The CIMA exam is very comprehensive, aiming to be one mile wide AND one mile deep. Potential candidates should take a closer look at the CIMA syllabus and make sure this is something they are willing to commit to in the next 3-4 years.
Operational level is the first in the CIMA exam levels. This is used as a foundation block for the next two levels, and therefore, the knowledge is applicable to those at the technical, working level.
E1 covers the organisation structure at the basic level, and how efficient and effective management (through finance, IT, marketing and HR functions) facilitates the organisation to achieve its strategic goals.
P1 covers the important function of cost in the decision making of an organisation. For example, various costing methods, purpose of forecast, plans and budgets, cost in relationship to pricing, and how to assess risk. In this level, the focus is on short-term decision making.
FI covers the role of financial reporting and why the financial statement is important tool in managing the financial health of the organisation. The concept of governance and taxation is also introduced.
Management level is the second in the CIMA exam levels. The knowledge is built on the operational level, and is applicable to the “managers” who monitor and oversee how work is done.
E2 builds on the understanding of organisational structure in E1, and focuses on how organistional strategy an be implemented through people, projects and relationships.
P2 builds on the insights about costs and their drivers (from P1) to support the implementation of the organisation’s strategy.
F2 builds on the competencies gained from F1, covering ways to source long-term finance, produce consolidated financial statements, and discuss the need for disclosure.
Management level is the third (and last) in the CIMA exam levels. The knowledge is built on first two levels, and is applicable to the senior management who make long-term, strategic decisions for the organisation.
E3 aims to develop the skills and abilities of the strategic leaders or organization, e.g how to evaluate key external factors on strategy, handle ethical issues, implement ogranization changes, and evaluate IS requirements for successful strategic implementation.
P3 shows how to identify, evaluate and manage various risks that could affect the implementation of the organisation’s strategy, and be able to recommend appropriate responses.
F3 focuses on the formulation and implementation of financial strategy to support the overall strategy of the organisation, by evaluating the financial and non-financial objectives, the pros and cons of mergers, acquisitions and divestment, and recommend appropriate actions.
Candidates must pass all three objective tests before taking the case study exams in the same level. This is because the case study exams is meant to integrate all the 3 learning pillars.
In other words, there is no specific syllabus for the CIMA case study exams, but the candidates should know everything in that level.
If you have questions on the exam content, please drop a note in the comment section below and we will try our best to answer. you can also check out the CIMA exam blog page for common questions from readers.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.
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