Difference Between CIMA and CIPM

Choosing between CIMA and CIPM should not be very difficult. CIMA is all about learning best practices in Management Accountancy. However, CIPM certification provides in-depth knowledge of portfolio performance measurement. In this article, we explore the parameters on the basis of which you may choose either of the two.


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What is CIMA?

This designation is awarded by the UK-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a global body dedicated to promoting industry best practices in management accountancy.

CIMA certification is a 4-tier program that helps acquire in-depth knowledge of management accountancy and focuses on business management skills like few other accountancy credentials.

This widens the scope of knowledge and skills acquired through this accreditation and makes it possible for professionals to opt for management-oriented roles as well.

What is CIPM?

Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) is offered by CFA Institute to help professionals acquire an in-depth understanding of investment performance evaluation related concepts and functionalities.

The credential also introduces participants to global ethics and professional standards in the field to be able to meet Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) requirements.

After earning this credential, a number of global work opportunities can be explored in varied finance domains.

CIMA vs. CIPM Infographics

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CIMA vs. CIPM Summary

Organizing BodyThe exams are managed by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), UK. The exams are managed by the CFA Institute, USA.
PatternOver and above the basic level of Certificate in Business Accounting, there is the professional qualification, which is divided into 3 levels – Operational level, Management level, and Strategic level. The course is divided into 2 levels, Level I and Level II, which were previously known as Principles level and Expert level respectively. Further, the CFA charterholders are exempted from the Level I exam.
Duration of CourseBoth basic and professional qualifications combined, the students take around 3-4 years. Most candidates take around 1.5 years to complete the course.
SyllabusThe course focuses on the following topics


  • Management Accounting
  • Finance Management
  • Strategic Marketing Management
  • Information Management
  • Business Accounting
 The course focuses on the following topics


  • Ethics and Professionalism
  • Manager Selection
  • Performance Attribution
  • Performance Measurement
  • Performance Presentation
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Global Investment Performance Standards
Exam FeesThe total cost of the CIMA course varies between £2,500 and £3,000, and it includes the exam fees as well as the cost of study materials. The total cost of the CIPM course varies between $950 to $1,350, and it is only the exam fees that fluctuates based on the time of registration.
JobsSome of the common profiles include


  • Project Manager
  • Finance Controller
  • Business Analyst
  • Management Accountant
  • Forensic Analyst
 Some of the common profiles include


  • Risk Analyst
  • Investment Analyst
  • Financial Adviser
  • Compliance Officer  Investment Consultant
  • Portfolio Manager
DifficultyThe exams are moderately difficult. The pass rates for the Operational level, Management level, and Strategic level exams conducted in May 2020 were 57%, 67%, and 69% respectively. [Source: CIMA Global] The exams are very difficult as only ~25% of the candidates who start the course are able to clear both levels. The pass rates for the Level I and Level II exams conducted in September 2019 were 48% and 51% respectively. [Source: CFA Institute]
Exam DateThe schedule for the upcoming exams for the year 2021 is as follows


  • May 14-28
  • August 11-27
  • November 10-26
 The schedule for the upcoming exams for the year 2021 for both levels is as follows


  • March 16-31
  • September 16-30

Entry Requirements

There are no special entry requirements for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting. It is a foundations level certification that doesn’t require good knowledge of accounting as a prerequisite. However, one should be good in English and have a keen interest in mathematics to be able to earn this certification.


CIMA professional-level qualifications are divided into operational, management, and strategic level studies. To pursue CIMA Operational Level studies, professionals need a basic level of proficiency in accounting or business studies. This requirement can be met if the candidate holds any one of these qualifications:

  • CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting
  • Masters in Accounting or MBA
  • Membership of ICWAI, ICMAP or ICMAB
  • Membership of an IFAC body

Any relevant qualification to get an exemption from the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

To pursue Management Level studies, one should have successfully completed CIMACIMAThe full form of CIMA is phrased as "Chartered Institute of Management Accountants". The CIMA is the UK's professional body, functional in more than 170 countries worldwide, providing management degree courses to eligible more Operational Level studies as well as Operational Case Study.

To pursue Strategic Level studies, one should have completed both operational and management level studies successfully along with their respective case studies.


There are no prerequisites for the CIPM exam except for abiding by the CIPM Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Participants are required to sign a Candidate Professional Conduct Statement as part of the exam registration to ensure that they meet the ethics requirements and uphold the integrity of the certification program to the best of their abilities.

Why Pursue CIMA?

This certification program offers a greater breadth of exposure to concepts of management accountancy and prepares students and professionals for diverse roles and responsibilities in the field.

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting is an entry-level credential which introduces students to the basics of management accounting and related areas.

The next three levels of CIMA are meant for beginner, middle, and expert level professionals to help enhance their skills and capabilities along with adding greater credibility to their profile in the eyes of prospective employers. A growing number of leading employers trust accredited professionals more as compared to their non-accredited counterparts.

Why Pursue CIPM?

This credential is intended to impart knowledge of investment performance measurement concepts and to prepare professionals to present relevant data in easy-to-understand terms to investors.

It covers some complex knowledge areas, including performance attribution and appraisal as well, along with helping participants develop an understanding of industry-approved ethics and professional standards.

This would be necessary for professionals to efficiently meet GIPS requirements while operating in the industry.

It naturally builds greater trust in the eyes of prospective employers as well and opens up global opportunities in the field.


As a globally acknowledged accreditation, CIMA offers the opportunity to develop management skills from an accounting perspective, which sets it apart from other certifications. Those who are willing to explore the broader field of management accountancy and prepare for roles requiring advanced accounting capabilities with an incisive business insight can look to complete the highest tier of CIMA.

On the other hand, CIPM is meant for finance professionals looking to explore the complex area of investment performance evaluation and presenting it in a way that accurately and conveniently conveys this information to investors.

This is a highly specialized area that can be suitable for professionals willing to work in a role related to GIPS verification practices, conducting performance evaluation for institutional investorsInstitutional InvestorsInstitutional investors are entities that pool money from a variety of investors and individuals to create a large sum that is then handed to investment managers who invest it in a variety of assets, shares, and securities. Banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds are all more and firms.

This has been a guide to CIMA vs. CIPM. Here we discuss differences between CIMA and CIPM along with infographics and a comparative table. You may also have a look at the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Colby Coron says

    Thanks for sharing. I think you must be having great knowledge related to both these fields. This was really very useful. Great work. So I also wanted to ask one question. Is work experience required for students to earn membership of CIMA?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words. Students must provide at least 3 years relevant professional work experience after completion of 3 levels to earn membership of CIMA

  2. Clayton Tullio says

    Good to see such informative article. Thanks for giving brief explanation about both these certifications. Could you please share me the CIPM Exam details if you have them?

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