Difference Between CIMA and FIC

If you are confused between these two sets of qualifications, then this article will surely help you fast track your right decision. These two certifications are quite the opposite in terms of skillsets. On one side CIMA is all about Management accounting; FIC is a certification that covers fixed income securities in detail.


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What is CIMA?

The CIMA course is offered by the UK based body, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, to help management professionals to develop their knowledge and expertise in the area of management accountancy. The course has an excellent syllabus prepared by the industry professionals, which aids in providing the best training and qualification to accountants and ensure they attain mastery over the subjects related to this field.

The course structure ensures the rudimentary basics are cleared, and the topics allow the students to have a good grounding and insight into the different areas of accounting and their relation to the business world. The CIMA body takes utmost care to ensure that the course designed and qualification offered is most relevant to the current times and trends of the industry. This is indeed necessary to ensure that every individual’s core talent is unleashed, helping them to prosper in the right direction by accelerating their career in the business field.

The course is a knowledge refresher and a bridge to the CIMA Professional Qualification. CIMA-trained people work in the commerce industry, management consultancies, banks, and not for profit and public sector organizations.

What is FIC?

The Fixed Income Certificate (FIC) – a certificate program offered by the ICMA (International Capital Market Association), is an intricate qualification that can hone the practical skills of marketing professionals. The institute has been offering this extremely challenging qualification to market professionals for the last forty years. The aim of the institute is to create professionals who can adapt to any market conditions and turn the tables around with their extensive knowledge of practical skills in trading, investment, and risk management.

The FIC program is rigorous and demands a candidate’s focus and hard work. While the syllabus of the program definitely covers a professional’s existing knowledge about the fixed incomeFixed IncomeFixed Income refers to those investments that pay fixed interests and dividends to the investors until maturity. Government and corporate bonds are examples of fixed income more markets, it also expands its scope and horizon beyond the superficial level giving in-depth knowledge with the proper technical skills to allow the candidate to compete in the global marketplace.

The course is difficult with its vast range of topics about fixed income instruments and markets. However, the institute constantly assesses every candidate’s knowledge, examining scenarios to ensure each and every participant of the course is thoroughly prepared with adequate knowledge and practical skills to execute day-to-day business activity with great efficiency in their respective jobs.

CIMA vs. FIC Infographics

Let’s understand the difference between CIMA vs. FIC with infographics.


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CIMA vs. FIC Comparative Table

Organizing BodyThe organizing body for the CIMA exams is the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), UK.The organizing body for the FIC exams is the International Capital Market Association (ICMA), Switzerland.
PatternThe course consists of one level of basic qualification (Certificate in Business Accounting) and three levels of professional qualification (Operational level, Management level, and Strategic level).The course is an intermediate level qualification for professionals working in market or client-facing positions dealing in fixed income securities.
Duration of CourseOn average, the candidates take around 3-4 years to complete the course.The candidates need to take the exams within 6 months from the date of enrolment.
SyllabusThe syllabus of the course focuses on the following topics


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


  • Trading the Yield Curve with Cash Market Securities
  • Interest Rate Derivatives
  • Credit Trading


Exam FeesThe cost of the course includes the exam fees and the cost of study material cost, and the total comes to be in the range of £2,500 to £3,000 based on the time of registration.The cost of the online course for the ICMA members is €2,050 + VAT and for the Non-members is €2,650 + VAT. On the other hand, the cost of the live-streamed course for the ICMA members is €2,950 + VAT and for the Non-members is €3,550 + VAT.
JobsSome of the common profiles include


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


  • Fixed Income Analyst
  • Fixed Income Strategist
  • Fixed Income Trader


DifficultyThe difficulty level of the exams is moderate. The pass rates for the exams conducted in May 2020 were


  • Operational level: 57%  Management level: 67%
  • Strategic level: 69% [Source: CIMA Global]
There is no publicly available information pertaining to the passing rate. However, it is known that candidates need to score 60% marks to clear the exam.
Exam DateThe schedule for the upcoming exams for the year 2021 is as follows


  • Certificate in Business Accounting: On-demand across the year
  • Operational level: Feb 10-12, May 12-14, Aug 11-13 & Nov 10-12
  • Management level: Feb 17-19, May 19-21, Aug 18-20 & Nov 17-19
  • Strategic level: Feb 24-26, May 26-28, Aug 25-27 & Nov 24-26
The exams have to be scheduled within 6 months from the date of signing up for the course. The online course starts on the 1st of each month. The registration is currently open for 1st Feb 2021 and 1st Mar 2021.

Educational Requirements

There are no pre-requisite specified for a candidate to be eligible for the exam. However, the institute expects its enrolling students to have some familiarity with the topics of the syllabus and have a prior reading background on Fundamental Numerical Skills


· Overview of Financial MarketsOverview Of Financial MarketsThe term "financial market" refers to the marketplace where activities such as the creation and trading of various financial assets such as bonds, stocks, commodities, currencies, and derivatives take place. It provides a platform for sellers and buyers to interact and trade at a price determined by market more and Participants

· Fixed Income Securities

The eligibility criterion for the CIMA course is not rigid, allowing everyone to appear for the exam as the course is a rigorous program in itself. The minimum requirement is a high school diploma to be able to sit for the exam.  Exemptions to the exams are provided, but it is strictly decided on the basis of the qualification of each individual.

Why pursue CIMA?

Why pursue FIC?

The FIC certificate is an added advantage for professionals working in the client or market-facing positions in fixed income within a bank or fund managementFund ManagementFund management is the process of a company taking a person's, company's, or another fund management company's financial assets (generally high net worth individuals) and investing them in companies that use those funds as an operational investment, financial investment, or any other investment in order to grow the more company, as it enriches their knowledge about the fixed income markets and range of credit products.
The course allows the candidate to be up to date with the current best market practice as well as regulatory considerations for fixed income and derivative markets.

  • The FIC program gives the students a complete six months’ study time, which primarily helps in studying as well as absorbing the material provided, and is thoroughly prepared for the examination.
  • The FIC course provides training and ensures that all students are on par from the beginning. Therefore it provides access to the FIC online campus in advance to help the students to prepare for classroom-based teaching.
  • The online campus gives out a series of sample exam questions and videos from the course to help candidates to monitor their progress from Day one.
  • The FIC program is a combination of theory classes, combined with ample practical work, which is based on the concepts that have been taught in the training sessions. Thus the combination of theory and practice is an excellent way to test whether a student has understood the material and is able to implement new acquisitions.
  • The FIC program attracts students from various professional backgrounds providing an extremely interesting diaspora and international atmosphere to thrive in and learn.
  • The FIC Program is enlisted in the UK’s Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) qualifications list for ‘Advising on securities and derivatives in the wholesale market place.’ Thus the qualification is widely recognized and is sure to provide an edge to professionals in the job market.
    For those candidates aiming for a CFA in the future, the FIC program can help in qualifying them for 30 credit hours under the guidelines of the CFA Institute’s Continuing Education Programme.


Don’t go by what others advise you. Take your decisions based on your likes, your preferences, and your career path, and you will see you will never have to regret a decision taken by you.

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

Reader Interactions


  1. Shaul Tedder says

    Very informative and good differentiation between both these certifications. Would you please tell me how to give CIMA qualification exam? And how to deal with CIMA Qualification.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Many Thanks. I have a beginners guide on CIMA exam which will help you to take the CIMA exams in the best way possible

  2. Dorrell Morphy says

    Thanks for sharing this blog. You really made it easy to understand the difference between this both certifications. Thanks again.

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