What You Need to Know


Chartered Management Accountant

In order to qualify as a Chartered Management Accountant and to become a member of CIMA, a student must:

  • complete the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting or another exempting qualification
  • complete the nine exams from the CIMA Professional Qualification
  • gain three years relevant practical experience and send your 'Career Profile’ to us for approval
  • pass the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting (TOPCIMA)

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting is the first step towards getting CIMA Professional Qualification and becoming Chartered Management Accountant. It contains five papers which are as follows:

  • C01 Fundamentals of Management Accounting
  • C02 Fundamentals of Financial Accounting
  • C03 Fundamentals of Business Mathematics
  • C04 Fundamentals of Business Economics
  • C05 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law

All the papers may be attempted in any order and in any combination. Upon completion of the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting CIMA will send you a certificate.

CIMA Professional Qualification

The CIMA Professional Qualification specialises in accounting for business and is recognised by employers around the world. There are three learning streams in it:

  • Operational Pillar 
  • Performance Pillar 
  • Financial Pillar

The CIMA Professional Qualification is divided into three levels – Operational, Managerial and Strategic. Eacch level includes three papers. At the final stage, TOPCIMA case-based examination is to be attempted.

To gain direct entry to the CIMA Professional Qualification you will need to have completed the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting or have studied the relevant qualification and, thus, get exempted from Certificate-level papers.

Exemptions & Accelerated Routes


CIMA provides a chance for students to get exempted from some papers based on their education (more details at CIMA’s web site):


Accelerated Route 1

A student is eligible for exemptions under Accelerated Route 1 if he/she has completed an accredited qualification. Check an on-line CIMA Accredited Programmes database to see whether your programme has been accredited by CIMA and find out how many exemption CIMA shall grant to you. Please note that students who have completed an accredited degree cannot apply for further exemptions from the CIMA exams.


Accelerated Route 2

A students is eligible for exemptions under Graduate Accelerated Route 2 if he/she has a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification which is not listed on CIMA Accredited Programmes database. Please note that no Managerial or Strategic level exemptions are available through this route unless a student has a qualifying MBA. Once a student applies for exemptions under Accelerated Route 2, he/she will be allocated by CIMA to a degree grouping based on one’s degree award and transcript. The degree grouping will determine the maximum number of exemptions a student would receive.


AAT Accelerated Route

Students who have completed the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) technician stage and submit appropriate documentation to CIMA shall be granted exemptions from all five of CIMA’s Certificate-level subjects.


Open University Accelerated Route

A student will be awarded exemptions from all five of CIMA's Certificate level subjects if he/she successfully complete the Open University Certificate in Accounting.


Professional Qualifications Accelerated Route

If a student is studying for or have successfully completed a relevant qualification with another professional body, he/she may be eligible for exemptions. Check an on-line CIMA Accredited Programmes database to see how many exemptions you would be potentially granted.

Fees associate with studying CIMA


CIMA students are required to pay all relevant subscriptions and fees. Below is the 2008 Fee List:


£ 70

Exam Fees



CIMA Certificate in BA

£ 47*

Annual Subscription

£ 97

Managerial Level

£ 79


Strategic Level

£ 85


£ 70


£ 147


Additional Late Entry Fee

£ 199

Exemption Fees


Very Late Entry Fee

£ 399

CIMA Certificate in BA

£ 47

Change of Exam Paper/Centre

£ 32

Operational and Managerial Level

£ 79

Late Change of Exam Paper/Centre

£ 64

Strategic Level

£ 85

Exam Non Payment Admin Fee

£ 64

* CBA centres may charge administration fees in addition to the standard fee.




All the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting exams are held by two-hour-long computer-based assessments at CBA centres. They may be taken in any time of year.


Managerial and Strategic-level exams along with TOPCIMA are three-hour-long paper-based assessments. They are held in two sitting a year – in May and November.

  • If you wish to sit Managerial level exams, for the May exam diet you must complete all Certificate level computer-based assessment CBA's) by 1 March.
  • To enter for Strategic level you need to have completed Managerial level.
  • To sit the TOPCIMA exam you need to have completed and passed all three Strategic level papers.

Exam entry takes place online:

February to mid-March for May exams
August to mid-September for November exams
How to study?

CIMA students have many options how to prepare for their CIMA exams:

The information contained in this page is taken from CIMA’s official web-site.

For more information please refer to www.cimaglobal.com

and/or contact CIMA Contact team:


26 Chapter Street
United Kingdom


T:+44 (0) 20 8849 2251      

E: cima.contact@cimaglobal.com

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