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Old 17.08.2015, 04:51
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CPA (Canada) or CIMA? Moving the Switzerland

Hello,

I'm looking for some advice.

I'm currently working in accounting for a Canadian financial institution for the past year and I'll be starting the CPA program in September. I have a total of 4 years experience in accounting.

I plan on moving to Switzerland in November in order to be closer the family(I'm an EU national), and I'm wondering if it's even worth completing the CPA program since it will take at least 2.5 years, and I'll have to come back to Canada 6 times a year for mandatory workshops and exams (6 X $1,200 plane ticket) which might be a pain for an employer.

The CPA program in Canada is a unification of the old CA, CMA, and CGA designations. It now offers different electives (tax, audit, finance, performance management) depending on your career interests.

I'm thinking of signing up for the CIMA program which focusses on the electives I would have selected with the CPA program. Furthermore, I could complete the CIMA program on a full-time basis in a year and a half (instead of 3 years + part-time) and command a higher salary once completed.

1. Do you think it will be hard to secure employment in accounting without having a designation?
2. Is the CIMA as well respected as the CPA designation?

I would appreciate comments from HR, Finance, and accounting professionals.

Thank you,
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Old 18.08.2015, 02:34
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Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Hi,

Is the Certified Management Accountant designation well recognized in Switzerland?

Thanks,
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  #3  
Old 18.08.2015, 23:05
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

im not sure its recognized as a serious qualification when compared to say CIMA or even ACA. CMA is US based and easy to get in comparison, since its usually just one or two exams.
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Old 19.08.2015, 02:48
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Hi Halfasleep,

CIMA is = the ACMA, CGMA designations?

When I looked up Swiss professionals with the CMA vs the ACMA, CGMA designations on LinkedIn, I get more hits with the CMA.

The majority of accounting opportunities in Switzerland are very interesting. What I find strange is that most of my Swiss friends have good accounting position with no designation.

I'm assuming that any designation in Switzerland will get you a decent well paying job. You might not become CFO as easily with the CMA but the designation allow you to progress professionally and do interesting work.

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Old 19.08.2015, 12:55
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

things work differently here. in my experience, qualifications matter less, more about who you know or if the person in charge is swiss, being swiss has an advantage...you can probably even become CFO without having worked in finance!

Most of the companies ive worked here, the accounting staff are usually swiss, its common to take apprenticeships or join after from uni. you dont need a management accounting background for that (management accounting is more finance focused and not for accounting roles)
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Old 19.08.2015, 15:17
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

being CIMA qualified, I found out while applying with the local MNEs that it gave me a huge advantage.


But it depends on the hiring manager's knowledge of these qualifications - with local companies/managers I imagine you'll get less recognition.
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Old 20.08.2015, 02:30
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Perhaps an MBA from a Swiss business school would be a good idea to get local recognition (on top of the CMA)?


Are MBAs in Switzerland as valued as in America (top schools)?


I'm moving to Switzerland in a year, so it would give me enough time to complete the CMA before I start an MBA program. The CMA would give me some knowledge of US GAAP which I do see as a requirement on some job postings.


I looked at the CIMA program, although the testing is different, there is lots of overlap. Should an employer require this designation, I don't think it would be very difficult after going through the CMA (US) and MBA.


Does it look like a good plan?
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Old 20.08.2015, 11:49
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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Perhaps an MBA from a Swiss business school would be a good idea to get local recognition (on top of the CMA)?


Are MBAs in Switzerland as valued as in America (top schools)?


I'm moving to Switzerland in a year, so it would give me enough time to complete the CMA before I start an MBA program. The CMA would give me some knowledge of US GAAP which I do see as a requirement on some job postings.


I looked at the CIMA program, although the testing is different, there is lots of overlap. Should an employer require this designation, I don't think it would be very difficult after going through the CMA (US) and MBA.


Does it look like a good plan?
The only MBAs in CH worth doing are IMD and St. Gallen.

If you get a MBA from a prestigious institution, then your CMA will be of a much less importance when looking for a job. Having a CMA will definitely help you but the nature of the job you will do as a MBA is $higher$ than that of a CMA.
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Old 20.08.2015, 12:39
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

I understand the IMD and St. Gallen are the top two programs and are very well ranked by the Financial Times.

Why you think here's no value to having an HEC Geneva, HEC Lausanne MBA, or Universitat MBA?
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Old 20.08.2015, 12:44
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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I understand the IMD and St. Gallen are the top two programs and are very well ranked by the Financial Times.

Why you think here's no value to having an HEC Geneva, HEC Lausanne MBA, or Universitat MBA?
He repeats the same post over and over again here. I guess he probably has one of the two himself and needs some assurance that he paid the big bucks for a reason.

If you are neither planning to be a top guy at one of the big four or work in IB will you be more than fine with one of the quality programs you mentioned. (And even that is changing as more and more of the top MBAs don't really want to work in banking anymore: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...ans-i-m-sorry- )
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Old 20.08.2015, 12:57
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

One of my former managers used to describe those "top" MBAs as being seagulls:


fly in, make a lot of noise, drop a lot of shit, then leave for better.
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Old 20.08.2015, 15:09
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Hi Treverus and hans1,

Thanks for the link. I have read similar articles recently as well. I have no intention of going in IB or big 4. My friends that have chosen to go the big 4 route have done so to get their designations, but they are now all trying to get into tech.

