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08/12/2007 01:52


Just how useful are the ACA, ACCA and CIMA qualifications for consultants? Why do the big four bother training consultants with qualifications that are more suitable for accountants?

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08/12/2007 18:25

profblaumann to Auditer (#1)


as you might be aware, the big4 are all accounting firms. as such they give the possibility to all their 'technical' staff to do the diploma, including the employees within the (fairly new) advisory/consulting departments. I think it is for two reasons

- equality / incentives: the training days and exams represent investments made for the individuals, and it would not be fair to offer this to everybody.

- flexible workforce: they enable fluid changes within the departments, should business not develop as well in certain areas.

Reg. usefulness i think there were already several threads in here....have a look

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08/12/2007 19:23

Auditer to profblaumann (#2)

Thanks for a very useful response. I half expected some criticism over my spelling or micky taking of some sort.

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09/12/2007 11:48

Village Idiot to Auditer (#3)

CIMA, in particular, offers a good, broad business background. Not only does it help establish your credibility with clients, it's also an excellent addition to your CV. If you can get one of the big 4 to put you through a qualification at their expense, take the opportunity. You'll be grateful you did later.

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03/05/2010 21:59

Tom to Village Idiot (#4)


I was literally going to post a question with this exact same title, untill I saw this thread. Could anybody shed any further light on which one of these is:

Most difficult to complete?

Most respected in consulting circles?

Most relevant to a career in consulting?

i.e. I am going to sign up to one of these in the next week, please help me make the right choice!



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04/05/2010 00:09

anon to Tom (#5)

ACA is by far the most challenging and technical; CIMA is by far the most relevant for Consulting.

Boils down to the emphasis on management accounting rather than financial accounting.

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04/05/2010 13:12

Tom to anon (#6)

Thanks for that,

Is CIMA held in high regard in consulting industry circles or is it considered a "poor man's ACA"? I recently just missed out on a consulting job because the final interviewer (Partner) had doubts about my numerical ability, would CIMA be a good idea to put this issue to rest and allay their concerns? Any other thoughts on how I could improve and show a concerted effort in this area please, Tony, Mars, Mr. Cool?

Cheers Guys!

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#8 ACA/ACCA/CIMA (Help!)
06/05/2010 12:26

Tom to Tom (#7)

Guy's, I'm about to sign up for three years of number crunching! C'mon any thoughts on the above post before I sign up?

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#9 RE: ACA/ACCA/CIMA (Help!)
17/05/2010 13:28

profblaumann to Tom (#8)

funny to see a thread re-appear after 3yrs.

Tom, go for the CIMA. I am finalising the ACCA, and many people told me CIMA is the least "number-heavy". In terms of recognition, there is no significant difference in the 3 mentioned from what I have heard.

Currently, I see some big4 also offer the CFA instead, and if ever you want to work in IB, I strongly recommend you go for the CFA.

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#10 RE: ACA/ACCA/CIMA (Help!)
18/05/2010 10:07

Ned Flanders to profblaumann (#9)

Might be redundant now but firstly to answer Tom's questions:

1. Most difficult to complete is the ACA, it's more in depth than the others, wider in scope yet technical. Quite a few of the graduate intake in the big4 give up a 1/3 of the way through

2. Most respected in consulting. Again it would be ACA but it's much of muchness viewed in isolation to work experience. Recruiters will respect the commitment, dedication and the technical rigour required to complete this, but your work achievements is what will stand you apart.

3. Most relevant for consultants. CIMA for a generalist understanding of finance and management - it's a great all-round qualification and will not compromise your social life as much. If you're deeper into financial services consulting, would like to move into financial roles, IBs, etc then this could be viewed as a bit 'light' but experience will count more on the long run.

In General

1. The ACA, ACCA has long been associated with dry accounting, CIMA to be racier, a bit fuzzy, about strategy and the fun stuff. Both are limited opinions.

2. The ACA, yes you will have to get your head around Debits and Credits, tax and other dull stuff and some exams will make you think why this is happening to you. But the core part is a lot more rounded, will bring in elements of management and strategy, business valuation, etc a lot is focused on report writing and more about advisory. For a long time the qualification has been used as leverage to work in all sorts of fields from banking to industry roles. It is tuff and that’s part of its allure, but at the end you will know what you’re talking about rather than making it up as you go along.

3. ACCA. Similar in its approach to finance to ACA. Has been trumpeted in the past for being recognised abroad yet this is simplistic. Like any other employer previous work experience will count far more – they’ll mainly be interested in the fact that it’s a CA qualification. It’s usually associated with industry (ACA with service firms) and goes slightly into less depth than the ACA. You can easily convert your qualification to cover the ACA once qualified which I think goes to shows that differences are not that big between the two. Yet some snobbery – justified or not - remains from the ACA camp.

4. CIMA. If the ACA has been considered the backbone of British finance for ever, CIMA is the rising star of an alternative approach. It is a lot more diverse that the other 2, it won’t go into as much depth, yet that might be a good thing unless you’re focused on the financial side of finance (if that makes sense?). It’s a great qualification and well recognised in the UK – it won’t take away as much of your time as the other 2 but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park.

Hope that helps,

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