Paloma42
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Hi All,

I've been reading these forums for years and I've come across loads of useful posts and thought I would start one of these threads in the hope that I might be able to share some of the things I've learned over my life / career.

Some background info - I graduated from one of the London Russel Group universities in 2013 with a 3rd (Yes I know a 3rd...) class degree in Mathematics with Finance & Accounting.

Since I wasn't able to get into any grad schemes I started out as a Finance trainee at a start up / SME firm where I worked for two years and started my CIMA qualification. After 2 years of working there (Around the time I became part qualified) I moved to a Global Investor Services firm where I am still working and completed my CIMA qualification. I currently have 1 year PQE (Post Qualified Experience) and work in a Finance Manager role.

Happy to answer any questions.
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ajj2000
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Do you have an estimate for how many hours a week you averaged studying for the exams, and a note for people looking to this route as to how you scheduled study time?
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ReadDed
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1) With all these easy routes into the profession and increased automation,Are you worried about job security?
2)What is your salary?
3)How long did you have to spend on studying the exams?
4)Most people say the job is very boring,Do you agree?
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Paloma42
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Do you have an estimate for how many hours a week you averaged studying for the exams, and a note for people looking to this route as to how you scheduled study time?
I had a very set study 'plan' I found something that worked for myself and repeated for every exam but everyone learns differently so this will vary for everyone. On average I did an exam every 3 months and I attended BPP courses for every module (There are many other providers out there but my employer used BPP for all accountancy exams) and it was a combination of mostly in centre evening or weekend classes and occasionally online live lectures depending on my schedule.

Most modules are around 4 days (One saturday a week) or 8 evenings (2 weekday evenings a week) Each module had around 15 chapters and I spent around 2-3 hours on each chapter after attending the courses. I received 3 days study leave per exam. I usually tried to book exams for Friday and then take Wed - Fri as study leave and take Mon - Tue as annual leave so I have a whole week to study. So on average per module in total:

  • 4 Saturdays or 8 weekday evenings per week
  • ~15 evenings a module doing 30-45 hours study (Reviewing lecture, summary video & practice questions)
  • 1 week off for every exam (Going over tricky chapters, doing all questions again and practice papers)

This is probably slightly on the excessive side but it worked for me (I have first time passes in all exams)
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Paloma42
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(Original post by ReadDed)
1) With all these easy routes into the profession and increased automation,Are you worried about job security?
2)What is your salary?
3)How long did you have to spend on studying the exams?
4)Most people say the job is very boring,Do you agree?
1) A little but i think its not too much of a concern, most people on average these days don't tend to work in a job for more than 3-5 years. As with most qualifications these days there is an element of CPD (Continuous professional development) You need to keep up to date with whats happening in the profession & industry to stay relevant. It's not just a case of finishing your exams and after qualifying that's it. A lot of accountancy jobs are now being moved out of London to Europe / Asia or even other cities outside of London but providing you are smart enough and a quick learner I don't think it should be too much of a problem but I think it's also a bit early to say - Who knows what the world could look like in 10 - 15 years?

2) I work in London and my basic when I qualified was £52k, 1 year after I qualified my salary increased to £65k and a bonus in the region of 5-10% per year.

3) See above post

4) I do somewhat agree, My current job as a Finance Manager mostly involves Management Accounts, Financial Control & Financial Planning & Analysis. I spend most of my days pushing numbers around excel spreadsheets or looking at accountancy / financial reporting systems so it is somewhat dull. Accountancy is a broad profession and you can end up working in a large variety of different sectors or roles so just because my role is slightly on the boring side doesn't necessarily mean that they all will be...
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ReadDed
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I wish I knew this before,Why do people quit after a few years?
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Paloma42
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(Original post by ReadDed)
I wish I knew this before,Why do people quit after a few years?
Sorry I'm a little confused - Do you mean why do most people only tend to stay in a job for 3-5 years?

I think thats just the nature of the world we live in at the moment, maybe 30/40 years ago people tended to see a job as more of a life time thing and worked for firms for 10-20-30+ years. Especially now Millenials (Myself included) are less committed to firms for long term and are more likely to move jobs for more money, career progression, personal satisfaction etc.
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ReadDed
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(Original post by Paloma42)
Sorry I'm a little confused - Do you mean why do most people only tend to stay in a job for 3-5 years?

I think thats just the nature of the world we live in at the moment, maybe 30/40 years ago people tended to see a job as more of a life time thing and worked for firms for 10-20-30+ years. Especially now Millenials (Myself included) are less committed to firms for long term and are more likely to move jobs for more money, career progression, personal satisfaction etc.
Ok you mean they switch jobs rather than switch profession.
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Rose992
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Hi! Can you explain the cima qualification to me? What are you qualified to?
I do aat and I know that this gives me exemptions from the first year of cima or acca but I can't work out if each level (operational, management, strategic) are three years making up one qualification, or each year is recognizable on it's own?

