Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

This is the oldest professional body of management accountants in Sri Lanka. CIMA was granted a Royal Charter in 1986. Originally from the UK, most of its Asian operations are now run via their office in Malaysia.

For many years it was an excellent alternative to an undergraduate degree in accounting (taking almost 3-years of study). Of recent times, however, it has gone after membership growth by: (1) forming links with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and offering a joint qualification, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), for AICPA members without any further assessment and just for the payment of a fee (a majority of AICPA members have done only basic undergraduate studies in management accounting); and (2) giving their CGMA qualification to those who attend a 4-Day course and undertake a case study. CIMA is a member of IFAC, a body set up for financial accounting professional bodies, indicating its preference for its members to be seen an as generalist accountants, rather than management accountants. CIMA’s links with AICPA also underlines this preference. CIMA has been given a Rating 1 by the website Unidegree.com.

 

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA(SL))

This is the original National Body of Accountants, it is recognised as the torch bearers of the accounting and auditing profession in Sri Lanka. CA (SL) is one of the country’s foremost and largest professional organizations that has produced chartered accountants that today hold key positions in Sri Lanka and internationally. The Institute provides leadership and insight to the accountancy and finance profession in Sri Lanka as well as globally. For many years it was an excellent alternative to an undergraduate degree in accounting (taking almost 3-years of study). However, due to strong competition from CIMA, CA(SL) changed its syllabus to be more contemporary (including more cost and management accounting subjects), and opened its doors island-wide to those seeking its CA qualification (similar to CIMA). The system of having to serve ‘articles’ in only a CA firm was replaced with the ability to gain accounting experience in designated large businesses (similar to CIMA). The training of CA that was earlier done exclusively by CA(SL) in their own premises was now outsourced to a number of private sector training organisations ‘accredited’ by CA(SL) (again similar to CIMA). This resulted in a very significant increase in the supply of qualified CAs; but with much variability in the quality of their education and training, and in their command of the English language. CA (SL) is a member of IFAC, a body set up for financial accounting professional bodies. CA (SL) has been given a Rating 1 by the website Unidegree.com.

 

 

Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA(Aust))

ICMA(Aust) is a professional association incorporated in Australia in 1996. ICMA(Aust) offers a number of seminars, training programs and other development activities worldwide; and has programs that offer industry-based certification for best practice in decision information and control systems. ICMA(Aust) is an examining body, and members are required to pass examinations and other assessments and have 5-years of relevant work experience prior to describing themselves as Certified Management Accountants (CMAs). Business organizations worldwide are also accredited by the Institute as providing suitable training and experience programs for prospective members to obtain their experience requirements for membership.  In 1999, CA(SL) Council entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICMA(Aust) to provide technical collaboration to conduct a course in the new area of strategic management accounting for the members of CA(SL) as well as those of other professional accounting bodies. As such, the ICMA (Aust)’s CMA program is the first post-graduate level management accounting qualification worldwide, and many universities have granted credit exemptions in their MBA and Master of Accounting post-graduate degree courses. ICMA(Aust) is a member of IMAC,  a body set up for management accounting professional bodies; and has been given a Rating 1 by the website Unidegree.com.

 

Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICMA(SL))

 

In the year 2000, Mr. Lakshman Watawala (who has been accused of terming himself as a Professor)[i], a former president of the Association of Accounting Technicians in Sri Lanka (AAT) formed an association called the Society of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (SCMA). Mr Watawala then convinced the Minister of Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Marketing Development, Hon. Bandula Gunawardena, to table in Parliament on the 18th March 2009 the Bill for the Incorporation of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICMA(SL)). The bill was approved by Parliament and the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Act No. 23 of 2009 was passed on the 20th April 2009. ICMA(SL) was quickly labelled as a ‘copycat’ certification by the media, that was attempting to ‘shadow brand’ by copying an established name like CIMA; and that this was tantamount in law to ‘passing off’. The members of CIMA (UK) and ICMA(Aust) quickly started using the country of origin of their qualifications in brackets to differentiate themselves from the ICMA(SL)’s ACMAs, FCMAs and CMAs who were deemed as sub-standard professionals. ICMA (SL) is a member of IFAC, a body set up for financial accounting professional bodies, indicating its preference for its members to be seen an as generalist accountants, rather than management accountants. ICMA(SL) has been given a Rating 3 (lowest) by the website Unidegree.com.

 



[i] Mr. Watawala’s professorial claims have been questioned in the newspapers (Shauketaly, 2009c). He has not responded to the accusations that although he calls himself ‘professor’, he has no academic qualifications, and has held no academic position in any university.