Regardless of qualification and subject all awarding bodies like to update and change their syllabus. Although this can cause a feeling of apprehension it does need to be done. Updating qualifications ensures that they remain current and relevant to the industry as well as ensuring those completing the course are being given the relevant skills and technical knowledge.
That is exactly what CIMA have done with the changes they have made to their syllabus for the Operational, Management and Strategic levels of their qualification. They have listened to the industry and observed the changes and decided that their qualification needs to equip new finance professionals with the knowledge of how to operate and perform in an ever changing world.
Finance teams still need to follow the accounting standards, the tax rules and the governance that surrounds the profession. They still need to be ethical in their approach and they need to be respected and trustworthy members of society yet in a digital age there is more that they need to understand and other skills they need to showcase.
The CIMA syllabus changes have incorporated how finance functions need to adapt and what technologies and data have been introduced that will enable and command this change.
The changes in the syllabus are predominately affecting the Enterprise pillar. The introduction of the 4th Industrial Revolution and all it entails focusses in here. There are changes to the performance management pillar and the finance pillar but these are not as large, they focus on how digital affects these areas.
In the Operational level the focus is on how digital technologies will impact and change the way finance operates. At the management level the focus is on value creation as well as integrated reporting. Then at strategic level is where we are asked to think about a digital strategy and to include into this cyber security. All really important changes and all very valid in a modern place of work.
But with all this said what does this actually mean for those who are looking to start the CIMA qualification. What does it mean for those who are part way through the CIMA qualification and what does it mean for those who have completed the qualification? When do the changes come into play and what do you need to do next?
If we start with what does it mean for those who have completed the qualification, well that’s easy. There is no change to your qualification. You will need to keep your CPD up to date and it would be beneficial for you to understand how finance is changing and how change is the norm.
For those who are thinking of starting the CIMA qualification this is an ideal time for you to start. You get to start on the new syllabus and can work through all of the units with the digital focus which will be such an employable strength.
For those who are part way through this is where is becomes a little more confusing.
Anyone sitting an objective test after November will automatically be sitting on the new syllabus therefore my advice would be anything that you are part way through studying get this completed and the exam sat by the end of October.
Any new units you start on from September onwards you will need to start on the new syllabus so that you are ready for the exams on the new syllabus but remember these will be exams after the 1st November.
If you are sitting a case study exam the November case study will be on the old syllabus and if you fail this there will be a resit (but it is a resit only) in February on the old syllabus.
If you are part way through a level and will have studied some old syllabus and some new syllabus and the case study will be on the new syllabus you will need to ask your training provider for a top up on the difference between the old and the new.
There is a lot to think about if you are part way through the CIMA qualification so it may be best for you to speak to an advisor who can assess your own individual needs for what you need to do.
The change to the syllabus is a positive one and as finance professionals change is the only constant!