Letus Chinyepi – CIMA Country Manager Botswana – offers a deep insight into his institution’s value to the economy and how it continues to attract new entrants.
Briefly tell us about CIMA
Well, CIMA is the world’s largest professional body of Chartered Global Management Accountants, and offers the most relevant accounting qualification for a career in business. We have members and students in 178 countries, making our qualification the preferred choice for employers. This is enhanced by the recent joint venture with the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA) which has over 400 000 members in 145 countries. Through this joint venture, the two of the world’s most prestigious Accounting bodies, AICPA and CIMA, established the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation, which sets new standards for global recognition of Management Accounting. This international designation recognises the most talented and committed management accountants with the discipline and skill to drive strong business performance. This performance is guided by the CGMA competency Framework designed to help management accountants and their employers understand the knowledge requirements and assess the skills needed for both current and desired roles.
Where are you based and how many centres do you have?
We are strategically located at Plot 50374, BICA House, 1st floor; Southern Wing Fair grounds Financial Centre, Gaborone. I am saying strategically because, we are situated in an area were our students both employed and full time students can easily assess our office.
What kind of courses do you offer students?
At entry level, we offer Certificate in Business Accounting for those with little or no accounting background with 5 papers that can be completed in 6 months in the new syllabus though equivalent to programmes that takes 24 months to 48 months. The Cert BA forms the basis of the CIMA professional qualification and is a valuable qualification in its own right. With it you’ll achieve a solid understanding of basic accounting, management accounting and business principles.
The CIMA professional qualification comprises nine separate subjects that are organised in three pillars and three levels. The pillars which are Enterprise, Performance and Financial represent specific areas of knowledge while the three levels of Operational, Management and Strategic represent levels of Achievement. The Operational and Management levels earn you a Diploma in Management and an Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting. Thus, qualifying the notion that every level at CIMA from CBA to Strategic level is a qualification in its own right.
Currently, CIMA has launched the CIMA Undergraduate Club which is mainly designed for business undergraduates who will like to pursue CIMA upon graduating their programmes. The Clubs are joined at a nominal fee of only 10 pounds. The benefits are that, when one joins the club, each year they are a club member, they are discounted 25% on the exemptions they will get upon joining CIMA at their time of graduation. This clubs are to a maximum of 3 years, effectively meaning 75% off the exemption fees if they remain members for the 3 years. This clubs are motivated by the fact that, most CIMA students are under Government sponsorship for their first degrees and will not receive any further sponsorship after graduating their programmes. Therefore the University clubs will ease the burden of personally paying their exemptions which are not know how much they will be given the fact that the British Pound appreciates day by day. This can be registered on-line @ www.cimaglobal.com/businessbrains and a promo code of “REG10BWA15” should be entered from a prospect student to benefit from the offer.
How many students have graduated from CIMA?
As at 31/12/14, we had 350 registered members. CIMA qualification is such that upon completion of the studies, a student is given a period of 3 years to gain practical experience from a relevant field before being accepted as a member. So, I might be having more than 350 members who are probably working in an irrelevant field and not qualifying for CIMA Membership. It is really important for organisations to give this exceptional beings work related to their qualification to really benefit from having a CGMA in their organisation to steer their businesses to a sustainable growth.
How many can be enrolled in a year?
In all honesty, we can enroll as many students as possible in a year as the programme is designed in such a way that one can study in a way that suits their lifestyle. There is Online learning through CIMAstudy.com which is an interactive e-learning environment that covers the entire CIMA syllabus for each subject and, CIMApublishing.com that helps one learn, practise and revise for exams. In these form of study, there are a variety of products and services available, including study texts, Exam practise kits and revision cards. Lastly, there is the common form with majority of students, Learning Partners. This offers a range of tuition including face-to-face classes, distance learning and online or blended learning.
To date, we have 2050 students and I will like to see an increase in the student population given the current economic situation for the corporate world to really yield to their perceived desire through employing CGMA’s. Presently, the government of Botswana wants to diversify the economy from heavy reliance from non-renewable resources like minerals and focus in entrepreneurship which is a very good intervention. My expectation will be for the government through Ministry of Education to sponsor more CIMA students as the qualification through its pillars and levels prepares students for sustainable business management. This will be supported by the fact that CIMA Botswana is in negotiation with some main institutions who offer business courses in Botswana to be CIMA accredited Tuition Providers to accommodate the multitudes of students who will be joining CIMA at the beginning of Botswana Academic year in August 2015.
What type of qualifications does one need to be able to get at place in this course?
One’s existing qualifications and experience will determine what exemptions they may be eligible for and at what level they will enter their studies. Unless if one has a relevant foundation in accounting, they will need to gain the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting before they can start the CIMA Professional qualification.
How do you prepare students for the work place?
The 2015 CIMA syllabus assessment has been designed to bridge the skills gasps of newly qualified finance professionals worldwide, meeting the employability needs of business and people. Major changes have been made to the assessment of candidates in line with developments in the use of technology in education and industry. The structure, type, technology and frequency of assessments have changed. A two tier structure has been introduced, comprising objective tests for each subject and an integrated case study at each level.
Over and above this, the CIMA Office organises Exam Techniques sessions to assist students pass their objective tests taken on demand so as they can hit the ground running ones they get to the workplace.
What do you hope graduates of this course take away from it?
My hope is for the CIMA graduates to continue using their high technical skills, deep understanding of their organisations and the strategic leadership skills obtained from the qualification to resolve the complex, uncertain and ambiguous operating environments of their organisations.