What's the difference between ACA and ACCA?

Original Post

20 April 2008 - 11:03pm

Hi all.

Can anyone elaborate the difference between ACA and ACCA, please? At KPMG there are these two routes in audit, and the entry requirement for ACA is stricter than for ACCA. I am really curious and would like to know which qualification is better in terms of long term career developments.

Many thanks,

Sushi

Recent Comments

23 February 2014 - 10:54pm

I am from Mumbai dozen of the friends & even from my family member are qualified chartered accountant from ICAI, I asked them this same question whether ACCA is been considered in India, forget about recognized but most of the people don't even know what this means and the one who knows don't give a damn! why just compare the passing rate of acca & ICAI. With all due respect to ACCA but as a accounts professional working in accountancy from more than 16 years I conclude (even if no one gives a dam, i don't care) that ACCA is far & very below ACA. Every country has it's own chartered body, for US, it is CPA, for Scotland ICAS, India ICAI & similarly for UK fundamentally it is ICAEW & not ACCA just do not forget.

27 December 2013 - 9:20am

Just to clarify. The Professional papers in ACCA ('P') comprise options depending on the route you want to go down for example advanced tax and audit. You have to choose 2 papers to specialise in then go on to take your final 3 'P' papers. You are able to take these final 3 one at a time whereas up until June 2006 you had no choice but to take and pass the 3 final papers at the same sitting. I suggest you therefore take all the 5 'P' papers in 2 sittings to differentiate and put yourselves in the top tier of people applying for accountancy roles. I now ask to see evidence of how ACCA students took their finals.

27 December 2013 - 8:58am

Not sure if you have made decision as only just come across this myself. If you are planning to come to the UK and stay then I suggest you get on an ACA or CA training contract. If you plan to work in UK For a few years then go back to Asia then do ACCA as it is the global standard in accountancy, however make sure you do all the 5 final papers in two sittings. I say this because ACCA for some bizarre reason have changed their final exam criteria whereas before you had to take and pass all your final 3 papers in one sitting they now allow you to take one at a time. I am an FCCA and feel that all the hard work we went through to get our chartered status back in 1996 and raising the bar for membership has been totally lost now. Go for ACA or ICAS as they have now gone back ahead as a much harder and better qualification to have.

27 December 2013 - 8:33am

In 1997 the Privy Council which governs all professional bodies in the UK and Commonwealth gave members of the CACA (certified association of corporate accountants) the right to prefix their titles with the word chartered.

Before this they were known as certified accountants. The change of status occurred because the Privy Council gave the CACA a royal charter and therefore its members were now fully entitled to call themselves chartered accountants in much the same way that the ICAEW and ICAS had been allowed to do for many years due to their established chartered status. The new ACCA exam syllabus and content were modelled on the other chartered bodies so they were equally as hard although ACCA have changed there final exams criteria which used to specify that all 3 final papers were taken and passed in one sitting. Unfortunately this in my mind should remove ACCA back away from a chartered status unless you qualified before the change.

This new found chartered status did not just affect the CACA but also affected members of CIMA and CIPFA who were also now allowed to refer to themselves as chartered accountants. To reflect this new status the CACA changed its name to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and chose to allow its members to refer to themselves as Chartered Certified Accountants in order to differentiate themselves from other chartered accountants. However, the Privy Council directive of 25 August 1996 makes it clear that all members of the CCAB bodies are equally entitled to refer to themselves as chartered accountants if they so wish.

If you become a member of one of the CCAB bodies and for one reason or another you wish to become a member of one of the other chartered accountancy bodies then it will mean that you will have to take additional exams. For example, if you are a member of the ICAEW and you wish to also become a member of the ACCA, perhaps to allow yourself to work in some jurisdictions where the ICAEW is not recognised, then you will need to take the final level exams of the ACCA in order to become a member of this body. The reverse will also apply.

However, all of the chartered accountancy bodies are deemed to be of equal standard, ie. masters degree level, and from a scrutiny of recruitment adverts in business journals you can see clearly for yourself that the remuneration which is paid to members of all bodies is of the same standard which recognises this equality of status.

As for what your friend has told you, I can only assume that he/she is getting confused with the Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) exams which are of a much lower level that those of the chartered accountancy exams which are promoted by the CCAB bodies.

