Navin Rao is working for a multinational bank as a chartered accountant. Despite having completed two years in the organisation, he is thinking of applying to B-schools for a management degree. If the tale sounds familiar to many of Rao's tribe, some good news is on the way. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), headquartered in London, has now set up its division in India, aiming to bridge the gap between accountancy and management. Says Michelle Potts, head of international business development, CIMA: 'The need for international management accountants is on the rise with the increasing presence of international players in India.'
CIMA is a membership body that offers an internationally recognised professional qualification in management accountancy. A founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFA), CIMA has a presence in 156 countries and over 85,000 students are registered with the body. States Swati Gangurde, chief representative, CIMA India: 'CIMA has distance learning programmes that one can pursue while working.'
CIMA offers three kinds of qualifications ' CIMA Certificate in Basic Accounting, CIMA Professional Qualification, and CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting. As its name implies, the first is like a foundation course for beginners in accounting. According to Gangurde, this course is aimed at non-commerce people like engineers and statisticians who may want to know what accounting is all about. The other two courses target the chartered accountant who is aware of financial accounting but needs to bone up on his knowledge of managerial accounting.
According to Robert Jelly, director of Education, CIMA, accounting has become a complex activity as organisations have grown in size. Accountants today are as much concerned with assets and liabilities as they are with valuations and compliance. As a result, the CIMA course includes topics like risk management to meet the changing role of a chartered accountant. The basic-level exams are computer-based tests and are held more than once a year, while the other two are held twice a year ' in May and November. 'These exams are different from the Indian CA exam,' remarks Gangurde. 'There is no aggregate passing and there are exemptions for those who have already cleared their CA exams.'
A membership with CIMA is also your gateway to the best employers globally. Says Gangurde: 'CIMA has over 65,000 members who are working in sectors like banking, manufacturing and services. The organisation works with them to employ CIMA members.' According to a CIMA survey, seven per cent of its members are finance directors and 14 per cent are financial controllers.
Also, CIMA, in association with its member companies, conducts programmes for their employees. It works with companies like Procter & Gamble, Tesco, J.P. Morgan and Deloitte for the same. This helps the body review the syllabus to make it consistently relevant for everyone. In India, CIMA is in talks with companies that can incorporate its programme into their schedule. The programme does not clash with organisations like Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) as it is not an accounting authority.
According to Gangurde, the CIMA course can be studied in various ways. Since it is a self-study programme, the study material that is published in India is made available to students. Plus, there is a huge amount of online resource that can help students pursue this programme at their own pace. CIMA's future plans include opening training centres in Mumbai and Delhi for the certificate courses. Right now, CIMA has six exam centres in India.
India has 600 students who are studying the various levels of CIMA. The two-year course, which consists of the three levels, costs Rs 75,000. Remember, you need not always be a CA to work in an accounting environment, you can be from CIMA too.