Training & Qualifications /
CIMA / CIMA Syllabus
Certificate in Business Accounting is the entry level which leads on to the Professional Qualification. The Professional Qualification consists of the Operational, Management and Strategic levels.
Professional Exam Booking
Find out what's covered in each CIMA level and see if your previous study gives you exemptions.
If you studied under the old Professional syllabus, read our guide for transitioning to the 2015 syllabus or watch an advice webinar.
C01 Fundamentals of Management Accounting
C02 Fundamentals of Financial Accounting
C03 Fundamentals of Business Mathematics
C04 Fundamentals of Business Economics
C05 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law
Certificate Level exams
Certificate Level exemptions
Certificate Level is the entry level to CIMA so no prior qualifications are required to sit a Certificate paper. You must complete all 5 papers in the Certificate Level before progressing on to the CIMA Professional Qualification. Knowledge gained in all Certificate Level subjects will be used in most Professional Qualification subjects.
Fundamentals of Management Accounting introduces you to core management accounting topics such as cost determination, breakeven analysis, standard costing, cost and accounting systems and financial planning and control.
The context of management accounting (10%)
Explain the purpose of management accounting.
Explain the role of the management accountant.
Explain the role of CIMA as a professional body for management accountants
Cost identification and behaviour (25%)
Apply methods for identifying cost.
Demonstrate cost behaviour.
Planning within organisations (30%)
Prepare budgetary control statements
Prepare financial statements for managers
Accounting control systems (20%)
Prepare budgetary control statements.
Prepare statements of variance analysis.
Decision making (15%)
Demonstrate the use of break-even analysis in making short-term decisions
Apply basic approaches for use in decision making.
Demonstrate the use of investment appraisal techniques in making long-term decisions.
Fundamentals of Financial Accounting takes you through conceptual and regulatory frameworks, accounting systems and control, and preparing accounting statements for single entities. Students will be required to be aware of the format and content of published accounts but are not required to prepare them.
Conceptual and Regulatory Framework (20%)
Explain the concepts of financial accounting.
Explain the regulatory and legal framework for financial accounting.
Accounting Systems (20%)
Prepare ledger accounts and supporting documents.
Explain the use of codes in accounting systems.
Preparation of Accounts for Single Entities (45%)
Prepare accounts for transactions.
Prepare financial statements for a single entity.
Control of Accounting Systems (15%)
Explain the need for external controls on a business.
Explain internal control techniques.
Demonstrate how accounting errors are corrected.
Explain the nature of fraud.
Fundamentals of Business Mathematics introduces you to basic mathematics, probability, summarising and analysing data, variables, forecasting, financial mathematics and spreadsheets.
Basic Mathematics (15%)
Demonstrate the use of basic mathematics.
Solve equations and inequalities.
Demonstrate the use of probability where risk and uncertainty exists.
Summarising and Analysing Data (15%)
Apply techniques for summarising data.
Apply techniques for analysing data.
Relationships between Variables (15%)
Calculate correlation coefficient for bivariate data.
Apply techniques of simple regression.
Demonstrate techniques used for forecasting.
Financial Mathematics (15%)
Calculate present and future value of cash flows
Apply financial mathematical techniques
Apply spreadsheets to calculate and present data
Fundamentals of Business Economics covers the goals and decisions of organisations, the market system and the competitive process, the financial system and the macroeconomic context of business.
The macroeconomic context of organisations (25%)
Explain the factors affecting the level of a country’s national income and the impact of changing growth rates on organisations.
Explain the factors affecting the trade of a country with the rest of the world and its impact on business.
Explain the influences on economic development of countries and its effect on business.
The goals and decisions of organisations (25%)
Distinguish between the economic goals of various stakeholders and organisations.
Describe the behaviour of the costs of a product and service provider as volume changes and the implications for prices, competition and industry structure.
Calculate the level of output and price to maximise profits.
The market system and the competitive process (25%)
Demonstrate the determination of prices by market forces and the impact of price changes on revenue from sales.
Explain the reasons for and effects of government intervention to stabilise prices.
Explain the main sources of market failures and the policies available to deal with them.
The financial system (25%)
Explain the causes of demand for finance and the assets used for borrowing.
