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The Warsaw Voice » Other » February 6, 2008
SPECIAL SECTION - EDUCATION
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ACCA, CIMA, CIM, or Maybe the CIA?
February 6, 2008   
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In an era of growing competition for jobs, prestigious professional qualifications are particularly valuable. In many cases, they are a ticket to an international career.

A degree from a Polish institution of higher education or a Polish MBA are not always recognized by foreign employers. An international professional qualification shows that you have gained specialist knowledge and specific skills. Such qualifications are highly valued everywhere. This is not surprising because the organizations that grant them are managed by eminent professionals. Guided by their own experience and market needs, they determine the scope of the programs and examinations required.

"The best known qualifications are the ACCA for people looking for a career in finance and auditing; the CIMA for those who are more focused on controlling, management accounting and strategic planning; CIM for those involved in marketing, and the CIA for internal auditors," said Wojciech Kryński, managing director of BPP Professional Education Sp. z o.o.

To get any one of these diplomas is not easy. It requires a lot of determination and the need to go through many examinations. "Such examinations are the same throughout the world, which means that Polish managers with an ACCA certificate are of the same standard as their counterparts in London or Hong Kong," said Magda Oleksiuk from the Ernst & Young Academy of Business. "These qualifications are an excellent recommendation for one's employer because they show a readiness for constant self-development and adherence to professional ethics."

ACCA

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is an international organization whose members are financial specialists from all over the world. The ACCA qualification program involves knowledge of finance and accounting, including international financial reporting standards, and of organization and management strategy. In order to become an ACCA member you have to pass 14 exams in English. The minimum cost is nearly £900 in ACCA fees. That covers the examinations, registration and membership. To that you need to add the cost of a preparatory course. Depending on whether you take all exams or only some, the total cost is between zl.14,000 and zl.30,000. Preparatory courses are conducted in Warsaw by BPP Professional Education Sp. z o.o.; the Ernst & Young Academy of Business, which gives a 30-percent discount to graduates and those under 28 years of age; and the London School of Accountancy and Management in Cracow. On average it takes about three years to obtain the certificate. There are examination centers in Warsaw and Cracow. More information at www.accaglobal.com

CIMA

Up to 15 exams must be passed in order to obtain a certificate from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The cost is about £900, covering CIMA registration, annual membership and examination fees, plus you have to pay extra for a preparatory training course and textbooks. The total cost is between zl.14,000 and 25,000 depending on the number of exams you take. The CIMA may decide to exempt you from some exams depending on the type of degree you have. The CIMA program consists of three parts. The first part are Certificate Level exams that are held in the form of computer tests, which can be taken at any time throughout the year. Exams in the other two parts, Managerial and Strategic, are held twice a year: in May and November. On average it takes about two-and-a-half years to obtain the CIMA certificate. Courses are organized by BPP Professional Education Sp. z o.o., which is also the only center in Poland authorized to conduct the first five computer CIMA (C1-C5) exams. The remaining exams can also be taken in Warsaw. More information at www.cimaglobal.com

CIM

Developed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the CIM is a program that aims to upgrade the qualifications of marketing professionals. The CIM program is made up of three levels: basic-Professional Certificate in Marketing (CM); advanced-Professional Diploma in Marketing (PDM), and expert-Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (PPDM). Everyone in Poland can start the program from the second level. The courses cost about zl.8,000 for one complete level. Initial registration is required before you can take the exams, similarly as in the case of the remaining certificates. The CIM registration fee is about zl.750. Four exams in English have to be passed within each level. The cost of each exam is zl.300. It takes about a year to 18 months to obtain a diploma from each level. Preparatory courses are organized by BPP Professional Education Sp. z o.o., Instytut Rozwoju Biznesu (Business Development Institute), and the Leon Koźmiński Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management in Warsaw and Questus in Łódź. The exam centers are in Warsaw. More information at www.cimpoland.pl

CIA

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is an international professional certificate issued by the American Institute of Internal Auditors. As the only universally recognized certificate for internal auditors, the CIA is adapted to the needs of this profession in individual regions in the world. The Institute of Internal Auditors in Poland (IIA Polska) allows candidates to take the exams in Polish. Four exams have to be passed in order to obtain the CIA certification. The cost of training for the CIA exam in Polish is: Part 1-zl.2,800, Part 2-zl.2,350, Part 3-zl.3,300, and Part 4-zl.1,800. IIA Polska members receive a 10-percent discount. To that you have to add registration fees between $30-60 and fees for each exam from $35-110, payable directly to IIA Polska. Preparatory courses are conducted by BPP Professional Education Sp. z o.o. and the Ernst & Young Academy of Business. The exam center is in Warsaw and it takes about 12 months to obtain the CIA certificate. More information at www.iia.org.pl

There are, of course, many more international professional certificates, including the RICS for the building industry, the LLM for the legal profession, and the CFA for capital market professionals. But the ACCA, CIMA, CIM and the CIA are the most widely recognized in the world. "The demand for specialists with such qualification is enormous in Poland, while their number is still small," said Kryński. "Currently, we only have about 900 ACCA members and merely 50 CIMA members."

However, interest in certificates from prestigious institutions is constantly growing in Poland, Kryński says, especially since the country entered the EU. Much as in Britain and Ireland, there is every indication that with time international professional certificates will become the norm in Poland, if not the basic requirement for those who seek senior posts.

Krzysztof Jendrzejczak
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