I have only heard good things from Swiss friends about HEC Lausanne, HEC Genève and the Universitat of Zurich.

There have been lots of changes in important sector of the Swiss economy and more to come. I'm looking for the skills that will allow me to be competitive (in non-banking roles).

Obviously there are always going to be debates on which are the best accounting designations. Most of it comes from professionals that are defending their designations. Since I've been working in a big accounting department (~50 people) I have not seen any difference between people who have CPAs, CMAs, CGAs, or even MBAs. Obviously someone who only has an MBA probably won't be a good fit in an external reporting role. Experience and drive has been the major differentiating factor.

I felt that although the CMA wasn't as known in Europe it might be more valuable than the Canadian CPA and a good starting point. It also has the benefit of going through US GAAP which seems to be in demand due to American companies with branches in Switzerland. A professional recommended seeking a designation from the country in which the companies that interest you are headquartered. It seems to be a very valid point.

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Old 20.08.2015, 17:07
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Ive worked with people with all sorts of MBAs and fancy designations yet they lack business sense and leadership. Some MBA programs around europe are laughable given the cost, a colleague was doing a one year executive MBA and some of the content was so basic something i covered first year at university in one term. these days you can do even online MBAs its crazy the way they are popularizing these and raking in the money.

Personally if I was to do an MBA it would be from the US, Harvard, Stanford or maybe London business school. If you are just going to work in an accounting department in switzerland you dont need anything.
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Old 20.08.2015, 20:39
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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Ive worked with people with all sorts of MBAs and fancy designations yet they lack business sense and leadership. Some MBA programs around europe are laughable given the cost, a colleague was doing a one year executive MBA and some of the content was so basic something i covered first year at university in one term. these days you can do even online MBAs its crazy the way they are popularizing these and raking in the money.

Personally if I was to do an MBA it would be from the US, Harvard, Stanford or maybe London business school. If you are just going to work in an accounting department in switzerland you dont need anything.
I've also worked with plenty of the "heap scorn on MBAs" types who couldn't problem solve their way out of a paper bag. Anecdotes do not data make.
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Old 20.08.2015, 20:54
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

Hey, guys lets not turn this into an MBA bashing.

Paying up in order to have educational recognition is part of the game.

It open doors for hungry guys looking to establish themselves. Even in the top schools not everyone is equivalent.
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Old 20.08.2015, 22:05
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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these days you can do even online MBAs its crazy the way they are popularizing these and raking in the money.
I did one of those and it was far from 1st semester stuff - it was way harder than my two undergraduate degrees and while the school never published it (to not scare off potential students...) had a drop out rate of easily two thirds.
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Old 21.08.2015, 16:52
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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I understand the IMD and St. Gallen are the top two programs and are very well ranked by the Financial Times.

Why you think here's no value to having an HEC Geneva, HEC Lausanne MBA, or Universitat MBA?
These programs are "good" and you will learn a lot, no question, but they won't provide a "boost" in your career as IMD or St. Gallen. It's a question of return on investment: the median salary after graduation for IMD graduates are considerably higher than those average programs.
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Old 21.08.2015, 16:53
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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He repeats the same post over and over again here. I guess he probably has one of the two himself and needs some assurance that he paid the big bucks for a reason.
No, I haven't attended neither IMD nor St. Gallen. But why such nonsense comment about me? Or are you a frustrated person who got dinged these schools?

Last edited by Capo; 21.08.2015 at 17:18.
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Old 21.08.2015, 17:17
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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Hey, guys lets not turn this into an MBA bashing.

Paying up in order to have educational recognition is part of the game.

It open doors for hungry guys looking to establish themselves. Even in the top schools not everyone is equivalent.
Cornelius, people who like to go on MBA bashing are either those who don't have a clue about what they are talking about or are envious about those who went to a top program.

Back back to the original question:

Perhaps an MBA from a Swiss business school would be a good idea to get local recognition (on top of the CMA)?

I guess a Swiss MBA won't really boost your CMA recognition in CH. CMA covers a specific specialized skill set. If a company has a demand for a "certified" accountant, a MBA will be of a little help since it's a generic degree and accounting is just a small part of the curriculum. In fact a MBA might help you if you want to move away from accounting.
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Old 22.08.2015, 03:10
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Re: Are CMA's well recognized in Switzerland?

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Cornelius, people who like to go on MBA bashing are either those who don't have a clue about what they are talking about or are envious about those who went to a top program.

Back back to the original question:

Perhaps an MBA from a Swiss business school would be a good idea to get local recognition (on top of the CMA)?

I guess a Swiss MBA won't really boost your CMA recognition in CH. CMA covers a specific specialized skill set. If a company has a demand for a "certified" accountant, a MBA will be of a little help since it's a generic degree and accounting is just a small part of the curriculum. In fact a MBA might help you if you want to move away from accounting.

Capo, thanks for participating in the forum.


There seems to be a clear message from everyone:
- complete a European accounting designation;
- an MBA program is probably not required at this point.


My decision:
- complete the CMA since I still have a few month before moving;
- complete the CIMA program;
- keep the MBA as a last resource in case two designations, my charm, and experience can't get me a job. Or, if I need a career push at one point.


Now lets just see what happens with the CHF. It's moving up (against the CAD)!
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