20+ Difference Between CIMA And ACCA

Accreditations in either ACCA or CIMA are still highly valued across many organizations, despite their somewhat different foci (finance vs. strategy).

Exam fees are comparable; however, the certification you pursue will likely depend on your professional aspirations and goals.

Time and money spent on completing ACCA and CIMA tests are comparable, albeit how long it takes and how much it costs depends on the individual and factors like how often you need to retake exams and whether or not they opt to take further training.

Comparison Between CIMA And ACCA

DefinitionEstablished in 1919, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is currently regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business and financial certifications. The overarching goal is to raise the profile of management accounting as a respected business discipline worldwide.The primary certification offered by the organization is the Chartered Certified Accountant designation. A person may become a Chartered Certified Accountant by taking up to 13 professional exams, working in the accounting field for three years under supervision, and completing a course in ethics.
What it doesThe Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the name of a school that offers a curriculum that a focus on the managerial side of accounting and bears the name of the organization that administers the curriculum (CIMA).Applicants who successfully complete the ACCA are well-prepared to work independently or in private businesses specializing in finance, with a particular emphasis on the more complex ideas associated with taxes and external audits. ACCA stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
SkillsCandidates who can demonstrate that they have successfully completed the CIMA course by exhibiting excellent proficiency in the areas of business strategy and management have shown that they are competent for the certification and are thus eligible to get it.If a candidate successfully completes all of the criteria for an ACCA certification, they will better grasp the most complex aspects of financial accounting. The Association of Certified Crime Analysts may be abbreviated as ACCA for its acronym in full.
Experience requiredTo be eligible to take the CIMA tests, a candidate must have earned their bachelor’s degree from an institution that is acknowledged in their field. The candidate may focus most of their focus on one particular sector.To be qualified to sit the ACCA test, candidates need to demonstrate that they either possess a high school diploma or a certificate that has been awarded by an institution that has been granted accreditation and is regarded as being equivalent to a high school diploma.
FeesWhen the prices of both certifications are compared, the CIMA comes out on top because it is slightly more costly than the ACCA. Depending on the particulars of your situation, the amount of money you will need to pay to obtain your CIMA professional certification could range from $3,000 to $6,000.The typical cost of earning an ACCA certification is somewhere in the middle of that range, falling somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. The average cost of earning an ACCA certification is somewhere in the range of $2,000 to $3,000.

Major Difference Between CIMA And ACCA

What exactly is CIMA?

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) was founded in 1919 and since then has become an internationally respected credential for business and financial professionals.

More than 250,000 members in about 180 countries make CIMA the world’s biggest professional association of Management Accountants.

Corporate financiers, financial analysts, business analysts, treasury managers, risk managers, project financiers, etc., all benefit from the expertise of those with CIMA certification.

Through its partnership with the CPA (USA) Institute, CIMA members are awarded the CGMA credential.

Key Difference: CIMA

  • The price of CIMA ranges from $3,000 to $4,000. The CIMA exam has a success rate between 35% and 46%. 
  • Those in business and finance management roles will most benefit from a CIMA credential. The CIMA was founded in conjunction with the CPA (USA) Institute. 
  • A CIMA will exempt you from having to write as many as 12 papers. 
  • CIMA holders are highly sought after for managerial roles in the worldwide accounting industry, in multinational banks, and in the financial services sector more generally. 
  • CIMA is a hybrid of MBA and CA. In addition to imparting useful accounting knowledge, it is an excellent tool for guiding crucial management decision-making. 
  • CIMAs include elements of both an MBA and a CA. It’s a great resource for making important managerial choices and teaching sound accounting principles. 
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant credentials are awarded to CIMA graduates, establishing them as members of a global community that is recognized in every industry. 
  • ACCA has widely recognized in over a hundred countries due to its widespread connections with local accounting organizations in those regions.

What exactly is ACCA?

In 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Institute was the organization that initially authorized its members to use the title of “Chartered Certified Accountant.”

The Association of Certified Public Accountants (ACCA) is the most rapidly expanding international accounting organization in the world, with over two million members and half a million students spread out across 180 countries.

This makes ACCA the largest accounting organization in the world. The United Kingdom is home to the ACCA’s administrative headquarters.

Key Difference: ACCA

  • The normal cost of joining ACCA is between $3000 and $4000. Only around one-third to one-fourth of those who take the ACCA test succeed. 
  • People with an ACCA credential or extensive experience in the financial sector (Tax and Audit) are common candidates. 
  • ACCA has the greatest success in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. A maximum of 9 exempt papers are available to ACCA students. 
  • Corporate valuation, tax and treasury management, and forensic accounting are a few examples of accounting occupations where ACCA certification is in great demand. 
  • ACCA faces stiff competition from CAs for auditing jobs. The ACCAs are a great method to solidify your understanding of accounting principles. Useful for audits and tax filings. 
  • The ACCAs are an excellent way to get a firm grasp of accounting’s fundamentals. Appropriate for use in audits and tax returns. 
  • While ACCA students will be able to specialize in certain areas by the time they reach the latter stages of the program, the breadth of foundational accounting knowledge.
  • The skills they will acquire throughout the program are ideal for those wishing to keep their career options open or work in several fields. 

