January 2016

Death, Taxes and CIMA

“My money goes to my agent, then to my accountant and from him to the tax man.”Glenda Jackson

Jason Nye, CIMA and USHA Mistry, LSBMNothing is as certain as death and taxes. The first can hopefully be delayed with good genes, a good diet and a smattering of exercise. For the second though you need the help of a good accountant.

Jason Nye, Student Recruitment Manager at CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, visited on Monday 25th January 2016 at the invitation of Usha Mistry, Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance and Head of Programme Development at London School of Business and Management (LSBM), to highlight the benefits of potentially studying Management Accounting, to a group of first-year business students at LSBM.

Jason was keen to point out that accounting has evolved into much more than a job that is only useful at tax time. CIMA was committed to producing empowered managers who had a much wider ranging brief then simply crunching numbers. Rather a course and qualification that aimed to produce business leaders that could combines a subtle blend of business and finance in their decision making.

Jason begun by exploring:

1/ CIMA as a professional body. (Who they are and what they do)
2/ What type of employers they work with.
3/ What type of job roles that people who qualify as management accountants do.
4/ How CIMA can help students at LSBM while they are still studying.
Veselka Chokova and Silviya Mutafova at CIMA talk at LSBM on Mon 25th Jan 2016

CIMA had 127,813 students and 99,942 members across 179 countries, as of Dec 2014, and is the largest body representing management accountants in the world. They are however by no means alone. The Financial Reporting Council publishes an annual report called “Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession”, that was last published in June 2015, and found that as of Dec 2014 there were:

  • 166,000 accountancy students in the UK and ROI and over 545,000 worldwide.
  • That despite this enormous number of students, the number of registered auditing firms is relatively small at 6,622 in the UK, and that the ‘Big-Four’ accountancy firms of KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young have been estimated to audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 index.

Jason stressed that becoming a management accountant opened up a far wider array of career opportunities than a traditional accountancy qualification. There are an estimated 5.4 million small and medium sized businesses (any business with less than 250 employees) in the UK as of 2015, employing over 15 million people. As well as the ‘monster’ employers such as the NHS (over 1.5 million employees in England and Scotland), Tesco (500,000) and the Royal Mail (150,000) which cumulatively make up just 0.1% of businesses, but account for around 40% of those employed in the UK. 

CIMA presentation at LSBM

The key takeaway from the talk was that a qualification that focuses on improving both the financial and operational performance of a business, is always going to be in demand by many more firms than just the traditional accountancy giants.

In fact, Jason broke down the role of a management accountant into eight key areas, only one of which (Financial Accounting) might be considered as the ‘traditional’ role of an accountant:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Dynamic Analysis
  • Problem Solving
  • Communicating Problems and Ideas
  • Predicting
  • Strategy Planning
  • Innovating
  • Generating Ideas

Jason was quick to point out though that if you take the Glenda Jackson view of an accountant as a number cruncher who passes your cash over to the taxman (after duly filtering it through a few spreadsheets), that there may be other accounting qualifications, such as ACCA, that are better suited to training as an advanced auditor or tax accountants.

The underlying message being that studying management accounting offers a wider choice of career paths, because of its integration of finance, project and relationship management.

But there is still the matter of both the time and financial commitment involved in doing the course.

In terms of the practicalities of exploring available graduate schemes, internships and placements and direct application opportunities that may help to finance CIMA study, Jason has prepared a useful spreadsheet of job opportunities which you can get an up-to-date version of by emailing Jason.Nye@cimaglobal.com and referencing this page.

Management accountants are as concerned with people and processes as they are the numbers. So, the range of companies that employ management accountants is as wide as the economy itself.

If you want to learn more about studying to become a management accountant then CIMA has an ‘Undergraduate Club’, which is free to join, and has a wide array of articles and resources that you may find interesting – http://undergradclub.cimaglobal.com

Or, if you want to learn more about the accounting qualifications that are available at London School of Business and Management then you can email Usha at Usha.Mistry@lsbm.ac.uk or visit the accounting courses section of our website here - http://www.lsbm.ac.uk/accounting


Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager


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