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What can I do after CIMA?

A young woman sitting with her laptop

Near the end of your CIMA course? Finished and wondering what to do next? Don’t worry, we can help you navigate your next steps.

CIMA is a globally recognised qualification, meaning that you can work in many areas of the world, and in any sector you choose. And the more experience you gain, the more doors open.

Here are some options to think about when you finish the course...

Work experience

As well as obtaining the CIMA qualification, you need at least three years of relevant accounting work experience to join CIMA and become a chartered management accountant. Most people manage to gain the relevant work experience at their current job whilst studying, so this shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.

For further details on this, please visit the CIMA website.

Choose a sector or industry

Once you’re a chartered global management accountant you can work in a huge number of sectors and industries. As mentioned before, CIMA is recognised around the world, so there’s really no limit to what you can do.

So you could choose one of the following, but this is no way a final list of opportunities.

Retail: You could be the driving force behind retail organisations generating impressive earnings. By giving senior figures and stakeholders a clear idea of the business’s financial activities and their implications, you can help to reduce losses and increase profits, adding value to the organisation.

Banking: You could be involved in cost management, risk management, and other forms of financial management that help well-known banking organisations thrive. Financial institutions are constantly in need of innovative ways to gain a competitive advantage, something that you could excel in with a CIMA qualification.

Public sector: Like commercial businesses, public sector organisations have to meet budgets and generate funds. You could be pivotal in reducing government spending and saving taxpayers’ money. CGMA’s work in the NHS, Universities, schools and other public sector organisations.

Choose a role

Within different sectors and industries there are so many different roles to choose from when you have a CIMA qualification. So here’s a quick run down.

Management accountant: seems like the obvious choice as you’ve just qualified as a management accountant. This role is at the heart of the finance function, focusing on producing management accounts, closing down month end/year end and other duties such as managing the fixed asset register, preparing prepayment and accruals.

Approximate UK salary: £34,000* per year depending on experience

Financial analyst: in this role you’d need to be more commercial and you would focus on how the business makes money – getting into the heart of the business. You will play an integral part in the budgeting/forecasting process, provide ongoing support to departments in the business, and provide commentary on variances and other analysis to support the decision making processes.

Approximate UK salary: £40,000* per year depending on experience

Financial controller: you would perform reporting duties like preparing financial statements, drawing up balance sheets, giving cash flow reports, creating budgets. You would also have to carry out financial analysis and offer your professional opinions and advice around the organisation.

Approximate UK salary: £67,000* per year depending on experience

Finance director: this is a very senior position in any company, the highest finance role you could get. You would have to provide strategic and financial guidance to ensure that the company's financial commitments and strategy are met. You would also be in charge of developing all necessary policies and procedures to ensure the sound financial management and control of the company’s business.

Approximate UK salary: £100,000* per year depending on experience

Continue your studies

Not only could you choose a new role, you could continue studying to make sure you have all the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in whatever area you decide on.

Many professionals choose of the following in addition to CIMA:

Masters of Business Administration (MBA): Whilst studying for an MBA, you will learn about business management, administration, finance, HR and operations management. CIMA helps to gain core subject skills and an MBA helps to gain leadership skills.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): If you’re interested in specialising in financial analysis, CFA is a great addition to CIMA. You’ll learn more about analytics and give you a thorough understanding of financial markets, and high levels of professionalism and ethics.

Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA): Ideal if you’re wanting to specialise in tax. With CTA you’ll develop an overall understanding of tax whilst being able to specialise in a particular tax area.

Or you could choose from many different banking and finance qualifications:

Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI)

Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Investment Operations Certificate (IOC)

Investment Management Certificate (IMC)

Any further qualification after CIMA will only add to your skill set and give you more opportunities in your career.

Considering further study?

If you’re thinking about another qualification to add to CIMA, have a look at our accountancy courses, and our banking and finance courses. You can find lots more information about the qualifications and see what they could add to your already impressive CV.

*glassdoor.co.uk (2021)