Once qualified as a chartered accountant you will not need to take exams every year but you will need to undertake Continuing Professional Education (CPE) which could take the form of attending courses or reading magazines in order to ensure that your technical knowledge is kept up to date. This is because accountancy and taxation legislation changes frequently and it is very important that you keep abreast of developments.

12 June 2013 - 10:26pm

Dave - Im reading this comment late but your comments hit some. Is it preferred to do the ICAS for the CA if you're a finance professional with no previous accounting qualification? If you could email me a response to mattcherian"at"lycos.com, Id appreciate a confidential answer. Thank you,

24 March 2013 - 1:12pm

The big 4 also hire students and people looking for short term work experience so just apply - they won't kill you, they can only say no and you can reapply at any time.

24 March 2013 - 1:09pm

Oh dear - some inacurate comments here regarding ACCA so let's clarify. ACCA is a little more flexible with entry requirements however, if you do not meet their specified criteria you will be required to do all of their rigorous exams without exemption. You are required to do a minimum of 3 years practical experience. If this is gained pre-qualification and you want to gain a practice certificate you must do a further 18-24 months practical experience with a recognised organisation. In addition you must complete the Practical Experience Objectives and have these records signed off by your workplace mentor to certify that you have achieved the minimum amount of competences. I chose ACCA as I was working fulltime and able to study therefore with BPP and Kaplan distance learning. The qualification is well recognised in Europe where I am currently based and the big 4 seem to look upon it favourably. I have just qualified and was immediately offered a choice of 2 jobs within international companies, one of which I have accepted. This was great for me as I have experience in accounting and taxation in Europe, but also have the Tax and Audit papers for the UK. Are you UK or Europe based/focused? It's up to you.

23 January 2013 - 5:59pm

Hey guys, bit of advise needed here. I'm currently doing my ACCA exams after finishing my FIA papers, I have work experience in many service sectors but no accounting experience. I have my GCEs and a diploma in an unrelated field.
I intend to finish and pass all my fundamentals by this dec 13. I heard big4 only hires ACCA grads if they have finished all fundamentals. Which by my planning is ok because I was thinking of continuing my professional papers while working at big4 and I need 3 years experience to grad with an ACCA qualification so it's a 2-for-1.
I'm not in the UK in fact I'm in Singapore but I'm worried that my lack of experience and lack of qualifications might render it hard for me to find a job at the big4 before i've completed my professional papers.

pls advise!

4 January 2013 - 10:50am

Hi,
I have read all the comments. I have noticed some things that people are highlighting their own body and finding out the faults of others. It's bad and very bad. This is not expected from the professional person like you. OK your body may be greater than ACCA or ICAEW or AICPA or CIMA but that doesn't mean that you should criticize them. Criticism from the educated person like you represents that you are educated but very narrow minded. And people realize that your body is the best accounting body in the world but it has some narrow minded people. it's bad

4 January 2013 - 10:47am

Hi,
I have read all the comments. I have noticed some things that people are highlighting their own body and finding out the faults of others. It's bad and very bad. This is not expected from the professional person like you. OK your body may be greater than ACCA or ICAEW or AICPA or CIMA but that doesn't mean that you should criticize them. Criticism from the educated person like you represents that you are educated but very narrow minded. And people realize that your body is the best accounting body in the world but it has some narrow minded people. it's bad.

ICAEW shows respect to ACCA and vice-verse.
They have a very good relation to each other.

Do you know this?
1. If you are a member of ACCA, you can join ICAEW without any types of exam.
2. If you have a UK-practicing license of ACCA, you can gain ICAEW practicing license by just an application.

If ACCA is worse. So why a body like ICAEW will recognize.

24 October 2012 - 7:07pm

I found a very interesting statistic couple of weeks ago. 57% of all ACCA members are outside the UK. 26% of CIMA members and 15% of ICAEW members are outside the UK respectively. Therefore the ACCA is by far the most globally recognised accountancy qualification. The ACCA is currently growing faster than ACA and is the most popular accounting qualification being studying at the moment compared to ACA and CIMA. The ICAEW qualification says in it's name that it's mainly for UK. Both ACCA and ACA qualifications are similar so there is nothing with studying either of them. I know some students struggle with studying the ACA and decided to study the ACCA instead. It's very rare you see the reverse happen and there is no point of learning both.

