CIMA was formed in March 1919, as the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants, by a group of legal professionals and businessmen who wanted to develop an approach to accounting that would meet the demands of a rapidly changing business world. Industrialisation had led to large scale, complex businesses providing unprecedented challenges in management. Employers needed a new form of in-house accountant to provide, in addition to accounts, better analysis of cost and of operations to inform performance management. The new institute soon gained the backing of leading industrialists including, Lord Leverhulme who became its president.

Advances in technology and globalisation made business ever more complex over the 20th century and the role of the accountant in business became more significant. It expanded to include provision of a wider range of information and the emphasis shifted from accounting to management.

The status of management accounting as a distinct branch of the accounting profession was recognised by the granting of a Royal charter in 1975.

Why choose Study CIMA

What does a management accountant do?

Officially, management accountants help businesses worldwide manage their finances. But, in reality, there’s so much more to it. They are business leaders, innovators, decision-makers and forecasters. They don’t work in just one industry or role. You’ll find management accountants in all kinds of companies, public and private, big and small.

Day to day, they interpret financial data, prepare reports and use business knowledge to help management make decisions. They’re always looking to the future and figuring out ways to improve things for the company.
In short — they’re pretty important.

Management accountants have a multifaceted role to play, whichever sector or company they work for.

  • They are business leaders

    As a management accountant, you’ll understand how your organisation works. You’ll know its business model, strategic context and competitive position inside out. That, combined with your first-class leadership skills, means you play a vital role in any business.

  • They are innovation advisors

    For a business to thrive, it needs to adapt to keep pace as the world changes constantly. As a management accountant, you’ll grab every opportunity for innovation and help drive future success.

  • They are decision-makers

    By combining financial and non-financial data, you’ll paint a complete picture of the business. You’ll use that in-depth analysis to make decisions and pursue business success at the highest level.

  • They are forecasters

    Management accountants focus on the future. You’ll gather information and analyse statistics to spot trends and help make strategic decisions – from improving internal efficiencies to tackling market expansion.


CIMA Programme

Get a world-renowned finance qualification and become a Chartered Global Management Accountant – no degree necessary. Here’s how to study with CIMA straight from school or college.

How does studying with CIMA as a school leaver work?

You can start your journey to becoming a management accountant as soon as you leave school with either the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA) or a CIMA Apprenticeship (if you live in England) no matter your exam results.

The Cert BA is a formal qualification in its own right. You’ll learn vital business and accounting skills and it’s open to anyone, as well as a formal entry route into the CIMA Professional Qualification. And once you’ve completed that, you’ll be able to call yourself a Chartered Global Management Accountant. All without masses of student debt.

Starting as an undergraduate or graduate

Whether you are still at university or launching your business career, the CIMA Professional Qualification can give your degree the edge.

How does studying with CIMA as an undergraduate work?

You can begin your journey to CGMA status and get a head start on your career, all while you’re still at university. Look for a CIMA incorporated degree programme to start studying the CIMA qualification as part of your degree. A fantastic opportunity to give your career a leg-up, you’ll graduate with dual honours. Alternatively, you could do a course that’s part of the CIMA registered student programme. You’ll be signed up as a CIMA student as part of your degree and get help finding a job where you’ll be supported towards CIMA membership.

How does studying with CIMA as a graduate work?

Already graduated? You can study with CIMA whatever your degree is in. But if you’ve already completed a relevant degree, like accounting or business, you could be entitled to exemptions from some CIMA exams – allowing you to qualify sooner than you think.

Starting as a postgraduate

Hold an MBA or Master’s in Accounting? You could fast-track your way to CGMA status with the Master’s Gateway.

How does studying with CIMA as a postgraduate work?

If you have a relevant Master’s degree in Accounting, Finance or an MBA (Accounting Major), you may be eligible for accelerated entry routes, allowing you to start higher up within the CIMA Professional Qualification at the Management Level.

‘If you hold an MBA (Accounting Major) or Master's in Accounting you could be eligible for the CIMA Master’s Gateway bundle. Entry to the Master’s Gateway is £425. This covers your CIMA registration fee, first year’s subscription and one attempt at the exam (valid for two years), the Digital Mindset Pack and exclusive access to a highly discounted CIMAStudy Masters Gateway learning bundle.

Once you pass the Gateway (Management) Case Study exam, you can move on to the Strategic level – the last level of the CIMA Professional Qualification on the path to earning the CGMA designation.

How does studying with CIMA as a member of an IFAC Body work?

If you’re a member or passed finalist of an examining professional body that is part of the International Federation of Professional Accountants (IFAC), you will be eligible for exemptions allowing you to progress faster through the CIMA Professional Qualification.

You may also be eligible for the Professional Gateway depending on your professional qualification.

To see whether you’re eligible for this fast-track route, use our exemptions calculator to check if your existing qualification lets you bypass exams at the Operational and Management levels of the Professional Qualification.

Entry to the Professional Gateway is £425. This covers your CIMA registration fee, first year’s subscription and one attempt at the exam (valid for two years).

Once you pass the Gateway (Management) Case Study exam, you can move on to the Strategic level – the last level of the CIMA Professional Qualification on the path to earning the CGMA designation