This is a common question from many of prospective students who want to get admitted in professional courses worldwide. They primarily hesitate to be admitted in either course. Common hesitation is which course is to select. Sometime requests counseling from academic experts for best of alternatives.
It is very difficult to say which course will be better choice. ACCA mainly focused on Financial Accounting. Because ACCA and CIMA both are worldwide recognized Accounting bodies strive for quality professional training in accounting world. ACCA is accredited with many accounting bodies. Members from ACCA would have easy access to the accounting societies in another country. To be member of another accounting body of another country, an ACCA member has to appear at those subjects or courses which are related to Laws in force under that country.
Laws may be related to Taxation Law, Corporate Law, Business Law etc. ACCA courses can be taken from any country through an affiliated institute or online. Exams can be appeared from British Council or affiliated institutes. Members from ACCA can practice accounting in any country, primarily in those countries under the Commonwealth.
CIMA is another accounting body, focused on Management Accounting. CIMA has an increasing trend in participating managerial accounting. CIMA members are also having their access to various accounting bodies and universities worldwide. This leading management accounting body has offered opportunities to students of other universities to get membership through an accelerated route. Admission and Examinations could be taken from many countries through an affiliated institute as in the case of ACCA. Since CIMA also has worldwide recognition, no matter if any body gets admission under this body.
My suggestion is, if you want to get worldwide recognition or want to migrate to another country under skill visas; no matter, you can choose either course. The difference is in case of ACCA you will emphasize on Financial Accounting while in case of CIMA, you will emphasize on Management Accounting. As because both the accounting bodies are not beyond the GAAP, no unnecessary worries for prospective learners.