The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s (ICAI) programmes in chartered accountancy have been quite popular for a long time. However, over the last few years, CIMA has been gaining ground among Indian students too.
Debasish Biswas, country head, CIMA, India, points out that there is a strong demand for accountants all over the world, and a CIMA qualification helps because it is valid in most countries. “As of now, the student base in India is over 5,000 and it has grown by about 60% in 2012-2013. This is because of its focus on practical applications, besides the fact that it is valid in over 100 countries. The entire course fee is only about Rs. 1.2 lakh to Rs. 1.3 lakh, so it is quite affordable too,” he says.
CIMA was set up in the country eight years ago, and it has tie-ups with colleges such as Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Christ College, Manipal University, where it conducts integrated undergraduate programmes.
Typically in India, students enrol for the CIMA programme after clearing their Class 12 exams. “The standard practice among students is to pursue the various levels parallel to their undergraduate degrees, so by the time they finish their college, they will be close to completing all three levels of CIMA,” says Biswas.
It takes around three to three-and-a-half years to complete the programme, on an average, though some students either take longer or finish it in two years. Postgraduate students have the option of taking exemption of some papers or subjects, depending on their specialisations.
As per the CIMA India Salary Survey 2013, the average annual salary for an employee who has done an operation-level CIMA is around Rs. 10.58 lakh, while total qualified members (who have cleared all levels and have relevant work experience) can expect anywhere around Rs. 30 lakh or more a year. The survey also states that the most preferred country of work among CIMA members who want to work abroad is the UK, followed by Australia, Singapore, USA and Canada.
About 78% of all students at the operational/management level agree that the CIMA qualification strengthens their position in salary negotiations. The average salary for students has increased by about 8.8% since 2012, says the report.