FLP, What’s It All About?

This is from the “Accounting Makes Cents” podcast episode #22 released on Monday, 19 September 2022.

Dear MJ

I’m currently thinking of studying for CIMA and would like to start my studies in the new year. I’ve been hearing a lot about the FLP program and was wondering if you could tell me more about this? What is it and why is it different from the traditional CIMA learning option?

Best regards,

Jump to show notes.

What is the FLP?

The FLP is a new learning approach available for students who are interested in pursuing CIMA.This program does not do away with the traditional way of CIMA learning, or what is now referred to as the PQ (Professional Qualification) option. It simply offers an alternative for students to learn in a different, but more digitised way.

Differences between FLP vs PQ (OT)

Difference #1 – No OTs

One of the biggest differences between FLP and PQ is how assessments are conducted with regards to the various subjects (E1, P1, F2, etc.). Under PQ, a student goes through the objective tests (OT) for each of the subjects. In FLP, there are no objective tests to be booked and taken. All a student does is he learns from the materials online. Once the student gets to the end of a section, he can take an assessment, which tests his knowledge of the section that was just learnt. If he passes the assessment, then that is done.


Of course, as you can see, a big benefit of learning this way is that you retain the knowledge that you’ve just learnt with regards to a topic. Let’s face it, it is easier to remember things in small bite-size portions, rather than taking an exam on a whole entire subject all at once. The rate for success should be higher.

Another thing with FLP is that the assessments are not timed, as opposed to the objective tests, where you have 90 minutes to complete the test.

The only thing to note with the FLP is that because you take an assessment after each topic, that obviously there would be more questions to face than what one would expect under an objective test. The OT is capped at 60 questions. The FLP in total has 300 topics. And if we guess that there are even at least 2 assessment questions per topic, you would’ve faced 600 assessment questions as opposed to the OT, which would only total 540 for all three pillars at three levels.

Difference #2 – All in one place

All learning and assessments are under one portal. Learning is delivered online, assessments are received immediately, also online. The materials are available 24/7 on-demand. Almost like a Netflix for learning accounting.


So the benefit of this is that you have a one-stop shop to go to for all your CIMA learning needs. You study at your own pace and are not hindered by time schedules or anything. If you want to study in the middle of the night or at dawn, you are able to do so just by accessing the portal.

There are no wait times. You receive the results of your assessments immediately since the assessments are automatically marked by the system. The only caveat to this is that you may still need a tutor or some human assistance from time to time, especially if you’re facing complex topics. Tutor time and assistance can be available but at a cost.

Difference #3 – Subscriptions

Certainly one of the many ways to show that we’ve arrived and we are here in the digital world! The FLP is subscription-based and offers various options and mixes when it comes to subscriptions. There are currently 3 options – Skills Core, Skills Plus, and Skills Premium. Each of these options gives you access to learning materials. Skills Core deals with the basics, just the learning materials for assessment. Skills Plus offers what the Core has, plus exam preparation for the case studies. Skills Premium offers the whole shebang, whatever is included in the Core and Plus subscriptions, plus live sessions and tutor support.

The subscription packages can be bought in one-year, two-year, or three-year packages. Currently, the cheapest package is a one-year Skills Core subscription, which starts at GBP1920. For the one-year Skills Plus, it starts at GBP2400. And for the one-year Skills Premium, GBP3600. To ensure you have the most current and the right pricing, please consult the CIMA website, which I will include on the show notes.


One of the benefits here is that you are able to secure all your learning materials in one go. You do not need to worry about the syllabus changing and getting outdated materials because of it.

Furthermore, the subscriptions include many other fees like registration and the annual fee, case study exam fees, etc. So I think in the long run, students are able to save money if they go through the FLP route.

Of course, the big price tag is undeniable. Not many students are able to shell out this kind of money in one go, especially if you are paying for your studies yourself. CIMA currently does not offer instalment plans to pay off the FLP subscriptions.


Now that the biggest differences and benefits have been covered, what stays the same for both FLP and PQ?

  1. Well, the syllabus for both options will be the same.
  2. The case study exams will remain the same. The materials for the case study will be the same, the exam windows will be the same.
  3. To qualify, you will still need to fulfil your practical experience requirements (PER).
  4. And once you qualify, either through FLP or PQ, you will get the same designation.


So students, it’s a decision. I always like to tell my students that any learning decision is dependent on what kind of student you are. And I think the new question, whether to do it FLP or PQ way, is the same. Think of how you study and what works for you, and then make that decision. Something to remember though is that if you are currently studying CIMA via PQ, you are able to convert to FLP, you’ll need to write to CIMA to find out and have this done. However, once you’ve begun your studies via FLP, and find out that maybe FLP is not for you, you will not be able to go for the PQ option anymore.

Show notes simplified

MJ the tutor looks at the Finance Leadership Program, or FLP for short, as an alternative learning option available for CIMA students. If you’re thinking or currently studying for CIMA, you may want to learn a little bit more about this program.

CIMA’s official FLP page
CIMA’s official FLP FAQ page
Astranti’s FLP information page
Astranti’s FLP offerings

“Ding Ding Small Bell” (https://freesound.org/s/173932/) by JohnsonBrandEditing (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RImxnsbfngagfXd_GWCDQ) licensed under CC0 Licence.

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