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The first round of enrolments on to CIMA accountancy qualifications following their recent independent benchmarking by UK NARIC to UK, French and South African education systems has now taken place. The CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualifications were found comparable to:
- Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA) comparable to: Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 4 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales; South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 5; and French National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 with some elements comparable to Level 5
- Diploma in Management Accounting (Dip MA) comparable to: RQF Level 5, South African NQF Level 6, and French NQF Level 5
- Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (Av Dip MA) comparable to: RQF Level 6, South African NQF Level 7, and French NQF Level 6
- Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation comparable to: RQF Level 7, South African NQF Level 9, and French NQF Level 7
In terms of how European Qualification Framework (EQF) levels align to the RQF, Levels 6 and 7 align directly to EQF Levels 6 and 7 respectively, while RQF Levels 5 and 4 both align to EQF Level 5.
CIMA is the UK professional body incorporated by Royal Charter for management accountants. CIMA offers professional qualifications, which can be self-study or completed with a registered training provider.
CIMA offers professional qualifications such as the Cert BA and CIMA Professional Qualification, which leads to the CGMA designation.
Prospective students are expected to have completed either the Certificate in Business Accounting or a relevant degree. Each level of the Professional Qualification requires successfully passing the previous level exams, culminating in the Strategic level case study. The three year practical experience requirements to become qualified as a member and use the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, reflect the application of technical skills in practice as well as a level of accountability within strategic, senior financial management roles
Certificate in Business Accounting - As an entry level qualification, the Cert BA is designed to prepare students with little or no accounting experience to progress in business or accounting oriented roles and therefore does not have any formal entry requirements. It comprises four main subjects: the fundamentals of business economics; management accounting; financial accounting; and ethics, corporate governance and business law.
Overall, the Cert BA was found to reflect the abilities to develop technical, practical and theoretical knowledge and skill to solve well-defined yet non-routine problems. This means it compares closely to the descriptors in regard to knowledge and skills for RQF Level 4, South African NQF Level 5, and French NQF Level 4 whilst also demonstrating some elements of Level 5.
CIMA Professional Qualification - Designed to meet the employability needs of businesses and professionals in management accountancy, the Professional Qualification syllabus has three pillars of domain knowledge, Enterprise, Performance and Financial, and is divided into three levels of achievement:
The Operational level, leading to the Dip MA; Management level, leading to the Av Dip MA; and the Strategic level, which leads to the CGMA designation.
The Operational level demonstrates a progression in terms of skills and knowledge from the Cert BA, focusing on developing knowledge and understanding of management accountancy, business and finance topic areas, indicative of RQF Level 5, South African NQF Level 6, and French NQF Level 5.
The Management level demonstrates development of advanced conceptual knowledge and understanding, and the ability to deal with increasing complex problems. Interpretation, analysis and evaluation of complex information also reflect competencies developed at graduate level (RQF Level 6, South African NQF Level 7, and French NQF Level 6).
The Strategic level highlights progression towards acquiring a highly specialised set of skills and knowledge. Students are expected to develop courses of action which can produce change on an organisational level, while appraising the associated risks and longer-term implications. Indicative of RQF Level 7, South African NQF Level 9, and French NQF Level 7.
The study employed UK NARIC’s established methodology for benchmarking. Based on the key principles of credential evaluation, reviewing the core components of each qualification includes: entry requirements; duration; structure and content; modes of learning and assessment; learning outcomes; and associated outcomes, including qualification progression routes.