ACCA vs CIMA: Which Course is Better - ZELL Education

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      ACCA vs CIMA: Which Course is Better

      ACCA and CIMA are both reputed accounting courses that are gaining immense popularity. While the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants course makes you a Global Chartered Accountant, the CIMA course makes you a Global Management Accountant. Even though both these courses are accounting courses that offer an international edge, they are quite different from each other in terms of professional learning and opportunities. ACCA is a purely accounting course that equips you with cutting-edge accounting concepts like Taxation, Financial Reporting, Performance Management, Financial Management, Audit, Assurance, etc. The CIMA course on the other hand is more of a skill-building course due to its mix of accounting and business management. To dive deeper into these courses and understand which of them would be right to build a successful career, here’s a detailed article on ACCA vs CIMA: which course is better.

      Quick facts on ACCA vs CIMA

      Differentiators ACCA  CIMA
      Organizing Body Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)  Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants (CIMA)
      Exam Paper Structure Bifurcated in three levels

      Knowledge Level

      Skill Level 

      Professional Level

      Bifurcated in four levels

      Operational Level

      Management Level

      Strategic Level

      Professional Level

      Course Duration 6 to 24 months 3 to 4 years
      Exam Fees £1,500 – £2,000 £2,500 – £3,000
      Average Passing Percentage  30% to 40% 50% to 60%
      Job Opportunities Accounting Advisory

      Transaction Advisory



      Financial Accountant

      Management Accountant

      Financial Controller

      Financial Manager

      Difficulty Level Moderate Moderate
      Average Salary  INR 6 to 8 lpa INR 5 to 8 lpa

      ACCA vs CIMA: What Are The Skills Obtained?

      As mentioned earlier, the skills obtained by an ACCA are quite different from the skills obtained by the CIMA. An ACCA professional gains a sound technical knowledge of accounting and financial concepts through their learning journey. The CIMA professional on the other hand possesses strategic decision-making and management skills. 

      ACCA vs CIMA: Duration

      The average duration of ACCA course ranges from 6 months to 2 years. However, based on the exemptions you gain and your learning pace, you can complete this course within a year. For ACCA you need to clear 14 examinations, and depending on the accounting courses you’ve completed before ACCA, then you are eligible for exemptions of up to 9 papers. But you also need to complete a mandatory 3-year work experience, after which you will achieve the title of a Global Chartered Accountant.

      For CIMA, a candidate needs to clear a total of 16 papers divided into 4 parts. The approximate time to complete is about 3 to 4 years. However, with a relevant degree, you can avail up to 11 exemptions and complete your CIMA examinations within a span of 2 years.

      ACCA vs CIMA: Eligibility

      Wondering what are the eligibility requirements for enrolling for each of these courses? Here’s all you need to know about ACCA vs CIMA eligibility.

      ACCA Eligibility:

      • To be eligible to register for ACCA qualification, students should have qualified their 10+2 examinations with an aggregate of 65% in Mathematics / Accounts and English, and a minimum of 50% in other subjects. 
      • Students who have just cleared their class 10 examinations, or do not qualify as per the aforementioned criteria, can still register for the ACCA course via Foundation in Accountancy (FIA) route. 

      CIMA Eligibility 

      • To enroll for the CIMA course, you either need a class 10th passing certificate or O-level or an intermediate or A-Level.
      • You can also enroll for the course with an undergraduate or graduate degree in any field. 
      • For an easy entry into the CIMA course, the best route is an MBA degree or a professional accounting qualification.

      ACCA vs CIMA: Salary and Jobs

      While ACCA has a wider global reach as compared to CIMA, the salary one can achieve as an ACCA has more growth. CIMA on the other hand, being a skill-based course, is a niche profession. Here is a glimpse into the average salary of ACCA and CIMA in India.

      Average ACCA Salary


      Average CIMA Salary


      ACCA vs CIMA: Course Fees

      ACCA Fee:

      Registration fee: £79 = INR 7,625

      Subscription fee: £112 = INR 10,734

      ACCA knowledge level fee: £86 = INR 8,243

      ACCA skill level fee: £112 = INR 10,734

      ACCA professional level fee: £136 = INR 13,054

      acca cours

      CIMA Fee:


      Registration (one-off payment) GBP 85
      Re-registration GBP 85
      Registration for the management accountants’ gateway (not including assessment fee) GBP 85
      Registration for the CIMA professional gateway assessment GBP 425
      Registration for the CIMA Masters gateway assessment GBP 425


      Students GBP 123
      Students who have passed Strategic Case Study exam  GBP 280
      New student (first years subscription fee) Free

      ACCA vs CIMA: Exam dates

      ACCA Exams:

      • Knowledge level exams: On-Demand
      • Skill and professional level exams: 4 times a year

      CIMA Exams:

      • On-demand exams: Throughout the year
      • Subjective exams: 4 times a year

      We hope that with this detailed article consisting of the major differences between ACCA and CIMA, you are able to find which course is the most suitable one for you. While ACCA is more globally recognized, CIMA is a niche course for those interested in management accounting. In the end, it all boils down to where your interest lies. If you wish to purely focus on accounting concerts then ACCA is the right course for you, but if you want to get to the strategic side of accounting and business then CIMA should be the course for you. 

      If you do wish to choose ACCA Course then you should also choose a platinum-approved learning partner that will guide you through every step of the way. Zell Education offers cutting-edge training for ACCA through practical learning experiences, relevant case studies, mock tests, and more. To enroll with us, click on the WhatsApp button to get in touch with our experts.


      Is CIMA as good as ACCA?
      As per the reviews by industry experts, ACCA offers a stronger grounding in accounting concepts while CIMA is more of a management and business strategy course. In terms of accounting knowledge, CIMA is not at par with ACCA.

      Is CIMA harder than ACCA?
      While the passing percentage of CIMA is higher than that of ACCA, CIMA has 4 sets of examinations and does not let you move forward until you’ve cleared one entire set. ACCA on the other hand allows you to prepare for multiple exams simultaneously.

      Can I do ACCA after CIMA?
      Yes, you can do ACCA after CIMA. In fact, you would be exempted from 11 papers if you choose to take this learning path.


      Satyamedh Nandedkar, a seasoned finance professional, holds ACCA, CA, US CMA & CS credentials. With 10+ years of experience, he’s a master ACCA tutor, IFRS trainer, adept in global financial standards, and a trusted advisor in navigating complex financial landscapes.

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