The CIS qualification is predominantly an Accounting qualification that is offered by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICAZ), an extension of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) originally founded in England which means that it is an international qualification recognised all over the world. CIS is also one of the 5 bodies from which a person may be registered with the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) as a Professional Accountant and Public Auditor in Zimbabwe.
Because of the name of the qualification, people often confuse it with the normal secretariat duties but this is a professional qualification that is often held by Company Secretaries an executive role of someone who acts as a guardian of the company’s compliance with regulations, laws and corporate governance practices. One of the most recognised members of this Board is Dr Giedion Gono, the former governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
To enroll for the qualification program, one must have a minimum of five ordinary level subjects which must include English language and two A level subjects of a commercial nature (i.e. excluding arts related subjects) which must include Mathematics and Accounting. One can also enroll for the qualification if they have a degree, diploma and certificate in business related subjects or under mature entry i.e. if one has only O’ level subjects and has attained 23 years of age and have at least 3 years commercial industry experience. Those with certificates, diplomas and degrees may obtain certain exemptions upon the discretion of the institution. If one is starting from part A, it usually takes 3 years to complete the qualification but that depends on a number of factors such as the commitment of the person to studies since the programme is self-paced.
In terms of courses, to qualify, one has to complete 18 subjects under three levels, Intermediate Certificate level (Part A and Part B) with 10 subjects, the Professional Programme 1 (Part C) with 4 Subjects and the Professional Program 2 (Part D) with other 4 Subjects.
Great Zimbabwe University has a Master Programme called Master of Commerce (MCom) degree in Professional Accounting and Corporate Governance/ Grad ICSA programme which is run under a block release program that consists of 10 courses and a mini dissertation. On completion, one automatically gains the ICSA status without having to complete any of the other CIS exams. The costs and more information on the qualification can be assessed here and the costs of the Masters qualification can be found through Great Zimbabwe University.