How to get awarded in CIMA diploma after completing the Operational level?

Replies : 38
Keywords: Award, CIMA diploma


I have passed P4 under the 2005 Syllabus, and have two exemptions in P1 and P7 under the old Syllabus as well. Does it mean that I have finished the Operational level under the 2010 Syllabus? If that is the case, how do I apply for the award of CIMA diploma in Management Accounting?

Many thanks!


I don't think so

You don't apply for it - you'll get it it you're entitled to it.  I suspect you need to pass at least 1 exam under the 2010 syllabus to get the diploma.  As you've passed P4 and exempt P1 & 7 I doubt you'll get it.

Diploma award


As long as you sit and pass at least one subject in the relevant level, you will be awarded a certificate on completion of that level.

Therefore, as you have sat and passed P4 and completed the other two by exemption, under the 2010 syllabus you are entitled to the award of diploma in management accounting.

The certificates are sent to you automatically, but if you haven't received them within two months contact CIMA or you might have to pay a fee.

Good luck for your managerial studies 



Chucky wrote:

Therefore, as you have sat and passed P4 and completed the other two by exemption, under the 2010 syllabus you are entitled to the award of diploma in management accounting.

But my point is P4 isn't "under the 2010 syllabus".


Jamie wrote:

But my point is P4 isn't "under the 2010 syllabus".

Any papers passed under the 2005 syllabus will be converted to their equivalents under the 2010 syllabus, P4 will therefore become E1. So under the 2010 syllabus, Jasmine will receive a credit for passing E1 (although passed under 2005 syllabus as P4). Exemptions awarded for P1 & P7 become P1 and F1 respectively. 

This satisfies the conditions for the award of a certificate - diploma in MA - being that at least one paper out of a completed level must be sat and passed

Still don't think so

Maybe someone from CIMA will clarify this on Monday but I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply retrospectively for the awarding of diplomas.  Credit is given as you describe but that's different.

If you're right then I should be getting one having already passed P1, 4 & 7!

Not that I really want it now as I'm entitled to the Advanced Diploma following the November sitting.

Case closed

You will be awarded two certificates under the new 2010 syllabus if you have completed the 2005 managerial level by sitting and passing at least one 2010 equivalent paper at each level of new 2010 syllabus


An unexpected bonus

Thanks for clearing that up.  I look forward to my 2 diplomas then :)

Think again Chucky!

I knew it was too good to be true.  To quote from Ask the Expert 2010 Syllabus Aug 09:

"If you complete P7 from the 2005 syllabus in November 2009 (and have already completed P1 and P4) you will not receive the Diploma in Management Accounting when your credits are transferred over to the new 2010 syllabus."

I think that closes the case unless Cima have changed their mind?

2 diplomas

I was keen on getting a diploma and another 1 in May, damn CIMA!!!

Ooops!..I stand corrected

One paper would need to be passed at each level under the new syllabus in order to qualify for the diploma.

 Case re-opened and closed :-))

I thank you ;)

Do you think Jasmine cares anymore?


Wow! I didn't expect my topic would be so popular over the weekend! :)

Jamie, yes of course I still care! :)

I'm keen on getting a diploma only because I thought that would look better on my CV? I just graduated from my masters degree and am looking for jobs at the moment, so I'm just thinking how to make my CV more stand out in the current market.

 but thank you all for the kind replies!!! Hopefully CIMA people could clarify that for us?

Diploma in Management Accounting

Hello everyone,

You will not be entitled to receive the Diploma in Management Accounting until you have completed the Operational level and you will need to have sat at least one examination under the 2010 syllabus.

If you completed this level under the 2005 syllabus, then unfortunately you will not receive this certificate, as it did not exist in the prior syllabus.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

Beth CIMASphere Moderator


Hi... I had the same issue as Jasmine's, and e-mailed CIMA contact regarding it. Here is the CIMA official reply.

"Thank you for your email regarding certificates.

We regret to inform you that you are not entitled to the CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting as you sat the equivalent of the Operational level papers under the previous syllabus.

The certificates are for students who complete the Operational level from the May 2010 exams onwards.

If you have any further enquiries do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)20 8849 2251.

Diploma (equivalent)

Thought this was the case.

However in terms of CVs etc is it quite okay to put something like "CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting (equivalent)".

As I was thinking that there will be people who passed (at least one) on the new syllabus and get the bit of paper but people like myself who have completed the 3 under the old syllabus haven't, yet we have achieved the same level (according to transition rules).

I never know what to put to be honest but want recognition for passing the 3 exams!!

same boat

I also don't have a clue what's appropriate to put on my CV, so I just put "currently studying Manahement Level, have passed Operational Level".

What do you guys think?

Artistic licence

The CV's a bit of personal marketing and you've got to sell yourself so LeeCad's idea of Dip in Man Acc (Equiv) seems fair enough to me.  You can always elaborate, if required, at interview.  I don't think anyone could question the validity of your claim.

CIMA response

From CIMA's perspective, I would caution against using Dip in Man Acc (equivalent) on your CV. I understand where you're coming from, but that isn't a statement that CIMA would endorse and we wouldn't want you to end up in a sticky spot you have to explain your way out of. It's much safer to take Jasmine's approach and list that you are a student who has passed the Operational level.


CIMAsphere moderator

Playing devil's advocate

But the Operational level didn't exist either under the 2005 syllabus?  Should it not be Operational level Equivalent then?  I think either cv description could (and should) be easily explained if you get your cv past the first screening.  It would give you an opportunity to talk about your successes to date and what they mean.

What is CIMAs problem?

