The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offers qualifications for those aspiring towards management accountancy.
Unlike other finance qualifications, CIMA fully equips you with both the financial and the people skills you will need to thrive in your career. Far from the number crunching stereotype of the typical accountant, you will be liaising with others in your organisation, and forming wide-reaching strategies for business growth.
If you are considering starting a course, or have recently qualified, you might be wondering what to do after CIMA. We take a look at the options, from ensuring you’ve got the right experience, to looking for the ideal role.
Gaining relevant experience
The CIMA papers qualify you to an advanced level in financial management; however, to become a full member, you are required to gain three years’ relevant experience.
While the course equips you with the theoretical knowledge you need to succeed, it’s important to put it into practice, and gain the functional skills you will be using regularly in a professional role.
Many CIMA learners work in full time finance roles while they study. If you have only worked in non-relevant roles, or have been studying full time, though, it is a good idea to get some practical experience before you apply to more senior roles.
This could include junior roles such as Finance Assistant or Bookkeeper. Even voluntary positions will help you get your foot in the door. After you learn the ropes within a professional setting, you will be ready to aim for management accounting roles.
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For newly-qualified CIMA members without a great deal of experience, traineeships can be an attractive option. Many organisations offer full training and exciting opportunities for those with the ability to advance quickly.
Financial traineeships often involve rotating through a number of different departments within an organisation, gaining a myriad of new skills, and getting a feel for a range of financial management roles. For example, one month you might be working in the Auditing department, and the next in Commercial Finance, helping to form strategies that propel the business forward.
Traineeships with large organisations can even offer you the chance to travel the world. Global firms with branches in different countries often want their trainees to experience the way things work in every area of the business, and to work with foreign currencies and legislation.
The exciting thing about management accounting is that you could work in almost any sector imaginable. Some interesting options include:
Retail: retail organisations aim to generate impressive earnings, and you could be the driving force behind this. By giving senior figures and stakeholders a clear idea of the business’s financial activities and their implications, you can help to reduce losses and increase profits.
Banking: financial institutions are constantly in need of innovative ways of gaining a competitive advantage. You could be involved in cost management, risk management, and other forms of financial management that help well-known banking organisations thrive.
Public sector: just like commercial businesses, public sector organisations have to meet budgets and generate funds. You could be an essential part of reducing government spending, and saving tax payers’ money.
With the CIMA qualification under your belt, you could receive an impressive pay package in return for your skills. In 2013, CIMA members earned £60,655 on average, with over £6,000 in bonus payments.
Even those who are still studying towards the Diploma earn over £34,309 on average. This is around £10,000 more than the national average, making CIMA a financially rewarding financial qualification.