom or from home. Either way, you will be guided through your course by an experienced tutor and expert resources.

If you would like some personalised advice about which course would be ideal for you, please get in touch below.

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