Emergence of the Finance Function as a Strategic Business Partner in Global Environments
The finance profession is increasingly becoming a more and more attractive option to graduates. The benefits are clear. In an increasingly global financial market, accountancy function has evolved as a multidimensional and cross functional pillar to help organizations thrive in various fierce and emerging market spaces. The result is the transformation of the industry of accountants to an industry of highly specialized financial experts. Moreover, progression opportunities within accountancy have never been better with an increasing number of CEOs coming from an accountancy or a financial management background.
Careers cut across many different industries and across many different locations especially in the now globalized environment hence paving a path for global career opportunities. As a graduate an important step in this direction is to complete a globally accepted and relevant qualification in finance.
Choice of globally relevant financial qualifications – Every student’s dilemma
Graduates looking to embark on a career in finance, often are challenged with the diversity in study options. In this article (a part of the series “Global Finance Careers”), we take a comparative review of the recently popularized qualifications CIMA and ACCA. As a potential student, you must decide the kind of work experience and training you wish to receive as well as the environment in which you wish to work before deciding which qualification would be most suitable.
CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Studying for CIMA will involve passing 17 examinations, although exemptions are available to some of these through various entry routes. Business skills are at the heart of the CIMA qualification, covering business and management accounting subjects, information management, strategy, strategic marketing & management and finance management. The CIMA qualification combines exams at four stages with three years of practical experience. The qualification typically can be completed in 2 - 2.5 years.
The CIMA qualification will further lead to a global qualification Charted Global Management Accountant – CGMA by AICPA. As a Chartered Management Accountant, future roles can be found across managerial positions in both public and private sector organizations worldwide as the qualification is accepted in over 170 countries. CIMA qualified applicants will typically choose careers within the industry in forward thinking and strategy based roles.
ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
The ACCA qualification also requires 14 examinations to be taken, although a degree in accounting and finance can exempt you from the majority of these. Technical Accounting knowledge is the primary focus of ACCA syllabus. Subjects covered are financial accounting & management, cost accounting & performance management. It also gives you an option to specialize in financial reporting, taxation or auditing. ACCA, like the CIMA, also requires three years of practical experience and can be typically completed in 3 – 4 years.
The ACCA qualification will lead to a career as a Chartered Certified Accountant in the corporate sector, public sector or in public accounting/ audit/ consulting practices. ACCA combines the benefits of traditional accounting skills with a wide ranging and forward looking syllabus, which recognizes that financial professionals are increasingly required to demonstrate strategic thinking.
|Professional Body||Association of Chartered Certified Accountants||Chartered Institute of Management Accounting|
|Exams||14 Papers||17 Papers|
|Exemptions||Maximum of 9 papers||Maximum of 12 papers|
|Syllabus||Financial Accounting, Performance, Taxation, Reporting & Auditing||Enterprise, Performance and Financial Concepts|
|Recognition||Globally accepted but more common in the UK and European countries||Global (CGMA)|
|Average Salaries*||3 – 5 lacs/annum||5 – 8 lacs|
|Cost of qualification||1.5 – 2 lacs||1 to 2 lacs|
|Syllabus Focus||Financial Accounting, Taxation, Reporting and Auditing||Management Accounting, Cost Management and Enterprise Strategy|
|Knowledge & Skills||Technical skills in Financial Accounting||Strategy and Business Management|
|Work environment||External stakeholders and Investors||Internal stakeholders, Management|
|Career path||Financial specialists (Tax & Audit) and general practice||Managerial and strategic roles in Business & Finance|