International Certification Programs
    » Economics, Finance and Accounting

    The ACCA Qualification is designed to provide the accounting knowledge, skills and professional values which will deliver finance professionals who are capable of building successful careers across all sectors, whether they are working in the public or private sectors, practicing in accounting firms, or pursuing a career in business.

    The exams are divided into two levels, Fundamentals and Professional. The Fundamentals level is divided into two modules, Knowledge and Skills.
    The Knowledge module (F1-F3) introduces students to the core areas of financial and management accounting. This provides the platform from which the other technical accountancy areas will be studied in greater detail in the Skills module.

    The Skills module (F4-F9) contains six subjects which comprehensively cover the main technical areas that any accountant - regardless of their future career aspirations - are expected to have mastered. These comprise law, performance management, taxation, financial reporting, auditing, and financial management.

    The Professional level is divided into two modules, Essentials (P1-P3) and Options (P4-P7). Both modules have been set at an intellectual level equivalent to that expected of a student taking a Masters degree. The focus of the syllabus at this level is to build upon the technical skills already acquired, and explore more advanced professional skills, techniques, and values that are required and used by the expert accountant acting in an advisory or consultancy role at a senior level. All students must complete the three papers in the Essentials module.

    The Options module contains four papers. These are directly underpinned and supported by their equivalent within the Skills module in the Fundamentals level. These exams assess the more advanced and sophisticated techniques that a professional needs in order to specialize in specific areas at work or to follow as a career pathway in an advisory or consultancy role. Students select two out of four Option papers and are advised to choose the options that relate to their chosen or anticipated field of work.

    Syllabus structure
    You will need to complete 14 papers in total. A maximum of nine papers in the Fundamentals level are available for exemption.

    Fundamentals level

    o Knowledge
    • F1: Accountant in Business (AB)
    • F2: Management Accounting (MA)
    • F3: Financial Accounting (FA)

    o Skills
    • F4: Corporate and Business Law (CL)
    • F5: Performance Management (PM)
    • F6: Taxation (TX)
    • F7: Financial Reporting (FR)
    • F8: Audit and Assurance (AA)
    • F9: Financial Management (FM)

    Professional level

    o Essentials
    • P1: Professional Accountant (PA)
    • P2: Corporate Reporting (CR)
    • P3: Business Analysis (BA)

    o Options (two to be completed)
    • P4: Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
    • P5: Advanced Performance Management (APM)
    • P6: Advanced Taxation (ATX)
    • P7: Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)

    As many as 85% of accountants today work inside organizations, where expertise in decision support, planning, and control over value-adding operations are crucial elements of operational success. In earning the CMA, you will have mastered a comprehensive body of knowledge directly related to operational and strategic management as well as the skills and abilities required to build quality business practices inside organizations.
    The CMA Program has four objectives:
    • To establish management accounting as a recognized profession by identifying the role of the management accountant and financial manager, the underlying body of knowledge, and a course of study by which such knowledge is acquired;
    • To encourage higher educational standards in the management accounting field;
    • To establish an objective measure of an individual’s knowledge and competence in the field of management accounting; and
    • To encourage continued professional development by management accountants.

    CMA Content Specification Overview

    Part 1: Business Analysis
    • Business Economics
    • Global Business
    • Internal Controls
    • Quantitative Methods
    • Financial Statement Analysis

    Part 2: Management Accounting and Reporting
    • Budget Preparation
    • Cost Management
    • Information Management
    • Performance Measurement
    • External Financial Reporting

    Part 3: Strategic Management
    • Strategic Planning
    • Strategic Marketing
    • Corporate Finance
    • Decision Analysis
    • Investment Decisions

    Part 4: Business Applications
    All topics from Parts 1, 2, and 3 plus:
    • Organization Management
    • Organization Communication
    • Behavioral Issues
    • Ethical Considerations

    The content of the Uniform CPA Examination is based primarily on the results of periodic studies of public accounting practice and the evaluations of CPA practitioners and educators. The content of each examination section is described in a combination of narrative and outline forms known as “content specifications”. The content specifications provide the framework or “blueprint” for testing knowledge and skills on the Uniform CPA Examination.
    The AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) has approved and adopted the following content specification outlines (CSOs) for the four sections of the computer-based Uniform CPA Examination: Auditing & Attestation, Financial Accounting & Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment & Concepts.

