02 May 2013

CIMA - The Choice

Backed by a reputation forged through 90 years, respected by contemporaries and renowned for its comprehensive syllabus encompassing both management and accountancy disciplines, CIMA stands out as a brilliant choice for leaders and professionals to get ahead and become a leader in their career.

By Azhar Jalil

“I think it’s important to have varied experiences, so that you come across as an interesting and well-rounded person during interviews,” Xie Jiayin says.

As a finance professional with Barclays Capital, the 23-year-old believes in higher and broader learning level to upgrade and improve both her practical skills and knowledge.

Hence, in a workforce environment where experience counts, it’s not difficult to see why she chooses to take up the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification as part of her company’s graduate programme.

Accounting for more

While many accounting qualifications focus specifically on external audit and tax management training, CIMA prepares its students for a career in business by teaching skills in managing strategies, project and risk management, analytics that would assist in making important and key decisions.

The CIMA syllabus extends far beyond accounting encompassing business-related fields. It is designed to deliver a strong understanding of all aspects of business so that successful graduates can be experts not only in finance but also across many aspects of an organisation.

A key aspect that differentiates CIMA from its competitors is its focus on the actual business needs in relations to management and accounting – the practical science that can be applied to value creation of an organisation. By combining the knowledge in accounting, finance and management, graduates become better equipped with the skillsets and tools that could drive successful businesses.

“I believe that the CIMA courses will be useful to me as a finance professional, due to the broad coverage of the various knowledge areas relevant to management accounting such as project management, people management, budgeting, financial concepts, and capital structuring,” explains Jieyin.

Global Membership

“Before taking up this programme I wasn’t familiar with CIMA. Probably because it’s not as well-known here as it is in UK and as compared to other professional qualifications,” admits Jieyin.

Nonetheless, it’s impossible to ignore the institute’s 90-year history bolstered by numerous accolades that attest to and validate its pride as the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants.

Significantly, in 2009 CIMA has been chosen by the World Bank to train its finance and accounting employees in CIMA professional qualification. CIMA has also been consistently voted by contemporary businesses as a Superbrand in the UK alongside brand names such as Google and Visa.

In addition, a comparative research study by the University of Bath’s renowned School of Management found the CIMA syllabus contain more components in management accounting, and higher levels of both business and financial strategy, as compared to eight other reputable professional qualifications around the world.

With CIMA being highly regarded as a world renowned accounting accreditation body by its 172,000 members in 165 countries, the institute aims to be the first choice of employers for acquiring value-added business skills for their employed professionals.

Staying on track

As a working professional, managing time efficiently is important and for Jieyin maximising its value even more so. Work and personal commitments mean that committing to full-time studies isn’t an option for her. Thus, it becomes crucial to Jieyin that effective and efficient teaching and learning methods are in place for her learning purposes.

Being an alumnus of Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Junior College, and also a graduate of the Nanyang Business School, Jieyin has the experience to suggest trying various study methods to discover the most suitable one. “Although everyone says last minute cramming is bad, there are those who need to feel stress and a sense of urgency to be motivated – that’s the case for me!” she reveals.

“One tip that’s always given but seldom followed is that you should always ask questions in class when you’re in doubt. It’s much faster than trying to figure it out, plus you may end up getting it all wrong,” says Jieyin.

Insight of success

Although she is just a month into her course, Jieyin fully expects her learning experience at CIMA to be an enriching one.

“After completion of my course, I’d be focusing on applying the knowledge and competencies honed through CIMA learning process including acquiring the experience gained through practical application in the workplace,” comments Jieyin on her plans.

And while not everyone is a born leader, Jieyin believes that experience counts more towards developing one with leadership skills. “Being born with leadership characteristics gives you a head start. But insight is cultivated by the things you see, the mistakes you make, and the victories you achieve – in a nutshell, experience,” she remarks.

With a CIMA qualification and riding on acquiring experience, Jieyin is sure to be more than a step closer to being a workplace leader and in turn developing a successful career.

Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd