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Post Info TOPIC: Going on to CIMA


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Going on to CIMA


Hi i am a associate member of the ICB and  am also AAT qualified and now moving on to CIMA just ordered my study materials so am just wondering if anyone else on here has gone on to CIMA or ACCA etc and how they found it?



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Hi

I've done the AAT and gone half way through CIMA and now I'm starting my own bookkeeping business I've started taking the ICB exams as not having completed CIMA I want to be affiliated with a respected body and found that people responded well and could make a connection to me becoming a certified bookkeeper through them. Why not complete my CIMA studies? Well, I'm slightly impatient and would rather spend the rest of this year taking ICB Level III exams which I can sit pretty much when I want, rather than spending the next 2 years only being able to sit exams every 6 months (which is moving toward 3 monthly but still a while yet).

I'm not anti-CIMA, don't get me wrong, I just realised that it's not what I need now I'm moving in to self employment.

CIMA or ACCA are a different ball game entirely. Whereas there is a connection with the AAT and ICB studies when you move on to CIMA you slowly but surely move away from practical accounting that you're probably used to and into more complex areas and a heck of alot more theory. It's hard work. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that AAT or ICB studies are easy, it's just a different place.

It's not clear if you are studying independantly or with a school/college but hope you enjoy it either way!

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Hi Nicola,

There are quite a few CIMA PQ's and qualified CIMA people on here so hope that they will be able to give specific advice based on that qualification later.

I can only advise from the ACCA perspective but as the two qualifications are very similar I think that my appraisal of the study level and expectations of each level of study should be applicable to both.

Personal opinion is that when you get into the study properly it is a quantum leap from what you have studied up until now but you will really enjoy the challenge of the study and feel a real sense of achievement at passing the exams.

The first three ACCA papers (fundamentals level) are not at all disimilar to the level of study that you were doing with the intermediate level AAT. That you have AAT should give you exemptions from the fundamental papers of ACCA & CIMA anyway.

The ACCA skills level (papers F4 through to F9) or CIMA equivalents is where you will see a real change in exam style to scenario based questions that may no no one correct answer.

The Professional level papers are just evil.

I think that the best comparrison that I have read as to the level of study that you need for your mind to be at is

Fundamentals level is the equivalent of AAT studies

Skills level is the equivalent of a BSc (and a BSc is available if you pass this level and do an additional project)

Professional level is the equivalent level of study as a Masters degree.

For examples of the level of knowledge that you will be expected to achieve have a look at these two ACCA pilot papers. The first for Financial Reporting and the second for Management Accounting (both include the answers).

http://www2.accaglobal.com/pubs/students/acca/exams/f7/past_papers/int/f7int_2006_dec_ppq.pdf

http://www2.accaglobal.com/pubs/students/acca/exams/f5/past_papers/f5_2006_dec_ppq.pdf

Personally I find management accounting a lot easier than financial accounting but that I think is more down to the day job (banking) than which is easier to study.

When sitting the exams you get three hours (plus 15 minutes reading time) to do three or four questions. Normally there is one scenario question worth half of the marks and two or three questions which could be on any area of the syllabus for the remainder.

50% is a pass mark but don't let that fool you as the exams are very, very time pressured. You spend ages doing calculations at break neck speed for which there are often few marks in order to write reports to management where the real marks are based on based on how the information that you calculated is conveyed and whether such adheres to the correct treatment in relation to financial reporting standards.

I'm now nearing the end of my ACCA studies and would recommend it to anyone. You get really challenged by studying at this level but when you come through the exams you know damn well that either know your stuff or know exactly where to find it.

Completing this course of study will give you a real sense of pride and achievement as many fall by the wayside along the way. I remember when I sat my first ACCA paper. In Birmingham alone the ACCA filled two large halls full of students sitting their first paper. Now I'm at the later stages you get several papers being sat simultaneously in a single hall half the size as it seems that with every paper there are fewer and fewer of us remaining.

The issue over what you are allowed to do on a freelance basis whilst you are a PQ regardless as to any other affiliations (AAT, ICB, etc.) is another subject. Cima seems a lot more lenient on that side than the ACCA so I think that you've definitely taken the right route if you intend to work in a self employed capacity at the same time as studying.

Good luck with the studies Nicola, I know that my answer was more angled towards ACCA but as mentioned previously, ACCA and CIMA are very, very similar qualifications.

By the way, now that you are a PQ sign up for the free PQ magazine which keeps you abreast of everything that's going on with the various bodies, publishers, training providers, etc.

All the best,

Shaun.





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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



Forum Moderator & Expert

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Hi Victoria,

welcome to the forum.

I don't think that CIMA and ACCA are really so different.

The exams are a similar format.

The syllabuses cover pretty much the same material (though in different papers).

I remember when I first started my studies that someone advised me that for management accounting choose CIMA and for financial accounting choose ACCA but then looked at the syllabuses and found that everything in the CIMA syllabus was actually also in the ACCA one. Also, I work with a lot of management accountants and would say that more are ACCA qualified than CIMA so the latter is obviously not a prerequisit to become a management accountant.

Are you keeping your CIMA membership going to continue later or have you drawn a line under it? If so, even if it was an employer paying I hope that you weren't too far into the qualification as I'm sure that you've invested an awful lot of your time in getting as far as you have.

Good luck with the ICB level III.