    The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four sections:

    • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) This section covers knowledge of auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards and other standards related to attest engagements, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

    • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) This section covers knowledge of general business environment and business concepts that candidates need to know in order to understand the underlying business reasons for and accounting implications of business transactions, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

    • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) This section covers knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles for business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental entities, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

    • Regulation (REG) This section covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, and business law, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

    The CTP sets the standard in the financial profession and is a symbol of excellence. It signifies that an individual has demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to perform competently in today's complex treasury environment.
    As a result of recent changes in corporate America, treasury and finance professionals face more public scrutiny than ever before. They must now demonstrate a mastery of risk management, capital structure, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, in addition to cash management topics. With the CTP designation, AFP recognizes the significant increase in knowledge required of treasury professionals on the job.
    The CTP Examination is based on concepts and experiences in relation to treasury management. Each question on the CTP exam is derived from the body of knowledge, Essentials of Treasury Management, 2nd Edition.
    The Essentials of Treasury Management was developed by a panel of experts to reflect the significant role treasury professionals take in their organizations and the global capital markets. Mastery of the best practices and roles defined in this work, as demonstrated through the CTP, ensures that professionals are prepared for the changing requirements of the profession.

    Corporate Financial Decisions
    Among the most critical financial decisions a company must make are those involving financing, capital structure, asset investments and dividends:
    • Financing Decisions:
    A company weighs several interrelated factors when deciding whether to raise debt or equity to finance asset expansion. Factors include the overall risk of the businesses the company is in, the variability and predictability of revenues, stability of costs, intensity of competition, and other reasons. The choice of financing with debt or equity also is influenced by the company’s ability to market a particular form of debt or equity in market conditions prevailing at the time of issuance.

    • Capital Structure Decisions:
    A company must decide on the best mix of long-term debt and equity, termed a target capital structure. The target capital structure should minimize the overall cost of funds while preserving an acceptable degree of financial flexibility. The appropriate mix of debt and equity financing varies significantly among industries and companies.

    • Asset Investment Decisions:
    Because companies have limited financial resources, it is important to assess carefully which projects to fund and how much the company should invest in various types of strategic assets that compete for funding. This analysis involves estimating both the risks and returns of a given project. Investment decisions also encompass divestiture decisions such as the sale of a division or subsidiary, or the discontinuance of a product line because a company’s capital resources may be utilized more effectively elsewhere.

    • Dividend Decisions:
    A company’s earnings belong to its stockholders, and may be reinvested in assets and/or paid out to stockholders as a cash dividend. The board of directors decides whether to pay a dividend. Oftentimes, this decision is guided by shareholder expectations, which may be dependent on a company’s industry, stage of development or dividend payment history. Dividend decisions vary widely by company and industry, and payouts may be restricted by covenants contained in a company’s debt agreements.

    The CFA charter is the designation of excellence in the investment community.
    If you’re looking for an educational challenge where you build a fundamental knowledge of investment principles that is relevant in every market around the world, then the CFA Program is right for you and your firm.
    To earn the CFA charter, you must successfully pass through the CFA Program, a graduate-level self-study program that combines a broad curriculum with professional conduct requirements, culminating in a series of three sequential exams. Level I exams are held in June and December. Levels II and III are only held in June.

    Benefits for You
    • Credibility: Clients and colleagues regard you with a presumption of expertise
    • Competitive advantage: Employers and clients want the experience that comes with the CFA charter
    • Connections: You’ll join a global network of more than 78,000 professionals
    • Recognition: You’ll earn a designation praised by employers and media

    Benefits for Your Firm
    • A cost-effective and efficient way to increase the knowledge and professionalism of your staff
    • A global program that tracks the needs of the industry and employers like you
    • A measure of job applicants' competence and integrity

    CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK)
    I. Ethical and Professional Standards
    A. Professional Standards of Practice
    B. Ethical Practices

    II. Quantitative Methods
    A. Time Value of Money
    B. Probability
    C. Probability Distributions and Descriptive Statistics
    D. Sampling and Estimation
    E. Hypothesis Testing
    F. Correlation Analysis and Regression
    G. Time Series Analysis
    H. Simulation Analysis
    I. Technical Analysis

    III. Economics
    A. Market Forces of Supply and Demand
    B. The Firm and Industry Organization
    C. Measuring National Income and Growth
    D. Business Cycles
    E. The Monetary System
    F. Inflation
    G. International Trade and Capital Flows
    H. Currency Exchange Rates
    I. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
    J. Economic Growth and Development
    K. Effects of Government Regulation
    L. Impact of Economic Factors on Investment Markets