24 October 2012 - 11:28am

Surely ACA is better. Being (ICAEW)'s member you will have a very good prestige. There is no any kind of doubt that ICAEW is more challenging and prestigious all over the world.Earlier,I had decided to go for ACCA. But it was an ACCA member who adviced me to go for ACA. I am also a chartered accountant in India.so,I am a member of ICAI. I joined ICAEW under MOU signed in between ICAI and ICAEW. I have seen several ACCA's who want to be the member of ICAEW. SO,dear friend go for ACA.

18 June 2012 - 3:34pm

MA FCA . specialising in taxation.

14 June 2012 - 12:50am

Check this link out http://www.frc.org.uk/images/uploaded/documents/Final%20KFAT%20Report%20June%202011.pdf Go to page 11 and the next few pages from there it shows on graphs and tables the comparison of ACCA with ACA and CIMA and other accounting bodies in terms on members. From there it shows ACA is nearly 2x popular than ACCA in the uk. At international level, popularity of both are similar yet the number of members joining ACCA recently is growing faster than those joining ACA. This information makes my decision on whether to study ACCA or ACA now more harder.

@ tutor, I'm sticking to the accounting field. If I did accounting and finance at university I may have thought of learning corporate finance. What are you studying now or already studied? Did you chose ACA or ACCA?

12 June 2012 - 5:37pm

Why not go for something a bit more challenging like the Corporate Finance qualification. Look on the ICAEW website. You have already spent 3 years doing accountancy!!

12 June 2012 - 2:53pm

I just now finished studying at university my accountancy degree and currently deciding on whether I should study now ACCA, CIMA or ACA. Predicted to graduate next month with a 2.2. My university taught the accountancy modules based on the ACCA syllabus so if I want to do ACCA I will get exemptions for 7 of those ACCA modules and only need to do 7 more ACCA modules and do the 3 years work experience. I'm not too interesting in studying CIMA as it's only based on the management aspect of accounting and not on the accounting field as a whole like ACCA. Only recently thought about the ACA option, don't know whether I should take the ACA option instead. As I know, both ACA and ACCA are similar and both popular. Going to make my final decision after I have graduated from university.

How much does it cost to study ACCA and in per module or per semister? Been checking the ACCA website but can't find it. Where do most of you study the ACCA in London? Is it from home or from an accountancy learning centre like Kapalan or BPP in London?

6 April 2012 - 2:19am

Some harsh, brutal and cruel facts for foreign students seeking an accountancy job in the UK: forget about what universities have been telling you about UK job market. All they care is endless international students coming to do courses, paying international rate fees. Even career services don't really have a clue in terms of helping international students getting a job in the UK, even they do, lots of stuff they won't tell you.

First of all, forget about your Master or PhD. In many developing countries, higher degrees do make you stand out, even it's not relevant to the job. But in the UK where experiences outweigh degrees, you are lucky these higher degrees won't count against you! A 2:1 degree from a UK university (in particular Russell group) has far better chance of landing a job here than a one year Master and a foreign bachelor degree. The earlier you start your education in the UK the better. For example, if you come here at age of 17 and done A levels, first degree, you have a far better chance landing a job than someone just one year in the country finishing a Master.

Secondly, don't self study ACCA. Colleges market heavily sorts of full time ACCA or ACCA + MBA courses. I know many foreign students who funded their own studies; worked in supermarkets, takeaways and shops and passed all exams and become an affiliate. Recruiters don't value at all - overqualified and no relevant experience! Decent Accountancy firms won't take them as if they look for trainees they would take on UK graduates going down ACA route. Only jobs they can get are some low level finance assistant roles, or some small cheeky firms asking them to do those dirty legwork, letting them fund ACCA themselves....and of course no prospect of being made permanent (they are not going to spend on sponsoring your tier 2 visas) or progression. No single qualification course alone can help you land a good job. It's all about experience experience experience, what jobs have you done in the UK blah blah blah ...

