What is the difference between CA and CIMA?

Are you confused about your career as you can’t differentiate between CIMA and CA qualifications? This question has dismayed many from time to time, especially the students’ minds. Here’s what you need to know everything about these courses with all valid points to make a learned decision. 

Chartered Accountancy, CA has always been a very sought-after professional qualification. A traditional Financial Accountant is called a CA whose responsibility is to audit all company’s books, systems, and workflow. A CA signs and presents the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss reports and offers a complex commentary on company performance for the previous financial year. These reports, used by all businesses, are priceless in pinpointing threats and problem areas. The company is well aware of and appreciates all their value.

On the other hand, a CIMA qualification encompasses far beyond the traditional. The range of knowledge is external to the conventional Accountancy involving the analysis and detailed costing issues. CIMA is more focused on the management accountancy profession, according to the institute’s claims. 

According to the experts, Chartered Accountancy involves financial accounting and reporting primarily for external stakeholders. In contrast, management accounting CIMA is concerned with internal users. 

The good thing about CIMA is that you can optionally do this course along with CA, a full-time study. 


Career Opportunities:

If you are a qualified CA, you are privileged to own the prestigious positions of a financial firm such as 

  • financial manager, 
  • auditor, 
  • financial advisor, 
  • business consultant, 
  • chartered accountant, 
  • accounting manager, 
  • risk and credit manager,
  • internal auditing, 
  • forensic auditing, so on. 


Also, you will have the opportunity to set up your financial firm and practice as a chartered accountant to offer proficient services.

As a qualified CIMA, you are open to a broad range of opportunities. No more constraints with balance sheets, calculation, number crunching, etc. You can take roles in management, accounting, and even overall business activities. CIMA jobs are not constrained to Financial Services Sector only, as it is opening paths in various sectors. These days, many European and US-based companies, like Vodafone, KPMG, Pepsico, Ford Motors, Accenture, and WNS, are looking forward to hiring CIMA members in India. However, the lower count of CIMAs is disappointing them. Due to the few numbers of CIMA members in India, many of these companies cannot fulfil their requirements.


CIMA: Earlier, known as the Professional qualification, has three levels of progression as operational, management, and strategic levels. Each level has three learning pillars: enterprise, performance, and financial.

CA: One of the difficult examinations with three levels: the CPT, Intermediate, and the Final 

level. One has to undergo three years of Articleship training under a financial institution or a proficient practising Chartered Accountancy.


Comparison on duration and recognition of CIMA and CA: 


CA, Chartered Accountancy prepares candidates for private practice, financial reporting, audit and tax issues. In contrast, CIMA prepares you for a business career. And to work across as an organisation, not just within finance. With solid accounting fundamentals, CIMA teaches strategic business management skills. 

Chartered Accountancy (CA) usually takes 4.5 years to complete with a passing rate of about 5% per level. In contrast, CIMA takes approximately 2-3 years to complete, and the passing rate is about 40 to 50%.

CA is recognised in India, whereas CIMA is recognised in more than 175 countries. There is more than 1 lakh of CAs in India. However, the number of CIMA members is growing. They are managing many companies across the world. That is why many companies are looking for CIMA members in India.


Steps to Become a CA:

To be a CA, one has to follow some steps. Some of the significant steps are mentioned here in detail.

Make a Decision: 

You should plan for their career before taking any step, as, without any plan, you may get failures. To take CA in a graduation degree, one should pass 12th in any discipline other than commerce. Commerce and Non-commerce, both categories of students, can apply for the course, but you should think about it thoroughly.


Choices of Subjects

There is no requirement of any particular subjects to take CA after 12th or undergraduate and postgraduate degree in any stream other than commerce. Anyone with any background is eligible to go for the CA course. All the interested candidates who want to study CA have to register for an entrance test for CA.


Entrance Exam Preparation: 

After passing the 12th, you must prepare for the CA CPT Entrance exam to clear your application.  Question paper for CA entrance consists of 4 parts:

  • Fundamentals of Accounting & Mercantile Laws; 
  • Mercantile Laws; 
  • General Economics and 
  • Quantitative Aptitude. 


College Selection: Good colleges have good academic qualities and offer lucrative placements in different companies. So, the CA aspirants need to choose the best college to pursue the CA course. And after clearing CA CPT Exam, one can apply to a CA institute.

Internship: After clearing IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course), you have to do training for 3 years under a certified CA. Having experience in this field is suitable for those who want to engage themselves after completing a CA degree.


How to become CIMA Qualified?

CIMA Institute offers CIMA course. The candidate must study for and pass 4 levels of exams and meet other requirements.


Completion and passing of 12th exams


Certificate in Business Accounting:

  • Fundamentals of Business Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Ethics, Corporate Governance, Business Law
  • Business Mathematics


Managerial, Operational & Strategic Level:


  • Performance pillar
  • Enterprise pillar
  • Financial pillar
  • Duration & Cost

It takes nearly 2 years to take all four exam levels for graduates.


Hope you have understood the difference between the CA and CIMA and have decided which course to choose and why. Team GCEC Global presents the best academic platform to have the best courses for a fruitful life and career.

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