FACT: Both CIFA and CPA are professional courses administered by the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB).

CIFA stands for; Certified Investment and Financial Analysts while,
CPA stands for; Certified Public Accountants.

Let’s delve straight and cut open each one of them to understand their basic structuring as well as the relevant career opportunities.  But before that, it’s good to note that the course(s) that you have done before should not form a primary basis in determining which between the two courses you should pursue. What is more important is your unmet career goals.

To start with, CIFA is bifurcated into 3 levels, namely; Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced. 

Foundation Level Intermediate Level Advanced Level
Financial Accounting.
Professional Ethics and Governance.
Regulation of Financial Markets.
Quantitative Analysis.
Introduction to Finance and Investments.
Portfolio Management.
Financial Statement Analysis.
Equity Investment Analysis.
Corporate Finance.
Public Finance and Taxation.
Leadership and Management.
Fixed Income Investments Analysis.
Advanced Portfolio Management.
Derivatives Analysis.
Financial Modelling and Data Analytics (Practical Paper)

Who is the ideal candidate for CIFA?

According to KASNEB, the course is aimed at persons who wish to qualify, work or practice as investment, securities, and financial analysts, portfolio managers, investment bankers, fund managers, consultants on national and global financial markets. The program is designed in such a way that it furnishes learners with knowledge and skills to flourish in the highly competitive investing industry. Therefore, if your focus is to acquire one of the aforementioned titles, CIFA program is for you.

Who is the ideal candidate for CPA?

CPA is a term used for both the certification and also by those who hold the credential. By certification, it means the course itself. CPA credential is highly respected across the world.  It comes with more financially rewarding opportunities to offer highly sought-after professional accounting expertise.

CPA as a course is aimed at persons who wish to qualify and work or practice as professional accountants, auditors, finance managers, tax managers and consultants in related areas in both public and private sectors. 

From the above, it is quite clear that CIFA and CPA are basically a means to the end. Your career interests and what you want to become in the future is what really matters. That should be enough basis to figure out which way to go.

Just like CIFA, CPA is also divided into three levels. It’s evident from the syllabus that the units covered for the course are more accounting oriented as outlined in the table below. Following the implementation of the new syllabus, specialization papers have been introduced at the advanced level.

Foundation Level Intermediate Level Advanced Level
Financial Accounting.
Communication Skills.
Introduction to Law and Governance.
Quantitative Analysis.
Information Communication Technology.
Company Law.
Financial Management . Financial Reporting and Analysis.
Auditing and Assurance.
Management Accounting.
Public Finance and Accounting.
Leadership and Management.
Advanced Financial Management.
Advanced Financial Reporting and Analysis.

Specialization Papers Note (One paper to be selected, double specialization allowed)
Advanced Taxation.
Advanced Auditing and Assurance.
Advanced Management Accounting.
Advanced Public Financial Management.
Business Data Analytics (Practical Paper).

Minimum Requirements for both CIFA and CPA.

  • KCSE mean grade C+ or,
  • Equivalent qualification. ie. KASNEB technician diploma or professional examination certificate, a degree from a recognized university, IGCSE mean grade of C in 6 papers.

Exam Overview.

Passing all three levels marks a thorough mastery of the syllabus and it is the most important assignment required to become a CIFA/CPA graduate.

There are three exam sittings in a year; April, August and December. Therefore, candidates are required to book the papers they intend to sit for in one of the above sittings that they feel comfortable and confident in. KASNEB also requires a student to book a minimum of three papers in a level in any order unless is exempted or has previous credits.

Enroll and Register.

Complete your registration to access study materials and candidate resources to begin either of the programs.

Call/WhatsApp: 0700 524 589/ 0782 524 589
Location: Pioneer House, Moi Avenue, 5th Floor. 


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