The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has
launched a new qualification as part of a four-yearly update of its
course material and structure.

More than 6,000 people were consulted over 18 months in
preparation for the update, including about 4,500 employees,
members, students, tuition providers and universities.

The main changes involve content refreshment, some shifts in
emphasis and changes in the way content is assessed.

One change is the UK-based institute’s managerial level studies
has been split into two parts – operational and managerial – which
allows for a new standalone qualification, the CIMA Diploma in
Management Accounting, to be awarded after successful completion of
the operational level papers. CIMA education director Robert Jelly
said the main driver was to reward students as they work through
three or more years of study.

Many employers outside of the UK, particularly in the shared
services and business process outsourcing industries, also said
they would like the standalone qualification, Jelly said.
Introducing lower-level awards can also make the qualification
accessible to more students.

There has been a recent trend of institutes moving to more
standalone qualifications, with the Institute of Chartered
Accountants in England and Wales and two Indian institutes recently
announcing technician-level qualifications. Jelly said CIMA has
noted a major shift in the nature of the finance function globally
and is responding to it.

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Another change was CIMA’s three pillars of study renamed from
business management, management accounting and financial management
to enterprise, performance and finance. In the enterprise pillar
CIMA has doubled the amount of change management from 10 to 20

“There has been an increase in focus on the impact of
globalisation on the finance function and finance professionals – a
big new chunk in terms of things like how you manage and make
decisions around outsourcing, shared services and business process
outsourcing,” Jelly said.

Carolyn Canham