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Sunday, February 23, 2014

CIMA 2015 professional qualification revised syllabus-some interesting insights for Indian institutes

As a final exam passed student of ICWAI(Indian equivalent of CIMA), I maintain an interest in management accounting and related matters. Hence when I read in the CIMA Insight February 2014 issue about the revised syllabus CIMA 2015 I felt the need to read and take away insights for my own professional development, and to share with interested readers.

Here, the curriculum is divided into a 3*3 matrix(Operational/Managerial/Strategic) and (Financial/Performance and Strategic. There are 9 objective based exams of 90min each which can be taken throughout the year, and 3 case studies of 3hrs each, available 4 times/year.  This means people can take the objective exams on demand, and need study leave/special scheduling only for the case based exams! This makes it easier for students.

Interestingly, CIMA has prepared a different landing page for each stakeholder-tutorials, students and employers, to explain the what/why/how of the change. It practises stakeholder management to the fullest! For example, the student landing page explains this

The updated syllabus remains as strong as ever on the core accounting skill, but we have added new material such as ‘Big Data’, sustainability, integrated reporting and finance function transformation. We have strengthened key themes such as risk, as well as costing and cost management, and adjusted the weightings of some syllabus topics.
What’s the benefit to you? Our updated syllabus and assessment mean that the real-life skills and competencies employers need are woven into the syllabus and thoroughly assessed. Passing your CIMA assessments at every level shows to an employer that you have a grasp of theory and practice.

Our new approach to assessment

We have updated the structure, type, technology and frequency of assessments for the professional qualification. For the first time at CIMA, all assessments will be computer based and in the case of the objective tests will be available ‘on demand’.
We will hold objective tests for each of nine subjects and an integrated case study at each level of the CIMA syllabus: operational, management and strategic. The first examinations under the new assessment method will take place in January 2015.
The syllabus does not seem much changed but is worth a read, for these nuggets which would atleast remind us of what we have studied/and or practised in the real world.
Financial Strategy(F3)
Considering agency issues during bid negotiation and transaction structuring(for example earnouts, stock based purchase); conflicts of interest during management buyouts(Dell example)
Hedge accounting is explicitly mentioned in risk management
Risk Management(P3)-concept of internal hedging as well as upside risk
Strategic Management(E3)-Game theory/Real options/Scenario Planning/Long range planning

If only ICAI/ICWAI/ICSI would adopt this transparent and flexible approach during their syllabus