    IV. Financial Reporting and Analysis
    A. Financial Reporting System (IFRS and GAAP)
    B. Principal Financial Statements
    C. Financial Reporting Quality
    D. Analysis of Inventories
    E. Analysis of Long-Lived Assets
    F. Analysis of Taxes
    G. Analysis of Debt
    H. Analysis of Off-Balance-Sheet Assets and Liabilities
    I. Analysis of Pensions, Stock Compensation, and Other Employee Benefits
    J. Analysis of Inter-Corporate Investments
    K. Analysis of Business Combinations
    L. Analysis of Global Operations
    M. Ratio and Financial Analysis

    V. Corporate Finance
    A. Corporate Governance
    B. Dividend Policy
    C. Capital Investment Decisions
    D. Business and Financial Risk
    E. Long-Term Financial Policy
    F. Short-Term Financial Policy
    G. Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring

    VI. Equity Investments
    A. Types of Equity Securities and their Characteristics
    B. Equity Markets: Characteristics, Institutions, and Benchmarks
    C. Fundamental Analysis (Sector, Industry, Company) and the Valuation of Individual Equity Securities
    D. Equity Market Valuation and Return Analysis
    E. Special Applications of Fundamental Analysis (Residual Earnings)
    F. Equity of Hybrid Investment Vehicles

    VII. Fixed Income A. Types of Fixed-Income Securities and their Characteristics
    B. Fixed-Income Markets: Characteristics, Institutions, and Benchmarks
    C. Fixed-Income Valuation (Sector, Industry, Company) and Return Analysis
    D. Term Structure Determination and Yield Spreads
    E. Analysis of Interest Rate Risk
    F. Analysis of Credit Risk
    G. Valuing Bonds with Embedded Options
    H. Structured Products

    VIII. Derivatives
    A. Types of Derivative Instruments and their Characteristics
    B. Forward Markets and Instruments
    C. Futures Markets and Instruments
    D. Options Markets and Instruments
    E. Swaps Markets and Instruments
    F. Credit Derivatives Markets and Instruments

    IX. Alternative Investments
    A. Types of Alternative Investments and their Characteristics
    B. Real Estate
    C. Private Equity/Venture Capital
    D. Hedge Funds
    E. Closely-held Companies and Inactively Traded Securities
    F. Distressed Securities/Bankruptcies
    G. Commodities
    H. Tangible Assets with Low Liquidity

    X. Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
    A. Portfolio Concepts
    B. Management of Individual/Family Investor Portfolios
    C. Management of Institutional Investor Portfolios
    D. Pension Plans and Employee Benefit Funds
    E. Investment Manager Selection
    F. Other Institutional Investors
    G. Mutual Funds, Pooled Funds, and ETFs
    H. Economic Analysis and Setting Capital Market Expectations
    I. Tax Efficiency
    J. Asset Allocation (including Currency Overlay)
    K. Portfolio Construction and Revision
    L. Equity Portfolio Management Strategies
    M. Fixed-Income Portfolio Management Strategies
    N. Alternative Investments Management Strategies
    O. Risk Management
    P. Execution of Portfolio Decisions (Trading)
    Q. Performance Evaluation
    R. Presentation of Performance Results

    » Management and Human Resources

    The Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) is an educational institute and business center of James Madison University located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. ICPM has a 32 year history of educating managers to enhance managerial performance and set standards for quality management in today’s workplace.
    Through a comprehensive, 3-module program of management training and assessment, ICPM certifies a level of management competency which is recognized worldwide by the CM™ or Certified Manager™ credential. CM certification is appropriate for managers at all levels and working in all industries. The CM body of knowledge covers the following essential skills and content areas:

    • Management Fundamentals
    • Planning & Organizing
    • Leading & Controlling

    The CPS Examination is a three-part exam, covering the areas of

    • Office technology
    • Office systems and administration
    • Management

    The advanced CAP Examination is a four-part exam, covering the areas of

    • Office technology
    • Office systems
    • Administrative management
    • Advanced organizational management

    The CBM stands for Certified Business Manager and is a masters-level professional certification based on an MBA curriculum. It is a standardized exam based on the topics covered in the majority of MBA programs. The CBM Credential is awarded to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and pass the 16-hour, four-part exam.

    The CBM Credential validates the mastery of business management knowledge, skills, and abilities and is developed by business practitioners to meet the needs of practicing business managers. The goal is to make the CBM curriculum relevant, useful, and practical. The CBM provides a common base of knowledge required of all business managers in all functional areas employed in all industries worldwide.

