CIMA vs CAIA – Which Qualification is Helpful? (Infographics)

CIMA vs CAIA – What if we say that you have a number of options of to choose from in the finance industry? Yes this is true you definitely have a number of options. In this article we compare the two well known industry certifications – CIMA and CAIA. CIMA is all about management accounting, whereas, CAIA is a certification in Alternate Investments (Private Equity, Hedge Fund and more).

The article is organized as per below –

  1. CIMA vs CAIA Infographics
  2. What is CIMA?
  3. What is CAIA?
  4. CIMA vs CAIA Educational Requirements
  5. Why pursue CIMA?
  6. Why pursue CAIA?

CIMA vs CAIA Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CIMA vs CAIA Infographics.

CIMA vs CAIA infographics

What is CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounts)?

CIMA is a course that holds international recognition. It offers qualification and training in management accountancy. CIMA is a professional body that based in the UK, yes this is a UK based course. This institute has been known by various names in the past. Starting with the ICWA or The Institute of Cost and Work Accountants when it was formed in the year 1919, it then changed to ICMA that is The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants in the year 1972; followed by its final name that is CIMA which is now Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the year 1986 after it was honored as Royal Charter a globally recognized accounting qualifications by the common wealth countries and countries based in the UK.

This organization sets a specific standard of examinations that need to be qualified by prospect members. By using publications and media related activities this board promotes local education of management accountancy and development operations with the help of new techniques that are developed post research, foundation and practice publications. In the eastern zone countries this CIMA has been actively taken initiatives in vocational and recent education.

CIMA is not just an educational organization it is also a professional accounting body for versatile legal and statutory purposes for the UK government along with a number of global governments.

What is CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst)?

After knowing the global body that is the CIMA let’s look at CAIA. The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst is a course that trains and candidates in alternative investments. Alternative investments are investments are investment other than investing in stocks and bonds. You can also say that investments except for standard equity products and fixed income products all fall in the bracket of alternative investments; this includes investments such as private equity, hedge funds, commodities such as precious metals and stones, antiques etc and also real estate.

Who offers this course? This course offered by non other that the CAIA association and this association was formed by Alternative Investment Management Association with the Center of International Securities and Derivative Markets in 2002. CAIA is not just a nonprofit organization it is also global independent organization. They are motivated and focused in creating professionalism by educating candidates in the field of alternative investments.

To clear this course the candidate has to clear a good two level examination. Not to forget these examinations is one of the most competitive examinations in the field finance, business and commerce. One of the best in its kind examination recognized for its class and standard spreads extreme knowledge, credibility in order to help candidates show their specialization in the field of finance.

CIMA vs CAIA – Exam Requirements

  • CIMA

Off course most professional course have requirements. However when it comes to CIMA this course does not really have specific requirements. Your entry might depend on your last experience. The syllabus designed by CIMA is a step by step guide to help you develop your skills and your knowledge as you complete your qualification.

CIMA also has exemptions just like other professional financial courses. For example if you have cleared exams that exempt you from appearing for some CIMA exams then you save you’re your time and hard work.

You are sure to receive an exemption if you have a degree that is relevant or a professional experience that is relevant. For example if you have an AAT membership you will be exempted for appearing the entire certificate level.

To start with check the starting point of your CIMA examination to get a written confirmation of your examination exemption status.

  • CAIA

This certification has no specific requirements for they do include the base required to a successful professional as CAIA in their syllabus. If you only want to know that you are heading in the right direction and towards the right goal you must have the following qualities.

  1. Basic of finance understanding and implementation
  2. Use or understanding of qualitative analysis
  3. If you feel you are interested in working as an expert in alternative investments under designations such as manager of risk, alternative investment analyst, manager of portfolios, financial advisor, financial consultant, a trader, etc, etc, etc…
  4. Really interested in learning particularly alternative investments.


Why pursue CIMA?

CIMA is a qualification that its gets you ready for business and the corporate world. The course of CIMA has real life accounting skills that is not just theoretical but also practical accounting skills and competency included in its syllabus to make you ready for the corporate and the finance world. It includes vigorous studies and assessment methods.

The syllabus of CIMA is not only strong in its accounting skills it also includes Big Data, reliability, sustainability, focused reporting and transformation of finance functions. Their syllabus also covers study of risk along with costing and cost management. The employer will understand that you have the knowledge of theory and practical if he sees that you have cleared each level.

The assessments of CIMA are mostly computer based and for objective type questions will follow on demand. In fact CIMA is the 1st education body that focuses on a combined assessment to examine their syllabus. This is to assure that technology is used widely in the field of education and the finance industry.

Becoming a member of CIMA you get be part of the globes biggest professional body of the management accountants. You can use this designation globally.

Why pursue CAIA?

CAIA members set a different and a very high standard in the field of alternative investments. This standard cannot be matched by candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Not to forget the members also enjoy benefits associated with the designation of a CAIA. You can choose your domain within the field of alternative investments and work as your choice. You have a number of domain options such as Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Real Estate, Investment Banking, Commodity Exchange, etc.

You can share a number of investment and industry improvement ideas by attending and having access to various related events and conferences across the globe as a member of CAIA. These conferences have a number of benefits however two major benefits are

  1. They give you access to the knowledge and improvements of this industry and
  2. They give you an opportunity of interacting and socializing with people who belong to the same field of finance and may be same domains.

The association ensures that you get on to a good and a high designation that interest you along with ensuring you get all the benefits and perks associated with the designation.

By just completing two levels of examinations you can achieve high standards in alternative investments along with creating and building your global community with international recognition. You also have an option of updating your knowledge and your skills all your life.

Yet this course is not going to be simple for you and neither is it rocket science. Which means you can defiantly break through the examinations.


If accountancy is in your blood and you are also good at cost management and cost setting CIMA is just the right course for you and we would suggest you to take up a course that interest you the most.

Alternative investment is a versatile topic. You would love alternative investments if you would want to compare it with the investments in equities and bonds. CIMA is a more about accounting and cost management whereas CAIA is as you know all about alternative investments. CAIA is for you if you love making money sweat.

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