The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a United Kingdom-based professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and related subjects, focused on accounting for business; together with ongoing support for members.
CIMA is one of a number of professional associations for accountants in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Its particular emphasis is on developing themanagement accounting profession within the UK and worldwide. CIMA is the largest management accounting body in the world, with more than 172,000 members and students in over 165 countries.
CIMA is a member of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies and the International Federation of Accountants.
CIMA was founded in 1919 as "The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants" (ICWA). It specialised in the development of accounting techniques for use in the internal control of manufacturing, service and public sector operations. It developed a position as the leading professional body in the areas of product costing, budgeting, management accounting, investment appraisal and business decision making.
The institute changed its name from ICWA to the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants (ICMA) in 1972 and subsequently to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 1986, after the granting of a Royal Charter. A global Accounting qualification based in the UK, which is particularly active in Commonwealth countries. Its membership has grown from 15,000 in 1970 to 79,757 members and 92,909 students in 2009. It has played a role in founding fraternal professional bodies such as the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan,The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of BangladeshInstitute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and the Institute of Management Accountants (USA).
CIMA operates a Masters degree standard scheme of fifteen qualifying examinations for prospective members. It is active in promoting local education, training and management development operations, the promotion of new techniques through its research foundation and the dissemination of management accounting practices through publications and other media related activities. CIMA has been active in recent educational and vocational initiatives in former Eastern bloc countries. It publishes a monthly journal, supplied free to members and registered students, called 'Financial Management' ('Management Accounting' prior to 1998). CIMA also publishes a quarterly journal called 'Management Accounting Research', mainly for an academic readership.
CIMA is recognised as a professional accounting body for various statutory purposes by UK and various overseas governments. The institute regulates the activities of its members by a code of practice, a discipline committee and (a recent innovation) a continuing education scheme.
CIMA's governing body is its council, comprising members elected from regional branches. Each of the branches has a committee and is responsible for much of the 'grass roots' activity. Activity such as qualification development is undertaken from the London head office. The London office is also the location for the annual UK Final of the Global Management Challenge, a strategic management competition for university students, which CIMA sponsors.
In July 2009 CIMA added an online community - CIMAsphere - to its website. The community consists of a range of blogs, discussion boards, groups, community answers, expert Q&A sessions and some social networking features for members, students and also the general audience.
CIMA has two grades of full membership:
- Associate - designated by the letters ACMA
- Fellow - designated by the letters FCMA
To be admitted as an associate a candidate must have:
- completed a period of qualifying practice of at least three years, documented and signed by appropriate witnesses
- passed the institute's 15 qualifying examinations
- been proposed and seconded for membership by two individuals who have direct experience of the candidate's work experience but who do not need to be members of CIMA or even accountants.
To become a Fellow a candidate ACMA must, in addition, have appropriate experience at a senior level.
In the past, CIMA has offered forms of association which do not amount to full membership, for example an "Affiliate" membership class was promoted in the 1970s.
CIMA members have access to a number of strategic alliances, including:
- An accelerated route to Associateship of the Association of Corporate Treasurers
- A mutual recognition agreement with the Society of Management Accountants of Canada
- A mutual recognition agreement with CPA Australia
- A strategic alliance with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
- On 26 September 2006, CIMA announced a joint qualification program with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
- MOU with Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India
- Strategic Alliance with the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP)
In recent years, CIMA has been party to merger talks with other professional accounting bodies including the ICAEW in 1995 and again in 2005.