How to Become A CIMA South Africa

CIMA is the world’s largest professional body of management accountants offering the most relevant accounting qualification for a career in business.

BCom & BComHons: Management Accounting (CIMA) South Africa

About the qualification

Most accounting qualifications train people for private practice, working on external audit and tax issues. The CIMA qualification prepares people for a career in business. It teaches skills for strategic advice, managing risk and making key decisions.

Our syllabus is designed to deliver a strong understanding of all aspects of business so our students can contribute in many areas of an organisation.

The syllabus focuses on business, giving you more than just accounting knowledge. You will not only be financially qualified but also professionally trained in business management, capable of advising on business strategy and risk management.

When you qualify as a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), you will join the world’s largest and leading international professional body of management accountants with more than 218,000 members and students operating in 177 countries.

You will become a Chartered Management Accountant and be able to use the letters ACMA (Associate of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) after your name.

You will also be able to register as a Chartered Global Management Accountant, which is a joint venture between CIMA and the AICPA of the USA. (For more information about the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, visit their website at​.)

Management accounting combines accounting, finance and management with the leading edge techniques needed to drive successful businesses.

Chartered management accountants:

Advise managers about the financial implications of projects.

Explain the financial consequences of business decisions.

Formulate business strategy.

Monitor spending and financial control.

Conduct internal business audits.

Explain the impact of the competitive landscape.

Bring a high level of professionalism and integrity to business.

How to become a Charted Management Accountant

Stellenbosch University offers the following route to become a Chartered Management Accountant:

BCom (Management Accounting) (3 years)

BCom Honours (Management Accounting) (1 year)

Qualifying examinations through CIMA

Three years’ relevant work experience at any organisation worldwide

Students studying through Stellenbosch University are exempted from some of the CIMA qualifying examinations.

Students can also enrol in the BCom Honours (Management Accounting) after studying BCom (Financial Accounting) or BAccounting, but CIMA may potentially grant fewer exemptions.

BCom (Management Accounting): Undergraduate programme


The BCom (Management Accounting) degree programme is primarily aimed at the instruction of students who intend to qualify as chartered management accountants.  

Exemption from certain examinations of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), with head office in London, is currently obtained by individuals who are in possession of a BCom (Management Accounting) degree from this university. (Exemptions are always at the discretion of CIMA.) 

The broad objectives of the BCom (Management Accounting) degree are:

To address the basic content of the curriculum of the chartered management accountant career, as determined by CIMA.

To present the study material in such a way that independent, constructive and critical thinking is encouraged amongst students.

To impress the virtues of ethics, integrity, a sense of responsibility and a positive attitude, which are necessary for a professional career upon students from the first year of study.

Admission requirements

The formal admission requirements are available in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences yearbook (available on the website of the university).

Students who do not qualify to register for the BCom (Management Accounting) programme in terms of the formal admission requirements are allowed to change over to the programme at the end of their first year on condition that they comply with the following:

They must be registered for a BCom course in their first year.

All the subjects for the first year must be passed.​

How do I become a CIMA in South Africa?

Requirements: You will need a Matric certificate with a pass in both Mathematics and English. If you don’t have Mathematics, you will need a minimum of 50% in Maths Literacy. This will allow matriculates to be accepted to study towards the CIMA Qualification.

What qualifications do you need to start CIMA?

You don’t need a relevant degree to start your CIMA studies; graduates in any degree discipline can study CIMA. You’ll start with the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting. It’s a recognized qualification in its own right and can also be a stepping-stone to the CIMA Professional Qualification.

How many years does it take to become CIMA?

In addition to strong accounting fundamentals, CIMA teaches strategic business and management skills. CA takes more than 4 years to complete the qualification and the passing rate is about 5% per level whereas CIMA takes approximately 2-3 years to complete and the passing rate is about 40 to 50%.

What is CIMA qualification equivalent to in South Africa?

The CIMA certificate qualification is equivalent to an NQF Level 5 with the SAQA ID: 24418.

How much does a CIMA qualified accountant earn in South Africa?

CIMA members and students in South Africa are earning well1. In 2014, qualified CIMA members are earning R808,714 in basic annual salary plus R102,205 in bonus payments, totalling R910,919 per annum.

CIMA students earn on average R392,120 in basic salary plus R37,012 in bonus payments, to a total of R429,132.

Which colleges offer CIMA in South Africa?

These colleges are formally accredited by CIMA and are highly recommended to students and employers.

CharterQuest Financial Training Institute.

FAT Training CC.



CharterQuest Financial Training Institute.

CharterQuest Financial Training Institute.

College of Business Excellence.

College SA.

Is CIMA harder than ACCA?

The CIMA qualification is more demanding, as it does not let you move forward until you pass one set of exams, compared with ACCA which allows you to study towards multiple sets of exams simultaneously .This qualification is more challenging overall, and for this reason, it is highly respected by employers.