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The CIMA Professional Syllabus

What's covered in each CIMA level?

You can take the three Objective Tests in any order but you must pass them all before attempting the Case Study for that level.

CIMA Objective Tests

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

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.

Operational Level

Operational Level Exams

The Professional Qualification is made up of two types of computer-based assessments:

  • 90 minute Objective Test for each of the three subjects within a level
  • A three hour case study exam which you can sit when you have completed all Objective Tests at that level and want to progress to the next level.

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 ›

E1 Organisational Management

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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.
  • Marketing (15%)

    • 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 Management Accounting

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • Cost accounting system (30%)

    • Discuss costing methods and their results.
    • Discuss the role of quality costing.
    • Explain the role of environment costing.
  • Budgeting (25%)

    • 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 Financial Reporting and Taxation

Aim of the syllabus

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).

Topics Covered

  • 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.

Operational Case Study

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

Management Level exams

The Professional Qualification is made up of two types of computer-based assessments:

  • 90 minute Objective Test for each of the three subjects within a level
  • A three hour case study exam which you can sit when you have completed all Objective Tests at that level and want to progress to the next level.

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.

E2 Project and Relationship Management

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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.

P2 Advanced Management Accounting

Aim of the syllabus

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).

Topics Covered

  • 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 Advanced Financial Reporting

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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

Management Case Study

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

Strategic Level exams

The Professional Qualification is made up of two types of computer-based assessments

  • 90 minute Objective Test for each of the three subjects within a level
  • A three hour case study exam which you can sit when you have completed all Objective Tests at that level and want to progress to the next level

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 examp preparation page

E3 Strategic Management

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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 Risk Management

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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 Financial Strategy

Aim of the syllabus

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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

Strategic Case Study

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements and exemptions

You have Your starting point
No previous qualifications Certificate in Business Accounting
AAT Level 3 complete Certificate in Business Accounting (you may be eligible for some exemptions)
AAT Level 4 Operational Level
Degree You may be eligible for exemptions from Certificate, Operational or Management papers depending on your degree content
Do I qualify for an exemption?
MBA or Masters in Accounting Masters Gateway
Pass the Management Case Study Exam, then move onto the Strategic Level
IFAC member qualification Professional Gateway
Pass the Management Case Study Exam, then move onto the Strategic Level
ICWAI, ICMAP, ICMAB qualification Management Accountants Gateway
Pass the Management Case Study Exam, then move onto the Strategic Level

Select the study method that suits you


CIMA Professional Qualification syllabus