    The CBM Exam consists of four parts:

    Part 1: The Core Exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions
    Part 2: The Functional Exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions
    Part 3: The Integrated Exam consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions
    Part 4: The Capstone Exam consisting of a written analysis of a Harvard Business School case

    The CABM is a professional certification based on a pre-MBA curriculum. The CABM Credential provides a solid foundation for individuals seeking an MBA degree and/or the CBM Credential.

    The CABM Credential is awarded to individuals who pass the one-part, four-hour exam while validating the mastery of business management principles.

    HR certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates to your peers, your employees and your organization that you have mastered the core HR knowledge and principles and that you are dedicated to staying current in your field. Passing the exam is only one part of the certification process. Because the exams are experience-based, applicants must have the required work experience to be eligible to apply for the exams. Once the certificate holder has passed the exam, the recertification requirements ensure that the HR professional is keeping abreast of changes in the field.

    PHR Candidate:
    • Focuses on program implementation.
    • Has tactical/logistical orientation.
    • Has accountability to another HR
    • Professional within the organization.
    • Has two to four years of exempt-level generalist HR work experience, but because of career length may lack the breadth and depth of a more senior-level generalist.
    • Has not had progressive HR work
    • Experience by virtue of career length.
    • Focuses his or her impact on the organization within the HR department rather than organization wide.
    • Commands respect through the credibility of knowledge and the use of policies and guidelines to make decisions.

    PHR Exam Functional Areas
    • Strategic Management
    • Workforce Planning and Employment
    • Human Resource Development
    • Total Rewards
    • Employee and Labor Relations
    • Risk Management

    HR certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates to your peers, your employees and your organization that you have mastered the core HR knowledge and principles and that you are dedicated to staying current in your field. Passing the exam is only one part of the certification process. Because the exams are experience-based, applicants must have the required work experience to be eligible to apply for the exams. Once the certificate holder has passed the exam, the recertification requirements ensure that the HR professional is keeping abreast of changes in the field.

    SPHR Candidate:
    • Designs and plans rather than implements.
    • Focuses on the “big picture.”
    • Has ultimate accountability in the HR department.
    • Has six to eight years of progressive HR experience.
    • Has breadth and depth of HR generalist knowledge.
    • Uses judgment obtained with time and application of knowledge. v • Has generalist role within organization.
    • Understands the effect of decisions made within and outside of the organization.
    • Understands the business, not just the HR function.
    • Manages relationships; has influence within overall organization.
    • Commands credibility within organization, community and field by experience.
    • Possesses excellent negotiation skills.

    SPHR Exam Functional Areas
    • Strategic Management
    • Workforce Planning and Employment
    • Human Resource Development
    • Total Rewards
    • Employee and Labor Relations
    • Risk Management

    HR certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates to your peers, your employees and your organization that you have mastered the core HR knowledge and principles and that you are dedicated to staying current in your field. Passing the exam is only one part of the certification process. Because the exams are experience-based, applicants must have the required work experience to be eligible to apply for the exams. Once the certificate holder has passed the exam, the recertification requirements ensure that the HR professional is keeping abreast of changes in the field.

    GPHR Candidate:
    • Have cross-border HR responsibilities (more than one country).
    • Understands the strategies of globalization versus localization of HR policies and programs.
    • Establishes HR policies and initiatives that support the organization’s global growth and reputation as an employer.
    • Designs organizational structures, programs and processes to achieve worldwide business needs.
    • Develops implements and evaluates programs, processes and tools to ensure that they align with competitive practice, the organization’s objectives and legal requirements.
    • Oversees practices that ensure favorable employment conditions balancing employer needs with employee rights and needs.
    • Has core knowledge of the organization’s international HR activities. GPHR Exam Functional Areas
    • Strategic HR Management
    • Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility
    • Global Compensation and Benefits
    • Organizational Effectiveness and Talent Development
    • Workforce Relations and Risk Management

    The PMP credential recognizes demonstrated knowledge and skill in leading and directing project teams and in delivering project results within the constraints of schedule, budget and resources.
    The PMP examination is developed based on the PMP examination blueprint contained in the Project Management Professional Examination Specification. The examination blueprint details each project management process group as follows:

    • Initiation
    • Planning
    • Executing
    • Monitoring and Controlling
    • Closing
    • Professional and Social Responsibility
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