To become an accountant, you must complete training with one of the professional accountancy bodies. Although each professional body includes some company financial management in their training, many management accountants choose to qualify with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
CIMA training involves 2 stages:
- CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting – an entry-level qualification, with 5 exams
- CIMA Professional Qualification – the second stage of training, with 12 exams
Your starting point will depend on your previous qualifications and work experience.
You do not need any set qualifications to begin studying for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, although you'll need a good standard of maths and English. You can study full time, part time or by distance learning.
To move on to the Professional Qualification, you'll need to complete the Certificate or already hold a relevant qualification, recognised by CIMA, which gives exemptions to some of the exams. Relevant qualifications include:
- an accountancy or business-related degree or postgraduate qualification
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Technician level
- a professional qualification from another accountancy body
Some management accountants choose to train with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), taking the business management modules instead of audit and taxation options in the final part of their training.
The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) offers training in financial management. Training is at Technician, Associate and Fellow levels, but not to chartered level.