I quit CIMA in 2007 and I've just been given more of a motivation not to come back (as I'm currently considering it) ...

but that isn't a statement that CIMA would endorse and we wouldn't want you to end up in a sticky spot

So if some employer contacted you and said we have a candidate who has passed P1, P4 and P7 under the 2005 syllabus. He says that this is equivalent to the Operational Level which is the Diploma Managment Accounting stage under the new syllabus... is this correct? You wouldn't confirm this FACT!?

If it's equivalent, it's equivalent ... if it isn't , it isn't and I should have to retake the 3 exams on the new syllabus!!

Artistic licence? - beware the employer's perspective

Hi all. As an employer I recruit a lot of people from other institutes as well as CIMA; while I can understand students wanting certificates and diplomas from CIMA to record your way-points towards qualification, can I suggest, be careful how you describe your progress on your CVs.

While quoting diplomas and equivalents might impress the less-aware HR and recruitment people you'll come across from time to time, at some stage of your application for a finance role you're more than likely to have it reviewed by a qualified accountant. And, to them, bluntly, you're either qualified or you're not. If you're not, then employers are generally looking to confirm "not yet". Jasmine's and Hilary's approach is wise, factual, and leads straight into conversations about what you've done and where you're going. Any other approach is likely to lead to the aroma of fertiliser drifting gently across your application - and while that might be good for roses it's definitely not good for you.

In the cases where your particular stage in your journey is important, then again whether or not you've got an actual "diploma" isn't particularly relevant. What counts is at what stage you're studying now - foundation, intermediate or advanced AAT; operational, management or strategic CIMA? - and when you plan to qualify. Recognition on the way is nothing more or less than applause part-way through the marathon.

So don't let yourselves get distracted. Learning to be qualified is like baking a cake; the ingredients are vitally important, but it's the end result that people are waiting for.


Thank you Adrian! That is a brilliant and uplifting reply!!! It is good to know the point of view from an employer. Thank you again!!

Great to have an employer's perspective

Adrian, thanks for that excellent and very helpful explanation of the employer's perspective.

Thanx Adrian

Thanks for that insight, i was also caught between the two...@least now i have an idea on what to write on my CV. Thanx again.

One view!

Hate to break up the love-in but just because you think Adrian backs up your view doesn't mean it's gospel. 

He admits it might impress some - which is my point.  It's tough out there folks and every little helps.  The "you're qualified or you're not" attitude makes it all irrelevant anyway and is akin to the "you're either a Chartered Accountant or you're not" attitude that we should all condemn.

As I said earlier, and nobody answered, it's not "factual" to claim to have passed the operational level when the exams you passed weren't part of it.

Fundamentally the exams are equivalent and that's all you would be claiming - whether it's diploma or operational level equivalent.  I don't see any attempt to decieve in what I've advocated.  I'm just trying to help people caught in this position and put at a (slight) disadvantage relative to their potential job rivals at the same stage of exams.

'Qualified/not qualified" is nothing like "ACA or not"

Can I please correct two of Jamie's interpretations of what I've just said. One of them surprises and concerns me so much I'm posting on a Sunday morning!

First, "qualified / not qualified" is fundamentally different from "ACA / not ACA". It's a statement of fact, not attitude. In trying to keep my post brief, the point I obviously didn't make clear enough is that the main filter (not discrimination) most employers make in applications is between those who are already qualified and those who are not. Within the band of those still studying, the main filter is usually between those at 'basic' level for their institutes, those at intermediate, and those close to completing their journey. In my experience over about 15 years and across many finance communities, candidates' study progress isn't usually ranked much more than that.

So for most purposes looking at our students' journeys from outside, what's relatively "irrelevant" is your specific position within levels at any one time; what's deeply "relevant" is that you're on the journey and you're demonstrating progress towards your ultimate goal.

Stating that you're now studying at your current level and when you plan to sit finals avoids any problem or argument about transitioning, and much better demonstrates your level of learning and commitment. Look forward, not back.

(Just to avoid any further misinterpretation, I don't look down on students as "pah - not qualified". And I'm not saying previous exam successes aren't to be applauded and recognised, but the CV isn't the place to look for that.) 

Second, my point was that the only people this "equivalent" will impress are those who know nothing at all about the journey you're on. Every qualified accountant has already done what you're doing; we know already what you're achieving, and you don't need to pad your successes.

I'll leave students to put on their CV whatever they want to. Just remember, there are two ways to stand out from the crowd, and only one of them is good.

Valid view

That's useful clarification.  We can only use our experience to form opinions and they're all valid.

My experience is probably very different from yours.  Where I come from the SME sector is a huge slice of the job market.  Having worked in it all my life on both sides of the fence, so to speak, I can assure you that there are lots of people in positions of power that don't really know what they should be looking for in an accounting professional.  If they can't afford, or don't want to pay, to employ a qualified accountant they can be easily impressed by diplomas and the like.  That may be a very different concept to what you're used to, but it's the way it frequently is in small private businesses.

How to communicate to your chosen market?

Hate to start another love-in (although the first one was quite nice!) but between us all it seems we're getting to both the problem and the solution.

I'd still strongly caution against claiming any diploma someone can't actually produce, but it's a very good point that some audiences won't fully understand the nuances that are so much a part of our profession.

Chapter Street's people do all they can to promote CIMA, and a lot goes on through the regions, but there are a lot of SMEs out there and not that many of us. Still a long way to go then.

Feel the love...

I feel I can join in now.   x ;)

one under new syllabus..

hi, i passed p1 and p7 under old syllabus and passed E1 under new syllabus. so i want to knw whether is it possible for me to get Diploma in management accounting certificate.. when i askd cima sri lanka division they told that ill only get advance diploma.. hope some one will clarify this for me..