Seraph____
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I'm hoping to get some advice about how to pursue a career in management accounting. My main question is do I start with the CIMA Certificate or an AAT qualification?
A little background: I gained an MSc International Business in 2018, which had one finance module. I then had my first baby; so up until now I don't really have any relevant work experience. I have been studying basic accounting skills on LinkedIn Learn and would ideally aim to get part-time work in a relevant field (like accounts assistant) while I study.
I would really like to jump straight into CIMA but I worry that I don't have the bookkeeping experience needed for an entry level job. How much does the CIMA Certificate cover the basics? Do I even need a formal qualification to cover the basics?
The more I read online the more confused I get so any advice would be much appreciated!
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Matthew Longley
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(Original post by Seraph____)
I'm hoping to get some advice about how to pursue a career in management accounting. My main question is do I start with the CIMA Certificate or an AAT qualification?
A little background: I gained an MSc International Business in 2018, which had one finance module. I then had my first baby; so up until now I don't really have any relevant work experience. I have been studying basic accounting skills on LinkedIn Learn and would ideally aim to get part-time work in a relevant field (like accounts assistant) while I study.
I would really like to jump straight into CIMA but I worry that I don't have the bookkeeping experience needed for an entry level job. How much does the CIMA Certificate cover the basics? Do I even need a formal qualification to cover the basics?
The more I read online the more confused I get so any advice would be much appreciated!
Hi Seraph, I'm CIMA qualified, and would suggest looking through the syllabus of each qualification, and maybe buying 1/2 textbooks. If your intention is to pursue a career in management accounting, I would suggest you skip AAT and jump straight into CIMA. Your assumption is correct that CIMA doesn't really cover bookkeeping. Management Accounting and bookkeeping are quite different topics, and while CIMA will give you a very good understanding of the principles behind bookkeeping (double-entry, ledger structure etc), it will not cover it to the same extent as AAT. My opinion however, is that you will pick-up adequate bookkeeping skills 'on the job', as you will need to work in accounting/finance roles in order to satisfy the work experience requirements of CIMA. Hope that helps.
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K1NE
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(Original post by Seraph____)
I'm hoping to get some advice about how to pursue a career in management accounting. My main question is do I start with the CIMA Certificate or an AAT qualification?
A little background: I gained an MSc International Business in 2018, which had one finance module. I then had my first baby; so up until now I don't really have any relevant work experience. I have been studying basic accounting skills on LinkedIn Learn and would ideally aim to get part-time work in a relevant field (like accounts assistant) while I study.
I would really like to jump straight into CIMA but I worry that I don't have the bookkeeping experience needed for an entry level job. How much does the CIMA Certificate cover the basics? Do I even need a formal qualification to cover the basics?
The more I read online the more confused I get so any advice would be much appreciated!
Hey,

Would suggest because you already have a degree it might be best to go straight onto CIMA. I'm sure there are a lot of trainee/entry level roles and your degree should be okay to meet the minimum requirement (unless they specifically ask for AAT). Maybe don't limit yourself to just roles that say 'Management accounting', any finance analyst role where bit of analysis work and adhoc support is involved could be a good starting point, or you could even look for accounts payable/ accounts receivable/ bookkeeping roles to then move up into an analyst role.

They won't expect you to know lots but having some theoretical understanding of accounting may help. Plenty of entry level finance roles would fund your CIMA too through learning providers such as BPP/Kaplan. Just double check the job spec to ensure this is the case. If you did want to get a head start on CIMA, then would suggest to using Open Tuition. It's free to use and I think it cover what you need to know to pass the CIMA exams. So it's great for self-study and possibly a good way to get a head start and learn some of the material. I don't think they have exam standard questions on there, but you can always wait to buy these when you get your first role.
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Seraph____
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(Original post by Matthew Longley)
Hi Seraph, I'm CIMA qualified, and would suggest looking through the syllabus of each qualification, and maybe buying 1/2 textbooks. If your intention is to pursue a career in management accounting, I would suggest you skip AAT and jump straight into CIMA. Your assumption is correct that CIMA doesn't really cover bookkeeping. Management Accounting and bookkeeping are quite different topics, and while CIMA will give you a very good understanding of the principles behind bookkeeping (double-entry, ledger structure etc), it will not cover it to the same extent as AAT. My opinion however, is that you will pick-up adequate bookkeeping skills 'on the job', as you will need to work in accounting/finance roles in order to satisfy the work experience requirements of CIMA. Hope that helps.
Hi Matthew,
Thanks so much for your reply. I guess that was really my question, could I learn those skills 'on the job'. In an ideal world I'd love to do both and feel super prepared for everything but who has the time! The online courses on LinkedIn have been quite useful so I'm relieved to think they will be enough to get me started. Thanks again!
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Matthew Longley
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(Original post by Seraph____)
Hi Matthew,
Thanks so much for your reply. I guess that was really my question, could I learn those skills 'on the job'. In an ideal world I'd love to do both and feel super prepared for everything but who has the time! The online courses on LinkedIn have been quite useful so I'm relieved to think they will be enough to get me started. Thanks again!
No problem. Yes, I really think you will pick those skills up on the job. However, I have worked with a lot of people who (I believe) are just following the processes verbatim, without really understanding what they're doing or why. This is where CIMA/ACCA/ACA come in, as through studying these, you will understand the 'science' of accounting. But it really is very straight-forward - just spend some time looking into what a ledger is and it's purpose (to record the flow of value in the current period (income and expenditure), and the anticipated flow of value in the future (assets and liabilities)). Bookkeeping is just accurately recording that flow of "value". Accounting is understanding and interpreting that record (very basically).
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Matthew Longley
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(Original post by Matthew Longley)
No problem. Yes, I really think you will pick those skills up on the job. However, I have worked with a lot of people who (I believe) are just following the processes verbatim, without really understanding what they're doing or why. This is where CIMA/ACCA/ACA come in, as through studying these, you will understand the 'science' of accounting. But it really is very straight-forward - just spend some time looking into what a ledger is and it's purpose (to record the flow of value in the current period (income and expenditure), and the anticipated flow of value in the future (assets and liabilities)). Bookkeeping is just accurately recording that flow of "value". Accounting is understanding and interpreting that record (very basically).
I should add though that CIMA is ALOT more than just ledger accounting. In fact (when I studied it 8 years ago) around half of it is general business studies, ethics, HR etc etc. You spend as much time writing out long essay answers in the exams as you do preparing and manipulating financial statements. Personally, I found the business theory side more interesting than the financial side. The theory is all quite straight-forward - the difficulty is in passing the exams, as they really do ask for an awful lot in a few hours!
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