People who aspire to practice accounting and finance, need to acquire a professional qualification with ICAG, CIMA and the likes, to be able to realize that dream. The qualification will not only certify your technical competence and understanding of the subject, but it will also give you an advantage in the job market.
There are a lot professional qualifications out there, and sometimes deciding which one to pursue can be confusing.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) are among the most popular professional qualification in the practice accounting and finance.
In a previous post, I compared ICAG and ACCA to help you make a better choice. This time, let’s look at ICAG vs CIMA.
What are the difference between ICAG and CIMA?
1. Cost of papers
ICAG consists of fourteen (14) papers and fees range from GH¢200 – GH¢400 per paper. The institute charges a onetime registration fee of Gh¢200.
With CIMA, you’ll have to pay about £79 – £252 (GH¢900 – Gh¢2883) per paper, at the time of writing. A new applicant will pay a one-off registration fee of £85.
2. Course Difficulty
ICA and CIMA are not an easy path to be a chartered accountant. But the difficulty level of the papers is subjective. The investment of time in preparation, and the quantity of work can be overwhelming.
Your success at ICAG or CIMA papers will largely depend on practice and the time you commit to studies.
3. International Recognition
Although ICAG is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) which has global recognition, CIMA has members all over the world; hence, it is easily recognized outside Ghana.
In addition, CIMA has a partnership with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to run the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) certification, open to only CIMA and AICPA members. This boosts its international recognition.
4. Career in Management Accounting and Finance
CIMA is management focused. So, if you want to pursue a career that is more about producing financial information for internal use by staff and management than for external parties (like regulatory bodies, competitors etc.), then CIMA is the better choice to ICAG.
5. Course Flexibility
CIMA consists of 12 computer-based papers. 9 of the 12 papers are Objective Tests, and are available on demand. The remaining 3 are case studies offered in four sitting windows in a year.
On other hand, ICAG offers 14 papers, structured in 3 levels and can be written three times in a year. But none of the courses can be taken on demand except for the examination dates released by the institution.
6. Recognition in Ghana
ICAG regulates the accounting profession in Ghana, and you cannot use Chartered Accountant or CA designation unless you have become a full member of the Institute.
If you have CIMA certification in Ghana and wants to use the CA status, you still have to apply to become a member of ICAG first, and fulfill all the requirements therein to be admitted into membership.