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Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA)

Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA)

What is CIPA?

“CIPA” stands for Certified Islamic Professional Accountant and it is one of the two flagship qualifications which are offered by the AAOIFI. It was launched in 2006 and relaunched in 2017 after a three-year long overhauling process.

CIPA is the only internationally recognized qualification in accounting for Islamic financial institutions, catering to all banking, investments, and Takaful segments. The CIPA program is intended towards development of, and enhancing of, industry’s human resource capabilities by developing experts for Islamic finance accounting and financial reporting, audits, and Shari’ah audits.

Objectives of CIPA

The CIPA qualification aims at achieving the following objectives:

To develop in-depth understanding and application abilities of the requirements of the AAOFI Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) in respect of presentation of financial statements and financial reporting of Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs);
To ensure that candidates understand the process and techniques of carrying out the audit in accordance with the principles of accountancy as well as with the International Standards on Auditing;
To equip candidates with the understanding of the fundamentals of business and business management and the role of an accountant in relation to governance, tax, compliance and risk management in an organization;
To provide the understanding of the basic foundations for Shari’ah compliance underpinning in Islamic banking and finance, and to develop strong application abilities of the requirements of the AAOFI Shari’ah standards; and
To equip candidates with comprehensive understanding of the requirements of Governance in an organization from Shari’ah perspective.

Who is CIPA for?

CIPA is for professionals, executives, as well as for students who are currently involved, are studying for, or have interest, in accounting, auditing, and finance, especially for the Islamic banking and finance industry, such as:

Accountants and Auditors
Shari’ah Auditors
Islamic finance practitioners, bankers, and professionals
Undergraduate or graduate students aspiring for an accounting career in Islamic banks

Three Reasons for Getting the CIPA Qualification:

After successfully passing all CIPA module exams and fulfilling practical experience requirement (PER), you will become a CIPA Fellow. You stand to gain the following benefits by joining the 1000+ strong group of CIPA Fellows worldwide:

Prestige of using the letters “CIPA” after your name’
Getting officially recognized by AAOIFI and the Islamic finance Industry – AAOIFI is a global standard-setting organization for the Islamic finance industry and supported by around 200 institutions, including 20+ central banks, from over 45+ countries; and
Finding more career opportunities for both personal and professional growth – There is a huge and ever-growing demand for experts of AAOIFI Shari’ah, accounting, auditing, governance, and ethics standards. CIPA Fellows are recognized for their knowledge and expertise and are always preferred over non-CIPA candidates

Items Old CIPA New CIPA
Gap Analysis & Benchmarking No Yes
Structure Single course Four modules
Language English and Arabic English and Arabic
Average Study Duration 4 months 1+ years
Study Textbooks AAOIFI Standards (1) FAR = Financial Accounting & Reporting

(2) AAE = Auditing, Assurance, & Ethics

(3) BRE = Business & Regulatory Environment

(4) SS&SG = Shari’ah Standards & Shari’ah Governance

Certification Examination Examination + Practical Experience Requirement (PER) Report
Examination 1 Exam 4 Exams
Practical Experience No Yes (1 year unless exempted)

Minimum eligibility requirement:

  • Undergraduate or postgraduate in discipline of accounting, economics, business, or commerce with 55% marks; or relevant professional qualification (exemptions available for academically strong Candidates having A levels / High School qualifications); or
  • a member of accounting professional bodies which are IFAC members or any other accounting and finance related professional membership / affiliation recognized by AAOIFI from time to time
  • Must fulfil eligibility criteria within 3 years of CIPA Program Registration in order to earn the CIPA certification, otherwise Candidate shall stand disqualified and will have to re-register for the CIPA program anew.

(1) Full payment

(2) By instalment

Payment comprised of-

(1) Program registration fee

(2) 4 study texts

(3) Shipment costs

(4) 4 mock exams

(5) 4 exam sittings

(6) PER fee

(7) CIPA certificate fee

Basic CIPA fee USD 2,200

Additional and separate fees include:

Exemption processing fee/module USD100

PER exemption processing fee USD100

Exam Resit fee USD100

Late registration fee USD100

Exam re-checking fee USD50

Annual fellowship fee USD200

Register with ISRA now!


10% Discount

Applicable to AAOIFI Institutional Members: CIPA Candidates employed at AAOIFI members or partners’ institutions.

Full payment

4x instalments

2x instalments

USD1980 USD540 USD648 USD648 USD648 USD1080 USD1080





20% Discount

Applicable to developing markets or non AAOIFI Institutional Members

Full payment

4x instalments

2x instalments

USD1760 USD480 USD576 USD576 USD608 USD 960 USD 960



Eligibility Criteria for Exemptions


Exemption from Exams

Exemption from Practical Experience Requirement (PER)

  • Through relevant undergraduate / graduate degree; or
  • Through other professional qualification; or
  • Through CSAA Fellowship; or
  • Where AAOIFI has a collaboration with a University; and
  • Candidate has secured 60% marks AND
  • 70% syllabus of Candidate’s qualification match with that of CIPA module from which exemption is sought.
 Partial Exemption (6 months)

  • 3 years Islamic industry experience; or
  • 5 years banking & finance industry experience; or
  • Member of professional bodies which are IFAC members or as approved by AAOIFI


Full Exemption (12 months)

  • Fulfil eligibility criteria for CIPA Program registration; and
  • Fulfil partial exemption criteria; and
  • 6 months of experience in approved organization; or
  • 1 year banking & finance industry experience

Exemptions may be provided to those not meeting the criteria on case to case basis determined by AAOIFI.

Exemption from Exams/PER

FAR = Financial Accounting & Reporting Exemptions are generally not offered
Exceptions can be made for candidates having a relevant base qualification, 5+ years in practice, research, and/or training, including publications
AAE = Auditing, Assurance, & Ethics Full exemption for holders of professional qualifications in which they passed Advanced Auditing course
Full exemption for those have 3+ years of experience in Auditing in recognized institution(s)
BRE = Business & Regulatory Environment Full exemption for University students under Collaborative Agreement Program
Full exemption for those specializing in Risk Management for IFIs w/ 2+ years’ experience
Partial exemption to holders of other professional qualifications (Candidate required to write a 5000+ words research paper, within 1 year of exemption offer, on topic of Risk Management)
SS&SG = Shari’ah Standards & Shari’ah Governance Full exemption for all existing & future CSAA Fellows
Full Exemption for university students or religious centres under Collaboration Agreement Program
PER = Practical Experience Requirement PER is an Internship Program for 1 year at an approved organization under a Supervisor. Alternative to PER is thesis submission on pre-approved topic. Submit a Final Report with a ‘Pass Grade.

If Exemption is offered, the Fee shall be reimbursed through reduction in total payable CIPA program fees

Total No. of Exams 4

Passing Percentage 70% for each Module

Exam Composition MCQs covering theoretical and scenario-based questions

Exam Duration 2 hours / Module

Max. No. of Attempts There is no limitation on the number of attempts; Exam Resit Fee $100

Type of Exam Physical


Module Weightage Total Marks Total Exam questions Passing Marks
FAR 33% 132 100 92
AAE 17% 68 50 47
BRE 17% 68 50 47
-SS 20% 80 60 56
-SG 13% 52 40 36
  400 300 278



Exam 1st session 2nd session
FAR 28 June 2021 6 December 2021
AAE and BRE 29 June 2021 7 December 2021
SS&SG 30 June 2021 8 December 2021
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
(1) Submit 3 forms & required documents

(2) Payment slip for processing fee of USD 100/- per Module & for PER = 4 modules & PER (USD500)

Verification on status of exemption Made full payment/ instalment Sit for exam