Have you ever noticed how one accountant might have certain letters after their name and another offering the same services might have completely different letters?
Unlike solicitors, dentists or doctors, accountancy as an industry is unregulated by the government, this means that anyone can sell accountancy services regardless of their qualification, many small business owners are surprised when they hear this.
There are however several professional bodies for accountants that require their members to gain a qualification and make sure they are correctly insured, experienced and up to date in the way they work, the letters after an accountants name represent the professional institute they are part of.
For example common qualifications for practicing accountants come with the letters ACA (associate chartered accountant) or ACCA (associate chartered certified accountant), these are both regulatory bodies that accountants can qualify through.
Members of CIMA (Chartered institute of management accountants) have the letters ACMA (associate chartered management accountant) after their names and are required to complete an intense 3 year course and obtain the appropriate level of experience before being awarded the qualification.
While all of the chartered accountancy qualifications are well rounded and cover the essentials of accounting, becoming a chartered management accountant means that you have specialised in business strategy and managing the performance of a business.
In order to help their members better integrate into businesses the CIMA course covers marketing, operations, customer service and management, understanding how all of these other areas are linked to finance is at the heart of being a management accountant and a key consideration when making any decision.
Training often requires putting candidates in the position of a director or business owner and seeing how they respond to certain challenges, this builds empathy and helps chartered management accountants communicate effectively as they understand what the key issues are from the point of view of the people they are supporting.
My CIMA qualification has been absolutely crucial in helping me support my clients while they are developing a strategy for their own businesses, in the new age of accountancy where focus is moving away from tax work there is more demand for professionals to provide solid business advice and help with strategy.
If you are interested in finding out a bit more about my qualification and how I’ve helped my clients then please get in touch for a free initial meeting.