Explain the functions of the main financial markets and institutions in facilitating commerce and development.
Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law covers ethics and business, ethical conflict, corporate governance, comparison of English law with alternative legal systems, the law of contract, the law of employment, and company administration and finance.
Ethics and Business (15%)
Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of ethics to business generally and to the professional accountant.
Explain the need for CIMA members to adopt the highest standards of ethical behaviour.
Ethical Conflict (10%)
Explain the various means of regulating ethical behaviour.
Explain how ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest arise and may be resolved.
Corporate Governance (10%)
Explain the development of corporate governance to meet public concern in relation to the management of companies.
Explain the impact of corporate governance on the directors and management structure of public limited companies and how this benefits stakeholders.
Comparison of English Law with Alternative Legal Systems (10%)
Explain the essential elements of the English legal system and the tort of negligence.
Describe the essential elements of alternative legal systems.
The Law of Contract (20%)
Explain how the law determines the point at which a contract is formed and the legal status of contractual terms.
Explain when the law regards a contract as discharged and the remedies available for breach and nonperformance.
The Law of Employment (10%)
Explain the essential elements of an employment contract and the remedies available following termination of the contract.
Explain the impact of health and safety law on employers and employees.
Company Administration and Finance (25%)
Explain the nature, legal status and administration of business organisations.
Explain the law relating to the financing and management of companies limited by shares.
Date: Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA) exams are computer based and are on demand so they can be taken all year round.
Scheduling: We recommend that you schedule your Certificate Computer Based Assessment (CBA) at least 2 weeks in advance of when you would like to sit your exam.
Duration: 2 hours
Structure: The Certificate Level syllabus comprises of five subjects with one exam for each subject. All five exams must be passed to complete the level. The five exams can be taken in any order.
Locations: Kaplan are an approved Pearson VUE exam centre so you can take your Certificate CBA at the same Kaplan centre where you come to study and sit your practice tests. Book your Computer Based Assessment online.
You may be exempt from some or all Certificate papers if you have a relevant degree, have completed the AAT technician stage, or have studied another professional accounting qualification. More about exemptions.
You can take the three Objective Tests within each level in any order, but you must pass them all before attempting the Integrated Case Study for that level.
Objective Test questions are selected randomly and will cover all of the learning outcomes within the syllabus. Exams use a combination of multiple-choice, data entry, fill in the gaps and drag/drop questions. There is an on-screen calculator to help you.
You can take the exams at any time, they last 90 minutes and there is no pre-exam reading time. The exams have a computer automated marking system so results will be available shortly after the sitting.
The Integrated Case Study exam consists of tasks based on previously unseen 'trigger' information and pre-seen material that you receive a few weeks prior to the exam.
Case studies cover all three pillars within the level. The questions will be discursive and involve minimal calculations, short answers and essays. The exam will include linked tasks.
Before attempting the Integrated Case Study for any level you must pass three Objective Tests from the same level.
Operational Level exams
Operational Level exemptions
E1 Objective Test
P1 Objective Test
F1 Objective Test
Operational Case Study
The Professional Qualification is made up of two types of computer-based assessments:
Dates and scheduling: Objective Test are available all year round. We recommend that you schedule an exam at least 2 weeks in advance of when you would like to sit. Case Study exams are available in 4 windows a year, the exams run for five days from Tuesday to Saturday in a set week. You need to book on to your exam by the exam entry deadline set by CIMA. View the current timetable and deadlines.
Locations: Our Kaplan centres are approved Pearson VUE exam centres which means that you can sit your exam in the same Kaplan centre where you come to study. Choose your preferred location and
book your exam online. For alternative dates and locations, you can also sit your exam at a Pearson VUE exam centre.
Exam requirements: You must pass (or be exempt from) all three Objective Test at a level before you can move onto the case study exam. When you have passed the case study exam you can move onto the next level and start the Objective Test for that level. The Strategic Level Case Study exam is the last exam that you will take.
Pass marks: For information on pass marks for Objective Test and Case Studies, please visit www.cimaglobal.com/results.
More information: Visit the CIMA exam preparation page.