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Hi Shaun

I'm 2 papers short of completing the management level, which would mean I have 5 papers left then TOPCIMA. I've been studying CIMA since 2001, and gone through 3 syllabus changes. It's taken me this long purely because I have had 3 kids during and when I changed jobs in 2006 got told it wasn't necessary for me to continue studies and to be honest, I was tired of it so happily gave it up! Then I wanted promotion and got told that I really needed to start again, so out came the study books. Earlier this year I moved and finally had the opportunity to start my own business and knowing I can do all the work with relative ease decided I would rather put all my effort into becoming a qualified bookkeeper. Taking the first levels of the ICB proved to me I can do it and most importantly I really enjoy it and I can't wait to get cracking and helping people with the element of their business they probably like least of all.

So, after all that study history of me (sorry) I will be hanging up my CIMA hat. For me, life's too short to not enjoy it and make the most of it. I love cost accounting, I love the puzzle element of getting recs to balance and I love helping people out and I'm really hopeful that ICB is going to help me do that, with bells on! Lol

Sorry Nicola I've sabotaged your thread a bit. Please don't let my sorry tale of CIMA put you off, I'm sure you'll really enjoy the journey.

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The thing that I really don't like about it is the unfairness sometimes of the essay type exams.

I did ACCA paper 2.3 (the tax paper) and the day before I really thought about not sitting it as I hadn't had time to revise for it at all beyond listening to tapes in the car as I went to client sites.

I sat it anyway and in the exam I couldn't answer all parts of all of the questions but still got a pass (I could answer them now but back then I couldn't).

Then I did paper 3.1 (advanced Audit) which I took three months off work to study for. Knew all of the accounting and audit standards inside out and upside down. Filled two extension booklets in the exam, thought quietly confident about a really good result, and got my worst fail mark ever.

To my way of thinking those two cancel each other out so I feel no guilt for my 2.3 pass which I really don't think I deserved. However it really did make me feel as though the whole thing was just a lottery as to who you got marking your paper.

I started a bookkeeping business and was with the ICB but also being with the ACCA I wasn't allowed to do half of the things I would have if I had only been ICB so I gave up my ICB membership earlier this year. However, it took a lot to make that decision as I have often questioned whether I was hanging onto the wrong qualification just because I had gone through so much just to get to the stage I am rather than the logic of the situation in that I'm unlikely to attain the post qualification experience neccessary for an ACCA practice certificate anyway so to have my own practice will eventually mean trading in the ACCA for something like IFA.

I think that yours is a far more down to earth appraisal of the situation with sound logic behind it. Why take a qualification if it's going to be of no use to you. I'm sure that what you've already picked up in your studies will come in really useful to servicing your clients when you get your ICB practice certificate.

I think on the sabotage front we're still on subject, just off at a bit of an angle.



-- Edited by Shamus on Wednesday 18th of May 2011 07:16:07 PM

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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Thank you both for your opinions its a home study course that i am doing as were all the other qualifications that i have so hopefully i will have the discipline to complete the course but with 4 little ones running around i can imagine i am going to have my hands full but i am the kind of person that is not easily defeated so hopfully this will help me through it.

Nicola



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Thank you Shaun.

Nicola - good luck with the study. I did all my AAT and the first half of CIMA as self study.

One piece of advise would be to get in to the CIMA student forums and make use of all the support there as well as here ofcourse. Also register for PQ magazine, it's alot lighter style than the CIMA one and covers all accountancy bodies and it's good to read.

CIMA also offer loads of seminars/talks/social events so get registered for your area to be sent emails.

Don't know what books you've gone for (BPP or Kaplan). I used both, BPP was my default but I got 2 Kaplan ones recently and I liked the format, a bit more easy reading and they're bigger in size (not volume) which means the book stays open when on a desk and you have room round the edge to write notes.

You sound like me - love a challenge! I wish you every success.

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Seconded on Kaplan.

did you read the cash for books thing in PQ?

Apparently BPP pay the ACCA £50k to be their platinum provider. Wonder how much that equates out to per book?

From the viewpoint of actually using the books though I find Kaplan miles ahead of BPP. It's a shame as up until the change of syllabus with the ACCA back in 2007 the BPP books were to my mind actually superior and then they started playing around with fonts and text boxes and pictures and making bold and underlining.

Don't know if it's anything to do with my Dyslexia but I really cannot read BPP text books anymore as I find them really messy and just plain annoying. I mean, if I'm reading a parargraph don't make half the words bold. If the rest of it wasn't worth reading then just leave it out of the book.

Kaplan on the other hand is well formatted, well presented, Copious numbers of of examples coming at questions seemingly from every angle.

I still however occassionally buy both for a paper but where I read the Kaplan from cover to cover I will dip into the BPP from the index where there's something that I'm having a problem getting my head around and need more info.

Actually, that's only happened once so far with my paper P2 studies and that was down to Hedge accounting and derivatives. (boy it's fun at this level!).

Also on the books issue. Get Through Guides (GTG) are cheaper than either BPP or Kaplan texts but there's a reason for that... They're awful. The information is in there but you have to know what your looking for in order to find i which sort of defeats the object of a study textt. I don't think that you could study a subject using only the GTG guides.

Actually, I'm probably being unfair as I've only got one, again for P2 and consider it a revision companion rather than a study text even though it's supposed to be the latter.

On the Kaplan being bigger in size, have you seen the study text for ACCA paper P6 (advanced tax). It's 6cm thick!!! Mind you, it's the bee's knee's if you want to learn tax. Even so, when you look at them on the shelf it must go through your mind, we have to memorise those! No wonder my brains fried.

Oops, waffling. Right lets have a look who else has posted this morning.

hope you have a good day,

All the best,

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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I have just joined the CIMA Course from << advertising removed by moderator >> and taking the virtual classes. Until now they are providing the best educational facilities. As the course is very difficult and it needs lots of hard work to cross all the level. Let's see what will happen after.



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