So get a job that the employer would support your study - a proper training contract. I know it's hard but better than not knowing the whole picture and waste your money - as well as your valuable time! Or if you can't find a job, although no harm getting some temporary work experience before returning home, I would not waste more time here. So many people are trying their luck in the UK or feel ashamed just going back like this. However many have told me they rather getting a job back home, in a fast growing economy where your education and oversea experience are more valued than doing low level legwork and being taken advantaged of.

An extra note, your English level must be very high and you need to have good understanding of culture here. Successfully completing a degree in a UK university doesnt mean your English is good enough to fit in work environment. If you sit down with a few English graduates and easily get excluded from their discussion, or don't know many stuff they are referring to, you are much less likely to impress interviewers or pass AC :(

5 April 2012 - 11:22am

I am a CA in India, i want to do job in London, can any body suggest me which course ( like ACA or ACCA ) is more use full for me to get job over there and that course should be universally recognised course, so that in future, that course or that job experience will be use full if i go any other country like India or US.

7 January 2012 - 1:03am

ACA is more suitable in the Uk whereas ACCA is more recognised internationally. I personally prefer ACA because it's more prestigious although I think more harder as well but overall either will be good to have.

6 November 2011 - 12:29pm
fez

I've come across these two web pages may be able to clarify the ACA vs ACCA debate (though granted it may be presented in a slightly biased fashion)

http://www.ion.icaew.com/talkaccountancyforum/22442 (fifth post)

http://www.icaew.com/en/qualifications-and-programmes/aca/train-aca-students/why-train-aca-students/aca-vs-other-qualifications

21 October 2011 - 3:37pm

hey .. m currently doing ACCA...somebody advised me to do ACA after ACCA... will it be wise?

10 August 2011 - 4:37am

Hey all,how r u guys..now if somebody can help me with my problem. I am currently residing in pakistan,karachi and i am about to sit in b-com exams later this year. But a new development transpired about two months ago. HEC which is higher education commision has acknowledged ACCA equivalent to Masters. Now back to my problem, now i was doing b-com which i in the first place didnt want to do, purely because of the fact that it has been far too devalued for a long long time. So fast forward i google this n i come here to this forum. Now someone plzz give me enough reasons why i should start doing ACCA and while i can goto london to study ACA, my aim is to stay or lets just say my last stop is going to be the middle east. So i hear everyone saying that ACCA is more of a global thing unlike ACA which will only be meaningful in england. But ive got friends in london who have finished there ACCA and are looking for jobs to complete 3 yrs of internship. But they cant find a job, i mean seriously ACCA completed almost in london and no job. Plzz guys help me with this. I cant make up my mind and i would personally want to do ACCA rather than ACA which is a wee bit longer!!! thanks guys im new...so plz helppppp!!!!

22 July 2011 - 9:56pm

Hello, I need help..

i have recently completed my BTEC National Diploma in Business and I am looking forward to be an successful accountant in future but I am not sure that whether i should go for Accounting and Finance (BA) or ACCA. I heard that ACCA got better scope than BA in Accounting field is it true?

21 July 2011 - 12:35pm

The post by Dave2020 is absolutely sot on. I fall into the (b) category of foreign student looking for a training contract. I have lived and worked at a Big 4 in the United States and came over here to do my Masters. I started trying to apply for ACA roles and so far have gotten burned by all the Big 4, GT and BDO.

Initially i was really surprised until my uncle, who works with Lloyds told me that there are simply too many factors working against me, namely being a foreign student with foreign qulifications and having a totally un-English name!

So, i decided to settle for the low-paying, minimum wage job with the hope of studying for the ACCA. It is very discouraging at times.

20 July 2011 - 6:13pm

Hi Goher After your completion of ACCA you can get 12 exemption for ACA that's mean you only have to do another 3 exam to be qualify for ACA. Good luck mate

23 June 2011 - 9:21pm

hi i want to know that how many papers of aca are left or time completion ...after doin acca

15 May 2011 - 8:31pm
Sfa

hi,

I've been made an offer by a big four and I've accepted. I will be working in audit and studying for the ACA in Sept but last year I registered as a student for the ACCA and also entered myself in for an ACCA exam for June 2011. I'm a bit worried. I want to 'de-register' from ACCA. Will I be able to do this without a problem? Thanks