You must have completed all 5 papers in the Certificate Level before progressing on to the Operational Level. AAT qualified students will be exempt from the Certificate Level and proceed straight to the Operational Level. Degree students may qualify for exemptions from the Operational Level depending on the content of your degree.
E1 focuses on the structuring of organisations. It covers the structure and principles of underpinning the operational functions of the organisation, their efficient management and effective interaction in enabling the organisation to achieve its strategic objective.
It lays the foundation for gaining further insight in both the immediate operating environment and long-term strategic future of organisations which are covered in E2 and E3.
Introduction to organisations (25%)
Discuss the different types of structure that an organisation may adopt.
Discuss relationships between Internal and external sources of governance, regulation and professional behaviour.
Managing the finance function (15%)
Discuss the purpose of the financial function and its relationships with other parts of the organisation.
Explain how the finance function supports the organisation’s strategies and operation.
Managing technology and information (15%)
Demonstrate the purpose of the technology and information function and its relationships with other parts of the organisation.
Explain how information systems support the organisation’s strategies and operations.
Operations Management (15%)
Demonstrate the purpose of the operations function and its relationships with other parts of the organisation.
Apply tools and techniques of operations management.
Demonstrate the purpose of the marketing function and its relationships with other parts of the organisation
Managing Human Resources (15%)
Demonstrate the purpose of the HR function and its relationships with other parts of the organisation
P1 stresses the importance of costs and drivers of costs in the production, analysis and use fo information for decision making in organisations. The time focus of P1 is the short term. It covers budgeting as a means of short-term planning to execute the strategy of organisations. In addition it provides competencies on how to analyse information on costs, volumes and prices to take short-term decisions on products and services and to develop an understanding on the impact of risk to these decisions. P1 provides the foundation for cost management and the long-term decisions covered in P2.
Cost accounting system (30%)
Discuss costing methods and their results.
Discuss the role of quality costing.
Explain the role of environment costing.
Explain the purposes of forecasts plans and budget.
Prepare forecasts of financial results.
Discuss the principles that underlie the use of budgets for control.
Analyse performance using budgets, recognising alternative approaches and sensitivity to variable factors.
Short-term decision making (30%)
Explain concepts of cost and revenue relevant to pricing and product decisions.
Analyse short-term pricing and product decisions.
Dealing with risk and uncertainty (15%)
Analyse information to assess risk and its impact on short-term decisions.
F1 covers the regulations and preparation of financial statements and how the information contained in them can be used. It provides the competencies required to produce financial statements for both individual entities and groups using appropriate international financial reporting standards. It also gives insight into how to effectively source and manage cash and working capital, which are essential for both the survival and success of organisations. The final part focuses on the basic principles and application of business taxation. The competencies gained from F1 form the basis for developing further insights into producing and analysing complex group accounts (covered in F2) and formulating and implementing financial strategy (covered in F3).
Regulatory environment for financial reporting and corporate governance (10%)
Explain the need for and the process of regulating the financial reporting information of incorporated entities.
Discuss the need for and key principles of corporate governance regulation.
Financial accounting and reporting (45%)
Explain the main elements of and key principles underpinning financial statements prepared in accordance with international financial reporting standards
Produce the primary financial statements of an individual entity incorporating accounting transactions and adjustments, in accordance with relevant international financial reporting standards, in an ethical manner
Produce the consolidated statement of financial position and consolidated statement of comprehensive income in accordance with relevant international financial reporting standards, in an ethical manner.
Management of working capital, cash and sources of short-term finance (20%)
Describe the source of short-term finance and cash investment.
Evaluate the working capital position of an entity.
Analyse the short-term cash position of an entity.
Fundamentals of business taxation (25%)
Discuss the types of taxation that typically apply to an incorporated entity and the regulatory environment for taxation.
Explain the taxation issues that may apply to an incorporated entity that operates internationally.
Produce computations for corporate income tax and capital tax.
Case studies cover all 3 pillars within the Operational level. The exam is broken down into timed sections with tasks being set based on 'trigger' information, delivered at various points during the exam. The previously unseen trigger information will build on pre-seen material that you will receive a few weeks prior to the exam. The questions will be discursive and involve minimal calculations, short answers, essays. Some tasks will also be linked.