Contrast Between CIMA And ACCA


  • CIMA – The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) program is well-respected in the discipline of management accounting.

    The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the biggest organization of its kind in the world.

    The CIMA program is headquartered in London, UK. You may be scratching your head now, wondering what in the world CIMA is.
  • ACCA – Over 200,000 members and 600,000 students in 180+ countries make the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) a worldwide recognized program. The ACCA is the most popular option for accounting degrees worldwide.

    Many students aiming to establish themselves professionally in a foreign country choose to take the ACCA course since it is widely regarded as one of the most prominent accounting certifications available.


  • CIMA – Candidates must have at least three years of relevant work experience and complete 16 papers to be eligible for the Certified Internal Management Accountant (CIMA) certificate.

    To put it another way, candidates have the potential to complete the CIMA program in three years if they can balance their time between school and work effectively.
  • ACCA – Completing one of these courses will take about the same time. To get ACCA certification, candidates must score at least a passing grade on each of the 14 separate professional exams and demonstrate at least three years of experience working in a supervised accounting position.

    Candidates have a total of three years to get their ACCA certifications if they can balance their work and academic obligations successfully.


  • CIMA – Candidates for the Certified International Management Accountant (CIMA) certification have a significant portion of their candidacy determined by their degree of business acumen since this is the primary area of emphasis throughout the training.

    Throughout the whole of the class, issues relating to accounting, management accounting, information management, financial management, marketing strategy, and other aspects of the discipline are explored at length.

    The examination administered by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) consists of a total of sixteen separate tests.
  • ACCA – Besides accounting, auditing, and taxation topics, the ACCA curriculum covers business studies, financial reporting, financial management, legislation, and ethical and professional standards.

    The process of obtaining certification as an ACCA member requires the completion of a total of thirteen exams.


  • CIMA – Individuals who have obtained the CIMA certification have an advantage when applying for several professions, such as management accountants, business analysts, forensic analysts, project managers, and financial controllers.

    CIMA-certified professionals earn an annual income ranging anywhere from £62,000 to £129,000, depending on how far along their careers they are. The average yearly compensation for CIMA professionals is £62,000.
  • ACCA – Those individuals who have obtained an ACCA certification are eligible for a wide number of entry-level positions in the sectors of accounting, financial consulting, tax management, financial management, and auditing.

    The beginning wage for ACCA trainees is around £19,300 per year, while ACCA finalists and part-qualified members have the potential to earn much more (up to £30,700 and £25,800, respectively). The typical starting income for ACCA trainees is approximately £19,300 per year.


  • CIMA – Either the Certificate or the Professional level is a good place to begin your CIMA studies.

    To begin at the Certificate level, no prior qualifications are needed; however, in order to progress to the CIMA Professional certification and claim exemption from certain papers, you may need to have completed some of the prerequisites.
  • ACCA – Starting at the Fundamentals level of ACCA requires you to have completed at least two A-levels and three GCSEs in separate disciplines.

    Those who have graduated from an institution recognized by the ACCA may be eligible for entry into the profession at the Professional level without having to complete any of the intermediate levels beforehand.

    You may be excused from certain tests based on your level of education already.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Which CIMA level is the most challenging to complete?

The CIMA F2 examination is one of the most challenging tests that you will need to prepare for throughout your CIMA studies.

The percentage of people who pass the exam is just 57%. On top of that, it covers a topic that most management accountants don’t encounter in their day-to-day job, meaning that everything is presumably new and difficult to identify with.

Q2. How often are you allowed to take the CIMA exam?

An individual can take an exam four times within a rolling year, including the initial attempt and three additional retakes.

The date that begins the 365-day rolling calendar begins with the date of the initial exam attempt.

People who are taking a test more than once are obliged to pay for a fresh exam registration for each of their attempts at the exam.

Q3. What are some of the benefits that obtaining your CIMA may bring to your professional life?

Studying for the CIMA will not only get you respect and recognition as a professional, but it will also help you conduct market research, plan businesses, create operations, handle finances, preserve records, and strategically build your company.

These are only some of the many elements of life that will be made easier for you as a direct consequence of your education, but there are many more.

Q4. How difficult is it to go through ACCA?

The ACCA exam does not provide a significant amount of difficulty at all. The ACCA test is far less difficult to pass than other professional finance and accounting courses like the CA and the CFA.

It should come as no surprise that the test is far more challenging than the tests that most students have faced throughout their time in elementary school or all the way through their college courses.

Q5. Which area of the ACCA is the most difficult to study for?

The majority of students will be expected to take the Audit Assurance test, which is universally acknowledged to be the most challenging examination, especially at this level.

Regarding the Applied Skills tests, this issue, together with Performance Management, produces the most questions for me to answer. Other than that, there is no other topic that comes close.

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