5 March 2011 - 2:03pm

Dave is spot on in everything he has said. If you think Msc routes and PhDs will bring you success they won't. The MSc is basically a stepping stone onto a PhD if you want a challenging career in research or you would like earn a good salary teaching at a 6th form college; they are largely pointless and unnecessary if you are considering a career in the accounting profession. But like BlueAndWhite says, the opportunities for training are very competitive, and if you are not taking internships and trying your best to differentiate yourself from other minimum 2.1 candidates, you will never get a ACA/CA job with a view to achieving the big salaries; if a big salary is what you aspire to achieve. ACCA will always be slightly tainted because the best students do ACA/CA at big four firms, and many will not opt for ACCA. In general this is true, and you if you have graduated recently you can see that this is so. In Scotland, you are lucky to find 20 companies small and mid size recruiting on average more than 6 candidates per year. I think I saw that this year Pwc were taking on 900 students (I stand corrected if I am wrong). On these numbers it takes a lot of time and patience if you want to gain the ACA/CA qualification, and if you don't fit into the firm's ethos, are too old to be considered someone they can boss around or have other dependants, the job market looks bleak at best. But everyone to their own. We all have to decide which is the best route for ourselves, given our particular circumstances and which is most suited. But again, you cannot contend with the fact that CA/ACA from a big four is the best route for new graduates who are seeking to earn the big money from the off.

3 March 2011 - 10:14pm

I think Dave2020 has made some harsh points but to be frank, the UK job market is very harsh at the moment and what Dave has said has really made clear some of the unspoken truths. The book "How to get a graduate job" by Williams, Brown and Hesketh opens up the murky world of graduate recruitment even more.

3 March 2011 - 7:02pm

It is an emotive subject and there are some underlying issues people have so it must be blunt but fair - not retracting statements out of guilt, knowing full well these people will not realise the dream and should perhaps wake up and smell the coffee instead of getting into debt, studying endlessly and working minimum wage jobs:

People comment on this thread without understanding that there are 2 seperate unlinked issues dependent on WHO you are - which group you fall into:

a) UK born and bred 20 - 25 graduates looking for a graduate trainee role to launch finance careers, presuming the top path is to head to audit firms then banks.

b) Foriegn students looking for trainee roles.

Overall Its WHERE you train not what qualification you do that counts for your career.

-

a) UK grad through UK school system wanting a high powered career transistion to banking etc.

Liverpool123 is spot on regards the ACA, it is always the preferred choice by employers - only about 4000 training contracts take place each year so it is assumed you are in the top 4000 of applicants - if you can at all persuade your trainer to give you ACA - do.

The reason why "first time passes" is used as a measure is becuase ACA exams unlike ACCA are not marked on pass marks but against percentiles. This means the bottom 25% always fail - you will be issued with a exam mark stating: pass, fail, bad fail. This indicates to your employer if you failed through virtue of being in the bottom 25% but did pass the exam technically or whether you failed for doing no work.

This is one of the reasons the banks prefer the ACA - it is the top end of a particular year group, the other far more relevant is that the Big 4 tend to only put ACA for corporate finance and capital markets jobs in London.

Obviously first time passes are NOT the be all and end all - especially if you work in capital markets for big 4.

Use your common sense - one guy on Wikijob kept getting rejected for interview - then revealed he'd explained his dodgy a-levels by saying " I suffered from ME during 6th form" - which has to be the biggest evidence of a lack of common sense or commercial awareness regards the profession.

-

b) Foreign non recent UK grads:

There are 2 elements here:

1) I can't get a training contract at a decent firm no matter what I do

This is because employers are looking for a TYPE of person as it is a TRAINEE ROLE - the further you evidence you are not the type - the less likely you will even get an interview - you do not fit the type - there are hundreds other applicants who and have applied of the job - they are in group a)....

You may well have to settle for doing the ACCA/CIMA in a small accounts department on very low pay - the jobs group a) candidates would rather not do.

2) But I have a masters, phd and 10 years experience working in industry X in country Z- much more than a 21 year old UK student.

- A 6 month internship counts for more than a Masters, Phd or 10 years experience - the obvious point is they are looking for trainees to do the leg-work and "FIT" into the firm - someone who has already gone through the selection process of the firm or one of similar standing AND stuck out a period of employment doing the legwork job - paid/unpaid has evidenced they are a fit.