For example: the Operational Integrated Case Study could involve creating costings for a product (P1 task), followed by advising on how best to market the product (E1 task), followed by the impact on the financial statements of holding more inventory (F1 task).
Management Level exams
Management Level exemptions
E2 Project and Relationship Management
P2 Advanced Management Accounting
F2 Advanced Financial Reporting
Management Case Study
You must have completed all 3 subjects in the Operational Level before progressing on to the Management Level. Degree students may qualify for exemptions from the Management Level depending on the content of your degree.
Students who have completed managerial levels in the 2010 (or earlier) syllabus will progress to the next level. Students who are mid-way through a level, will need to complete any outstanding Objective Test at that level, as well as the newly introduced Integrated Case Study, at that level. For more details please visit: www.cimaglobal.com/exemptions
E2 emphasises a holistic, integrated approach to managing organisations, from external and internal perspectives. It builds on the understanding of organisational structuring gained from E1 and is centred on the concept of strategy and how organisational strategy can be implemented though people, projects, processes and relationships. It provides the basis for developing further insights into how to formulate and implement organisational strategy, which is covered in E3.
Introduction to strategic management and assessing the global environment (30%)
Discuss developments in strategic management.
Analyse the relationship between different aspects of the global business environment.
The human aspects of the organisation (20%)
Discuss the concepts associated with managing through people.
Discuss the hard and soft aspects of people and organisational performance.
Managing relationships (20%)
Discuss the effectiveness of organisational relationships.
Discuss management tools and techniques in managing organisational relations.
Managing change through projects (30%)
Advise on important elements in the change process.
Discuss the concepts involved in managing projects.
Focusing primarily on the long term, P2 builds on the insights about costs and their drivers (from P1) to provide the competences needed to analyse, plan and manage costs to support the implementation of the organisation’s strategy. It shows how to manage and control the performance of various units of the organisation in line with both short-term budgets and long-term strategy. Finally P2 covers investment decision making and the risks associated with such decisions. It provides the basis for developing deeper understanding of various types of risks affecting the strategy and operations of organisations (covered in P3).
Cost planning and analysis for competitive advantage (25%)
Evaluate techniques for analysing and managing costs for competitive advantage.
Control and performance management of responsibility centres (30%)
Discuss decision making in responsibility centres.
Discuss issues arising from the use of performance measures and budgets for control.
Evaluate issues arising from the division of the organisation into responsibility centres.
Long-term decision making (30%)
Evaluate information to support project appraisal.
Discuss pricing strategies and their consequences.
Management control and risk (15%)
Analyse information to assess its impact on long-term decisions.
Discuss management’s responsibilities with regard to risk.
F2 builds on the competencies gained from F1. It covers how to effectively source the long-term finance required to fund the operations of organisations, particularly their capital investments. It also deepens the coverage of financial reporting to more complex aspects of group accounting and analyses the rules governing the recognition and measurement of various elements of the financial statements. Finally it shows how to analyse financial statements to provide insights about the financial performance and position of the organisation over time and in comparison with others.
Sources of long-term finance (15%)
Discuss types and sources of long-term finance for an incorporated entity.
Calculate a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for an incorporated entity.
Financial reporting (60%)
Produce consolidated primary financial statements, incorporating accounting transactions and adjustments, in accordance with relevant international accounting standards, in an ethical manner.
Demonstrate the impact on the preparation of the consolidated financial statements of certain complex group scenarios.
Discuss the need for and nature of disclosure of transactions between related parties
Produce the disclosures for earnings per share.
Analysis of financial performance and position (25%)
Evaluate the financial performance, financial position and financial adaptability of an incorporated entity.
Case studies cover all 3 pillars within the Management Level. The exam is broken down into timed sections with tasks being set based on 'trigger' information, delivered at various points during the exam. The previously unseen trigger information will build on pre-seen material that you will receive a few weeks prior to the exam. The questions will be discursive and involve minimal calculations, short answers, essays. Some tasks will also be linked.
