CIMA Vs CFA: Which Course Should You Choose And Why | Zell

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      CIMA Vs CFA: Which Course Should You Choose And Why

      While looking for finance and accounting courses you must have often come across two most popular courses that may have caught your eye – CIMA for accounting and CFA for finance. When you read up about these courses, you must have felt that they have some similarities. For example they both are globally accepted and can be pursued along with graduation. They both have a 3 year duration and offer exciting opportunities. However, both of these courses are actually quite different from each other. While one focuses more on the accounting management side the other is an intensive finance course that trains a candidate on financial markets and investments.

      While the future prospects of CIMA and CFA are incredibly bright, if you have to make the right choice, you need to consider the difficulty, duration, future scope and eligibility of each course. 

      Quick Facts on CFA vs CIMA

      Differentiators CFA CIMA
      Organizing Body CFA Institute Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants (CIMA)
      Exam Paper Structure Bifurcated in three levels

      Level 1

      Level 2

      Level 3

      Bifurcated in four levels

      Operational Level

      Management Level

      Strategic Level

      Professional Level

      Course Duration 2 to 3 years 3 to 4 years
      Exam Fees One-time enrollment fee of USD 350. USD 250 rescheduling fee. £2,500 – £3,000
      Average Passing Percentage  CFA Level 1 22% – 49% 50% to 60%
      Job Opportunities Hedge Fund Manager

      Investment Banker

      Portfolio Manager

      Corporate Analyst

      Financial Analyst

      Financial Accountant

      Management Accountant

      Financial Controller

      Financial Manager

      Top Employers  Global Banks, Big 4s  A H Worth & Co Ltd, Abbott Ireland, AbbVie Ltd., Absa Bank,


      Average Salary  INR 5 to 20 lpa INR 5 to 8 lpa

      CFA vs CIMA: What Are The Skills Obtained?

      The CFA course is a global professional course offered by the CFA institute. This course teaches everything you need to know about the financial markets. Right from financial planning to budgeting, from investment to risk management, completion of the CFA course equips students with modern and complex financial processes. There are multiple wealth management skills that one can gain after completing their CFA course. If you are in the final year of graduation, you can appear for the CFA level 1 examination. However, in certain cases, you may be eligible for CFA without graduation provided you have a minimum of 4 years of relevant work experience.

      The CIMA course on the other hand is more of a skill-building course due to its mix of accounting and business management. CIMA is a management accounting course that prepares you for an exciting career in finance sectors like wealth management, banks, audit firms, investment banks, IT sectors, and even e-commerce. After completing the Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants course, a candidate can explore jobs in professions like Wealth Management, Treasury Management, Corporate Finance, Business Analysis, Financial Reporting, Financial Analysis, Project Finance, and Risk Management. As a CIMA professional you need to possesses strategic decision-making and management skills


      CFA vs CIMA Career Benefits and Compensation

      CIMA and CFA both are professional learning courses that require dedication. While The CIMA course can be pursued right after your 10th or after completing your o levels, the CFA course generally requires at least and undergraduate. However, if you are a CIMA professional who wishes to pursue CFA, you are not only going to get the best finance and accounting knowledge, but also a high salary package for advanced skill sets.

      However, keeping the aspect of dual certification aside, let’s take a look at the individual benefits of each of the courses.

      CIMA Chartered Financial Analyst
      Learn and apply transformative technology A career in the exciting field of investments
      Gives you analytical and problem-solving ability Gives you cutting edge research skills
      High compensation with recognition High compensation with incentives
      Prestigious career choice Demanding career choice
      Managing human capital Global career options

      We hope that with this detailed differentiation between CIMA and CFA, you’ve got detailed information on both the courses – CIMA and CFA. When it comes to deciding which course you really want to pursue, the answer lies in your interest level. If you are more interested in the management side of accounting then CIMA is the course for you. However, if you’re more interested in investments, portfolio management, and risk aversion then CFA is the course for you.


      Which is better, CIMA or CFA?
      In terms of compensation and global opportunities, the CFA course is more acclaimed than CIMA

      Is CIMA the same as CFA?
      No, CIMA focuses more on the accounting management side and CFA is an intensive finance course that trains a candidate on financial markets and investments.

      What is better than the CFA?
      CFA pursued along with CIMA or CA gives you best of skills in finance and in accounting.

      Can CIMA become an investment banker?
      Yes, CIMA does train you in Investment Management, However CFA would be a better degree to pursue for Investment Banking.


      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

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