On top of this, why did you choose cima and not acca/aca? We've been told those are the three professional routes but haven't been told much else about what they cover and the benefits of each.

Thank you!
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Paloma42
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(Original post by Rose992)
Hi! Can you explain the cima qualification to me? What are you qualified to?
I do aat and I know that this gives me exemptions from the first year of cima or acca but I can't work out if each level (operational, management, strategic) are three years making up one qualification, or each year is recognizable on it's own?

On top of this, why did you choose cima and not acca/aca? We've been told those are the three professional routes but haven't been told much else about what they cover and the benefits of each.

Thank you!
In all honesty there isn't much differentiation between ACCA / CIMA & ACA

CIMA as it stands for (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) is an accounting qualification which is slightly more focused on management accounts / business / industry rather than ACCA / ACA which may have slightly less of s business focus and a bit more on the technical accounting side of things. E.g. if you want to work in audit then you need to do ACCA (Specific modules) or ACA and I think the same applies if you want to open your own practice but in all honesty I don't really know too much about this so maybe best to do some research.

ACA is probably slightly more prestigous (In the UK since the board is the Institute of chartered accountants in england and wales) than the other two qualifications since you need to work for an approved firm and most of the top accountancy firms train their accountants to do ACA. ACCA & CIMA are probably more recognized internationally.

If you ever move out of practice then most jobs adverts require someone to be ACA / ACCA or CIMA qualified and most employers generally won't care what qualification you have since they are generally considered fairly even altough for some of the more technical accounting roles in the UK companies may advertise for ACA only but this is very few.

In terms of the 3 different CIMA levels - You get a certication / qualification for each tier:
Operational - diploma in management accounting
Management - advanced diploma in management accounting
Strategic - Fully qualified providing you have the required practical experience
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blaze5670
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Hi,Thanks for the info on here, it is very useful. I have just started my CIMA study and I am wondering what the salary is in London after fully qualified? Thanks.
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Paloma42
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(Original post by blaze5670)
Hi,Thanks for the info on here, it is very useful. I have just started my CIMA study and I am wondering what the salary is in London after fully qualified? Thanks.
This can vary a lot depending on the industry you work in E.g. Banks, Financial Services, Oil & Gas etc will tend to pay a little more than other industries and some will pay a bit less than others e.g. charities or not for profit firms and also how generous your firm is feeling (Some students have certain pre agreed pay rises upon stages of exam completion in their training / study contracts)

As a basemark I would say the average for a newly qualified accountant in CIMA is going to be in the region of £50-55k but as above this could vary quite a bit and there are firms which will pay under 50k and firms who will pay 55k+ for someone who has great experience and exceptional academics (First time passes in all exams, degree etc)

Once qualified your salary will go up depending on what experience you have and is generally monitored by 'PQE' or post qualified experience. I am now 1 year post qualified and my salary increased from £52k when I qualified to £65k after 1 year (Although this is probably at the higher end of the scale for someone who is 1 year PQE)
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ni98m
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(Original post by Paloma42)
This can vary a lot depending on the industry you work in E.g. Banks, Financial Services, Oil & Gas etc will tend to pay a little more than other industries and some will pay a bit less than others e.g. charities or not for profit firms and also how generous your firm is feeling (Some students have certain pre agreed pay rises upon stages of exam completion in their training / study contracts)

As a basemark I would say the average for a newly qualified accountant in CIMA is going to be in the region of £50-55k but as above this could vary quite a bit and there are firms which will pay under 50k and firms who will pay 55k+ for someone who has great experience and exceptional academics (First time passes in all exams, degree etc)

Once qualified your salary will go up depending on what experience you have and is generally monitored by 'PQE' or post qualified experience. I am now 1 year post qualified and my salary increased from £52k when I qualified to £65k after 1 year (Although this is probably at the higher end of the scale for someone who is 1 year PQE)
I have to say that you have done amazing! Graduating with a third, not letting it put you down and achieving such success! You have really inspired me! And its great that your actually providing help to us youngsters who have just graduated x
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NanEco
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(Original post by Paloma42)
Hi All,

I've been reading these forums for years and I've come across loads of useful posts and thought I would start one of these threads in the hope that I might be able to share some of the things I've learned over my life / career.

Some background info - I graduated from one of the London Russel Group universities in 2013 with a 3rd (Yes I know a 3rd...) class degree in Mathematics with Finance & Accounting.

Since I wasn't able to get into any grad schemes I started out as a Finance trainee at a start up / SME firm where I worked for two years and started my CIMA qualification. After 2 years of working there (Around the time I became part qualified) I moved to a Global Investor Services firm where I am still working and completed my CIMA qualification. I currently have 1 year PQE (Post Qualified Experience) and work in a Finance Manager role.