Strategic Level exams
Strategic Level exemptions
E3 Strategic Management
P3 Risk Management
F3 Financial Strategy
Strategic Case Study
Students who have passed the Gateway Assessment will be exempt from the Certificate, Operational and Management levels and can move directly to the Strategic level. They will therefore be exempt from the Management Integrated Case Study. If students are part way through a level then they will need to sit the new Objective Test for the subjects still yet to pass and the Management Integrated Case Study before proceeding to the Strategic Level.
If students have passed all three Strategic papers (E3, P3 and F3) under the 2010 syllabus then they can move onto the new Strategic Integrated Case Study, however if part way through the level then they will need to sit the new Objective Test for the papers yet to be sat and the Integrated Case study for that level. Students who have completed the Professional Competence Level Paper T4 – Part B (2010 syllabus or equivalent), will be give credit in the Strategic Case Study Exam. For more details please visit: www.cimaglobal.com/exemptions
E3 builds on the insights gained from E1 and E2 about how organisations effectively implement their strategies by aligning their structures, people, process, projects and relationships. E3 aims to develop the skills and abilities of the strategic leaders of organisations, enabling them to create the vision and direction for the growth and long-term sustainable success of the organisation. This involves successfully managing and leading change within the process of strategy formulation and implementation.
Interacting with the competitive environment (20%)
Evaluate the influence of key external factors on an organisation’s strategy.
Evaluate ethical issues arising from the organisation’s interaction with its environment.
Evaluating ‘strategic position and strategic options (30%)
Leading change (20%)
Implementing strategy (15%)
The role of information systems in organisational strategy (15%)
P3 shows how to identify, evaluate and manage various risks that could adversely affect the implementation of the organisation’s strategy. It provides the competencies required to analyse, evaluate and apply the techniques, processes and internal control systems required to manage risk. The insight is then used to manage the risk associated with cash flows and capital investment decisions – two important areas of organisational life for which the finance function is responsible.
Identification, classification and evaluation of risk (20%)
Evaluate the types of risk facing an organisation and recommend appropriate responses.
Evaluate senior management’s responsibility for the implementation of risk management strategies and internal controls.
Evaluate the ethical impacts of risk.
Responses to strategic risk (20%)
Evaluate the tools and processes required for strategy implementation.
Evaluate ethical issues facing an organisation and its employees.
Evaluate the risks associated with corporate governance.
Internal controls to manage risk (20%)
Evaluate control systems for organisational activities and resources.
Evaluate risk management strategies an internal control.
Evaluate the purposes and process of audit in the context of internal control systems.
Managing risks associated with cash flows (20%)
Evaluate financial risks facing an organisation.
Evaluate alternative risk management tool.
Managing risks associated with the capital investment decisions (20%)
Evaluate the risks arising from changes in the environment for capital investment appraisal.
F3 focuses on the formulation and implementation of financial strategy to support the overall strategy of the organisation. Using insights gained from F1 and F2, it provides the competencies to evaluate the financial requirements of organisations and the relative merits of alternative sources of finance to meet these requirements. Finally the valuation of corporate entities for mergers, acquisitions and divestments.
Formulation of financial strategy (25%)
Evaluate strategic financial and non-financial objectives of different types of entities.
Evaluate strategic financial management policy decisions.
Financing and dividend decision (35%)
Evaluate the financial requirements of an entity and recommend a strategy for meeting those requirements.
Evaluate dividend policies for an incorporated entity that meet the needs and expectations of shareholders.
Corporate Finance (40%)
Evaluate opportunities for acquisition merger and divestment.
Evaluate the value of entities.
Evaluate pricing issues and post-transaction issues.
Case studies cover all 3 pillars within the Strategic level. The exam is broken down into timed sections with tasks being set based on 'trigger' information, delivered at various points during the exam. The previously unseen trigger information will build on pre-seen material that you will receive a few weeks prior to the exam. The questions will be discursive and involve minimal calculations, short answers, essays. Some tasks will also be linked.
New Certificate Syllabus
There will be a new CIMA Certificate syllabus from January 2017 and one key change is the removal of the C03 Business Maths unit.
Throughout 2016, CIMA are allowing students to apply for a waiver from the C03 exam. Read our blog post to find out more about how this may impact you and whether you should take the waiver.
If you decide not to take the waiver, Kaplan are offering an online course for C03 in 2016. Please contact us for more information.