CIMA – The Choice

Backed by a reputation forged through 90 years, respected by contemporaries and renowned for its comprehensive syllabus, the CIMA stands out as a brilliant choice for leaders and professionals to get ahead.

By Azhar Jalil

“I think it’s important to have varied experiences, so that you come across as an interesting and well-rounded person during interviews,” Xie Jiayin says.

As a finance professional with Barclays Capital, the 23-year-old believes in higher and broader learning to upgrade her practical skills and improve on current knowledge.

Hence, in a workforce where experience matters, it’s not difficult to see why she chooses to take up a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification as part of her company’s graduate programme.

Accounting for more

While many accounting qualifications focus specifically on external audit and tax management training, CIMA prepares its students for a career in business by teaching skills in strategic advice, managing risk and making key decisions.

The CIMA syllabus extends far beyond accounting by encompassing business-related fields, and is designed to deliver a strong understanding of all aspects of business so that successful graduates can contribute not just in finance but across many areas of an organisation.

A key aspect that differentiates CIMA from its competitors is its focus on business needs and management accounting – the practical science of value creation within organisations. By combining this with lessons in accounting, finance and management, its graduates are equipped with the tools that drive successful businesses.

“I believe that the CIMA courses will be useful to me as a finance professional, due to the broad coverage of the various knowledge areas relevant to management accounting such as project management, people management, budgeting, financial concepts, and capital structuring,” Jieyin remarks.

Global Membership

“I wasn’t familiar with CIMA before taking up this programme,” Jieyin admits. “Probably because it’s not as well-known here as it is in UK and as compared to other professional qualifications,”

Nonetheless, it’s impossible to ignore the institute’s 90-year history bolstered by numerous accolades that attest to and validate its pride as the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. Significantly, CIMA was chosen by the World Bank to train its finance and accounting employees in CIMA professional qualification last year. CIMA had also been consistently voted by contemporary businesses as a Superbrand in the UK alongside such companies as Google and Visa.

In addition, a study in 2007 by the University of Bath’s renowned School of Management found the CIMA syllabus to provide more management accounting, and higher levels of both business and financial strategy, as compared to eight other reputable professional qualifications around the world.

With CIMA Chartered Management Accountants highly regarded in 161 countries, the institute aims to be the first choice for employers by imparting value-added business skills to professionals. Combined with a global membership, this strong and ongoing support network further distinguishes CIMA as a world renowned accounting accreditation body.

A direct consequence of a syllabus honed by years of expertise, CIMA members are thus recognised for their dynamic and outstanding leadership qualities which are valued by companies.

Staying on track

As a working professional, managing time efficiently is important and for Jieyin maximising its value even more so. Work and personal commitments mean committing to full-time studies isn’t an option – hence effective and efficient teaching and learning methods are made even more crucial considerations for Jieyin.

Being an alumni of Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Junior College, and being a graduate of the Nanyang Business School, Jieyin is experienced enough to suggest trying various study methods to discover the most suitable one. “Although everyone says last minute cramming is bad, there are those that who need to feel stress and a sense of urgency to be motivated – that’s the case for me!” she reveals.

“One tip that’s always given but seldom followed is that you should always ask questions in class when you’re in doubt. It’s much faster than trying to figure it out, plus you may end up getting it all wrong otherwise,” Jieyin says.

Insight of success

Although she is just a month into her course, Jieyin fully expects her learning experience at CIMA to be an enriching one.

“After completion of my course, I’d be focusing on applying the knowledge and competencies honed through CIMA, and accumulating experience through practical application in the workplace,” she says of her plans.

And while not everyone is a born leader, Jieyin believes that experience counts more towards imbuing anyone with leadership skills. “Being born with leadership characteristics gives you a head start. But insight is cultivated by the things you see, the mistakes you make, and the victories you achieve – in a nutshell, experience,” she remarks.

With a CIMA qualification, and riding on their years of experience, Jieyin is sure to be more than a step closer to being a workplace leader and in turn developing a successful career.

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