Happy to answer any questions.
Hey thanks for this ! your info has been very useful.

Im currently on a trainee Finance Director program and pretty much being forced into doing the CIMA. Having to start at the certificate level and opted to start the BA3 (into to financial accounting module) first. What i wanted to ask is from your experience, what would you say was the most crucial element of accounting that helped you to understand the more advanced levels as you progressed through both your studies and career.

Also, as an equity investor in small cap stocks, I found financial statements and their analysis paramount and very useful in identifying under priced companies. Is there a reason why more accountants don't seek to explore this route or at the very least company analysis roles within equity research?
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rpatel2
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Hi, I was wondering in terms of study, for exam practice questions, did you only use the BPP exam practice booklet?Also did you find it useful to make your own notes from the BPP notes?many thanks
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Paloma42
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(Original post by NanEco)
Hey thanks for this ! your info has been very useful.

Im currently on a trainee Finance Director program and pretty much being forced into doing the CIMA. Having to start at the certificate level and opted to start the BA3 (into to financial accounting module) first. What i wanted to ask is from your experience, what would you say was the most crucial element of accounting that helped you to understand the more advanced levels as you progressed through both your studies and career.

Also, as an equity investor in small cap stocks, I found financial statements and their analysis paramount and very useful in identifying under priced companies. Is there a reason why more accountants don't seek to explore this route or at the very least company analysis roles within equity research?
I guess the first thing they teach in terms of technical accounting is debits & credits so you will need to know what each of these does to assets, liabilities, expenses, revenue, equity etc. If you don't know this then you will really struggle in the later exams.

A lot of the exams are based on theory / business and the topics covered can be quite broad. For the Financial pillar of exams knowing your debits and credits is a necessity but for the Enterprise & Performance pillars it is just a case of going through and learning all the content.

In terms of your question on equity reach - since equity research is quite a niche field it's not something I have worked in or have any experience of I don't really think I am in a position to comment I'm afraid.
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Paloma42
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(Original post by rpatel2)
Hi, I was wondering in terms of study, for exam practice questions, did you only use the BPP exam practice booklet?Also did you find it useful to make your own notes from the BPP notes?many thanks
I didn't use any external material other than that I received from BPP. Each module I did with BPP you are provided with:
1) Course notes - I made notes directly onto these (Plenty of space) whilst going through the lectures
2) Practice question book - I tried to do all the questions after each chapter / lecture
3) Text book - Excessive information if you ask me, I never actually used these...
4) Summary revision booklet - I usually read through them when exams were approaching E.g. whilst commuting to and from work.

They also provide you with access to an online portal which has more questions at the end of each chapter but also at the end of each set of chapters (E.g. after 5 chapters there is a mini test which covers the first 5 chapters and another after 10 until you eventually do a full exam.
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Kirankkkkkk
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(Original post by Paloma42)
Hi All,

I've been reading these forums for years and I've come across loads of useful posts and thought I would start one of these threads in the hope that I might be able to share some of the things I've learned over my life / career.

Some background info - I graduated from one of the London Russel Group universities in 2013 with a 3rd (Yes I know a 3rd...) class degree in Mathematics with Finance & Accounting.

Since I wasn't able to get into any grad schemes I started out as a Finance trainee at a start up / SME firm where I worked for two years and started my CIMA qualification. After 2 years of working there (Around the time I became part qualified) I moved to a Global Investor Services firm where I am still working and completed my CIMA qualification. I currently have 1 year PQE (Post Qualified Experience) and work in a Finance Manager role.

Happy to answer any questions.
Hi there!

Congratulations on your CIMA journey!

I’ve just started studying CIMA (had no exemptions so have started on the certificate level in Business accounting - Cert BA). I want to better understand what it means to be “part qualified”. Does my completion of the four BA exams enable me to consider myself as part qual, or will this only be acceptable once I do a further three (total seven) in the operational level? Thanks for your help!
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Paloma42
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(Original post by Kirankkkkkk)
Hi there!

Congratulations on your CIMA journey!

I’ve just started studying CIMA (had no exemptions so have started on the certificate level in Business accounting - Cert BA). I want to better understand what it means to be “part qualified”. Does my completion of the four BA exams enable me to consider myself as part qual, or will this only be acceptable once I do a further three (total seven) in the operational level? Thanks for your help!
I dont actually think there is an official term to describe part qualified. I think speaking to fellow students and other CIMA professsionals most people consider themselves part qualified when the operational tier has been completed.

The Certificate tier of exams is more seen as like the entry level to the qualification. E.g if you complete AAT you are exempt from certificate level
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Zzzz1998
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Hi,I am thinking of changing jobs after completing all of my exams in 2 years. What happens to proving my 3 years experiwnce?
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