CPA vs. CIFA? Are you wondering which of these two courses to take?

CIFA (Certified Investment and Financial Analysts) and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) are both professional courses administered by KASNEB. However, there are subtle differences between these two courses.

Course Objectives

CPA targets individuals who want to build a career in accounting and other related fields. On the other hand, the CIFA course targets professionals who want to build their competence and expertise in financial analysis and investment.

CPA Levels

CPA new syllabus exams are administered at the following levels:

Foundation Level

  • Paper 1: Financial Accounting
  • Paper 2: Communication Skills
  • Paper 3: Introduction to Law and CPA Governance
  • Paper 4: Economics
  • Paper 5: Quantitative Analysis
  • Paper 6: Information Communication Technology

Intermediate Level

  • Paper 7: Company Law
  • Paper 8: Financial Management
  • Paper 9: Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Paper 10: Auditing and Assurance
  • Paper 11: Management Accounting
  • Paper 12: Public Finance and Taxation

Compulsory Papers

Advanced Level

  • Paper 13: Leadership and Management
  • Paper 14: Advanced Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Paper 15: Advanced Financial Management

Specialization Papers

  • Paper 16 (Section 1): Advanced Taxation
  • Paper 16 (Section 2): Advanced Auditing and Assurance
  • Paper 16 (Section 3): Advanced Management Accounting
  • Paper 16 (Section 4): Advanced Public Financial Management

Practical Paper

CIFA Levels

The CIFA course comprises three levels as follows:

Foundation Level

  1. Financial Accounting
  2. Professional Ethics and Governance
  • Regulation of Financial Markets

  1. Economics
  2. Quantitative Analysis
  3. Introduction to Finance and Investments
  • Intermediate Level

  1. Portfolio Management
  2. Financial Statements Analysis
  • Equity Investments Analysis
  1. Corporate Finance
  2. Public Finance and Tax
  • Advanced Level
  1. Leadership and Management
  2. Fixed Income Investments Analysis
  • Alternative Investments Analysis
  1. Advanced Portfolio Management
  2. Derivatives Analysis
  3. Financial Modelling and Data Analytics (Practical Paper)

Education Requirements for Enrollment For both CPA and CIFA

  • An aggregate of grade C+ (C plus) or its equivalent in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination
  • A degree from a recognized university.
  • Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE) with at least two Principal passes provided that the applicant has credits in Mathematics and English at Kenya Certificate of Education (KCE) level or equivalent qualifications.
  • KASNEB diploma, technician or, professional examination certificate.
  • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination grade C in 6 papers with C in both Mathematics and English.
  • Such other certificates or diplomas as may be approved by KASNEB.
  • Diploma examinations


The cost of CPA and CIFA classes varies across colleges offering these courses across the country. At RCM Online College we charge pocket-friendly rates for our full-time and part-time classes. We also offer a block revision program for our part-time students who need assistance revising for the CIFA exams.

Note: Contact the RCM Online College help desk for further information about charges for the CIFA classes, timetable, and learning material available for CIFA students.

Visit the RCM Online College website at, email us at [email protected], call us at +254719525000 or visit us at Corner House 13th Floor along Kimathi Street, Suite A6 for clarification.