By Trevor Mwale : B.Com (Hons) Acc /FCMA / CGMA / MBA (Cum laude)/ M.Inst.D.

My short answer is all of them. That’s a joke! On a more serious note, let us take a dip dive into these 4 globally respected qualifications and understand the differences between them.


CIMA is an abbreviation for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. CIMA is the world’s largest professional body of Management Accountants.

What does a Chartered Management Accountant do? Officially, Chartered Management Accountants help businesses all over the world manage their finances. But there is so much more to it than that. They are business leaders. Innovators. Decision makers. Forecasters. There is no one industry or role that they work in: you will find management accountants in all kinds of companies, public and private, big, and small. Day to day, they interpret financial data, prepare reports, and use business knowledge to help management make decisions. They will always be looking to the future and figuring out ways to improve things for the company.


SAICA is an abbreviation for the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants is the foremost accountancy body in South Africa and one of the leading Institutes in the world.

What does a Chartered Accountant (SA) do? SAICA members are respectable business leaders with expertise in Auditing & Assurance, Taxation, Financial Management, Management Consultancy, Secretarial and Accounting Services, Information Technology, Management Accounting, Corporate Finance, Forensic Accounting, and Insolvency.


ACCA is an abbreviation for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. When you join ACCA, you become part of a diverse body of more than 219,000 members and 527,000 students in 179 countries, the world’s largest body of professional accountants.

What does a Chartered Certified Accountant do? Employers across the globe seek out Chartered Certified Accountants because they know they have the strategic thinking, technical skills, and professional values to drive their organisations forward.


The choice will depend on your passion and motivation. If you are a strategist, pick CIMA. If you are detail oriented and inspired by compliance and financial reporting, pick SAICA if you would like to primarily practice in South Africa or ACCA if you would like to join a global network of professional accountants.

Good luck with your choice. But if you would like us to assist you with your final decision, please get in touch.

Trevor is a Chartered Management Accountant (FCMA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), holder of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with Distinction and Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Accounting. Trevor is a Finance Director, a CIMA, ACCA, CFA & SAICA lecturer and Pilot by passion. He is Founder & CEO of the College of Chartered Accountants www.cacollege.co.za. info@cacollege.co.za. +27 87 284 6390.