CIMA or CA? The Rise of the CIMA Qualification in South Africa
A ‘traditional’ or Financial Accountant is referred to as a CA. It is his responsibility to conduct the audit of all books, systems and work flow of a company. He signs and presents the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss reports as well as presents a complex report on company performance for the previous financial year. Such reports are used by all businesses and are priceless in pinpointing threats and problem areas. The company is well aware and appreciates all their value.
A CIMA qualification on the other hand encompasses far beyond the traditional. The range of knowledge is external to the traditional accountancy involving analysis and detailed costing issues.
To be successful in this progressively demanding role, the MA must obtain predictive skills based on sufficient knowledge of the economic, social and political environment concerning business decision making. He uses the historic data presented by the CA to identify reasons for budget discrepancies, to analyse prices, and identify, interpret, prepare and communicate information used by management to plot, evaluate and regulate various resources within the business.
Some of the primary tasks performed daily by the Management Accountant are as follows:
- Rate and volume analysis
- Business metrics development
- Price modeling
- Product profitability
- Geographic vs Industry or client segment reporting
- Sales management scorecards
- Cost analysis + benefit analysis
- Cost-volume-profit analysis
- Life cycle cost analysis
- Client profitability analysis
- IT cost transparency
- Capital budgeting
- Buy vs lease analysis
- Strategic planning
- Strategic management advice
- Internal presentation and communication
- Sales forecasting
- Financial forecasting
- Annual budgeting
- Cost allocation
Despite that both roles are similarly vital to the business; the value of the CA is recognized by the company as a whole, whereas the value of the MA is only known to the executive management.
With the ever-increasing demand for CIMA competent individuals, we stress the need for accountants pondering further studies to give this route serious reflection. And being an internationally recognized qualification, you can rest assured that employers would be acquainted with your worth should you elect to spend a few years in the land of warm beer and cold weather.