28 Apr 2016 20:13 IST

The new certification is more relevant now, says CIMA's Head of Syllabus

Shane Balzan says students can choose to do the management accountant's course part-time or full-time

CIMA's newly updated Certificate in Business Accounting is a competency-based qualification which was developed to bridge the employability gap, says Shane Balzan, Head of Syllabus Development at The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) - Global. Shane, who is currently in India to launch the updated Certificate in Business Accounting spoke to BLonCampus about the newly announced certification and changes the organisation has introduced to make it more relevant to the current business environment.

Why did you feel the need to update the existing certification?

The current qualification i.e., Certificate in Business Accounting, was introduced in 2011—that's five years ago. Since then, a lot of things have changed. It is important that the qualification reflects the modern business. Thus, we decided to make it more relevant to the current environment.

Additionally, to bridge the employability gap, we asked the employers to identify the skills and competencies they look for in their employees and used the educators and academicians to translate their competencies into the educational learning outcomes.

What are the changes that have been introduced in the new certification?

Earlier, it used to be a five-subject certification. Now, it is more concise and is a four-subject programme. The subjects include introduction to business economics, management accounting, financial accounting, and a mix of ethics, corporate governance and business law. It's a well rounded qualification which gives people an introduction to business accounting.

Some of the newer concepts that we have introduced are big data and data analytics, and how they can be used to predict customer behaviour and the value of products. Concepts such as outsourcing and off shoring have also been introduced. These subjects are specific particularly typical for India.

We have also updated the management accounting subject to introduce global management accounting principles, which was launched globally last year.

The ethics and law section was also updated to make sure it isn’t isn’t case centric and now looks at the best global practices rather than being based on any specific legislation. So now, it doesn't matter if the student is studying in London or New Delhi, the qualification is equally relevant.

How are the students going to be certified?

We have adopted a fairly flexible approach and there are several methods of learning. Some people just buy text books and study by themselves. Students also have the option of partly learning online and the other part, in person. There are also fully online and complete physical class versions as well.

What are the qualifications required to enrol for the programme?

It is an open programme so anyone can enrol. People who want to complete the full qualification, i.e. the four certificate programme and become an accountant, will need to take the course. The programme is also open to someone who wants to learn more on finance — these people need not work in the domain, but have an interest in the subject. Even entrepreneurs who want to learn more about business and finance to run their start-ups efficiently.

How many people sit for the exam every year?

Globally, about 10,000 people complete the certificate in business accounting. In India, about 800-1000 people complete the certification every year, and about 5,000 complete the entire qualification.

How much does the certification cost?

The certification costs around £357 or ₹36,000 approximately.