Masters Degree , AAT, CIMA, ACA, ACCA, Globally recognition

Hi there, I am originally from Spain but I am working in London. Im already qualified as I have a 5 years degree in business administration and management. Currently I am working in the account department of a multinational company in London and I would like to study a masters degree or go for ACCA, ACA, AATor CIMA exams. My question is what it´s better to do here in the UK , study a masters degree or obtain one of the accountancy certificaction? Are the CIMA and AAT exams globally recognized?
If I pass the CIMA or the AAT certifications would I be able to apply for jobs in other countries like Canada , Australia ( Commonwealth countries ) and the US ? Or is it better to study a masters degree so as to work in any country in the world?

Many thanks



  • Zoynal98
    Zoynal98 Registered Posts: 65
    I think it depends on how financially stable you are. Do you plan to do an MBA?

    In my opinion you are more marketable if you have an Accounting qualification especially if you plan to work within the finance sector.
  • ManiGoldwater
    ManiGoldwater Registered Posts: 11
    The decision to pursue any of the routes depend on your ultimate career goals.
    Route 1: Vocational Qualifications such as AAT, ACCA, ACA or CIMA leading to a Master's degree
    Route 2: Degree program giving exemptions from some or all of the papers from vocational qualifications above.

    In my opinion if you pursue a degree program (route 2) and do not secure enough marks or minimum required marks then it would be harder to get exemption from key papers. Furthermore, paper by paper exemptions normally require you to have considerable portion of topics taught in that paper to be covered by your Master's module content. Whilst a Master's degree increases your job promotion aspects, however, a Master's program is merely an academic qualification and does not fully prepare you for vocational aspects required in your job. Overall, I feel that students who have completed at least AAT or some stages of other accounting qualifications have optimized chances to get distinction in Masters in Accounting/Finance since they understand the concepts better before they even enter the classroom and so perform better as well. Remember that Masters qualification are quite intensive so for individuals wanting to work and study at the same time it can be quite challenging. The point is that a Masters degree does not automatically gives you exemptions from professional vocational qualifications and you may find yourself redoing some papers afterwards.

    Should you choose the vocational qualification route (route 1), not only can you secure another bachelor's degree but a Master's level qualification as well. For example, if you pursue ACCA, you can apply for Bachelor's degree after F9 for which you have to complete a dissertation (you may already qualify for exemptions since you already have a degree). You can also apply for a Master's level qualification after P3. University of London has one such program where you can pursue an MSc in Professional Accountancy with the University of London at the same time as taking your professional qualification with ACCA. I still have to find more about this program. Please see the following link:

    Similarly, with CIMA many institutes offer a master's pathway. One such example is London School of Business and Finance. Please see the following link:

    Although I yet have to explore more options for ACA but it is worth looking at the following link as it indicates a similar pathway as well:

    With AAT, of which I am a great fan, to my knowledge you can pursue a Bachelor's program after the last level. Please see the following link to see a list of universities offering various programs:

    Personally, in spite of having amazing grades in school which easily qualified me for any Russel group university, I decide to pursue the vocational pathway to obtain a bachelor's degree by first doing AAT and then pursuing either ACCA, ACA or CIMA with Masters. I must admit that by progressing through AAT I got an in depth understanding of accounting concepts. I sill have to complete two last papers from AAT level 4 but I would say that whenever I take a little peek at ACCA papers every now and then, I now find them quite easy to grasp than before since AAT makes you dig deeper into basic concepts at each level and thoroughly prepares you for the challenges posed by other higher level vocational qualifications ahead so you are no longer left scratching your head.

    As for global recognition, CIMA gives you Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) status [Please see,].
    As for AAT's standing in the global scenerio, please see the following link:

    With reference to overseas job applications, technically each country has its own rules and each job comes with its own requirements so suitability of your vocational qualification or degree would really depend on specific country laws and job requirements as well as if the employing company will be ready/allowed to sponsor foreign applicants, especially in the US where many firms may not be willing to sponsor a foreign prospective employee due to complex and lengthy procedures involved (please see the link below):

    Please do not consider the above information as definitive, do your own research and do feel free to correct me at any point if I am wrong.

    Do also see Bertie's reply to your other post which I think is quite useful as well.

    I hope this information was helpful and I wish you the best in your future prospects.

    Best Regards,

  • jlondoner
    jlondoner Registered Posts: 4
    Zoynal98 said:

    I think it depends on how financially stable you are. Do you plan to do an MBA?

    In my opinion you are more marketable if you have an Accounting qualification especially if you plan to work within the finance sector.

    Many thanks. So you reckon I could have better opportunities to find a good job with an accounting qualification.
    I could afford both , a master degree or an accounting one. (financially talking) But I wanna go for the most useful and the fastest way to become an accountant or a financial controller.

    Many thanks
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