Someone who is not going to be phased by 3 years of doing mundane dogsbody work, someone who can vote in the "best graudate employers" list and other PR and brand building/marketing exercises for the firm.

There are also established social networks and schemes that further the firms interests - there is no point having a football league to network with local clients - if all your trainees are too old to play.

- However you may well find a niche in a job with a company that operates in industry X or has dealings with country Y.

- In fact you will see many adverts for "mandarin speaking chartered accountant" - what they mean here is a native chinese speaker, who can speak english and is a chartered accountant - therefore they will not look at people who are from group a) who did a gap year in CHina - its the mandarin fluency that is needed that only a native speaker can have.

Look for the niche that fits you - and the one where you can add more vallue than people from group a) and you stand a very good chance of getting the job over anyone else.

2. The UK's chief method of employing people is through healthcare and education.

That is why it has 1000's of establishments which make money through SELLING PEOPLE COURSES and getting government subsidies to do so. To keep this whole charade of macro-economic financial engineering and reduced unemployment afloat -they need a never ending stream of students - so give student visas etc on top of child benefits etc.

This however does not mean that passing through this system you are then comparable to people in group a) in teh minds of recruiters.

The accountancy profession is probably the best example of how pointless a Masters or degree as you can do the whole ACA or ACCA exams in the same time for a fraction of the cost.

By putting "masters" on your CV without a clear progression from a University you have simply signalled "foreign" - especially if your name is not an English one, rather than a fit under group a) who wanted to spend anohter 2 years drinking.

3. You are too old/too ethnic for a TRAINEE position (leg-work at the behest of superiors)

age - sadly the ridiculous left-wing employment laws have meant that employers must apply unspoken right-wing recruitment policies and want to avoid people who may have kids or family responsibilities for trainee roles - and consequenlty will not want to do 12 hour days in busy season or spend a month away at a client premises or cancel their plans to fit with their managers.

ethnic - some firms avoid people who are going to be problematic in office politics or worse are going to come up with stupid reasons to take time off such as "I am fasting"

- Why Do I suggest teaching as a career for foriegners?

- If you have no contacts, network or social skills - you will find it difficult to progress in the Uk professional environment and may be out of work somewhere down teh line - teaching is unsackable.

- Many jobs advertise "ACCA exams passed accountant" £18k etc - what they want here is a group b) candidate who they can ge tto do ALL the legwork - there will not be easy progression in duties or pay - and it is generally a dead end.

- When the penny drops, many foreign academics suddenly realise they are overqualified but underpaid - and that teaching offers them far higher pay and working life benefits than beign a dogsbody in a small firm - where the glass ceiling is set insultingly low and all you will do is have a chip on your shoulder and sore head.

So I would say - yes, everyone keep your chin up and "keep trying" - but be thoroughly sure you understand which group you fit into and what you are trying to do with a TRAINEE ROLE - you are more likely to secure training that way if you really want to be an accountant or achieve other goals which may well be "visa to stay in UK and £45k a year job for family".

24 February 2011 - 11:47am

Graduated and Liverpool - thanks for uplifting notes. I think the same - proactive approach, determination and achieving small steps towards a goal will take us where we want to get. Les keep on trying.

Fingers crossed for you and all the best!!

23 February 2011 - 4:10pm

sorry for being so harsh in my earlier posts.

you are right, ACCA is a global, excellent qualification and you can do very well with it. Stick at it and finish it and try and get some work experience relevant to the industry you want to be in.

I really recommend approaching certain agencies (like Robert half) or applying direct to the smaller firms (google top 100 firms in UK via accountancy age and go direct). They will see this proactive approach in doing your studies as a positive sign.

Good luck guys with your endevours and I really hope it all works out. Just be strong and hang in there, the best thing you can do is try and pass first time and look for vacancies that are suitable at the same time.

23 February 2011 - 3:51pm

Hi Kucowna,

If you are really upset with your job, maybe you think about applying for a job doing ACA if it is you want to subscribe to the common perception that it is the best. Today I was rejected from another vacancy (CA) because I don't have enough experience and because of limited spaces (2). The biggest thing they look for is experience, such as yours; that is what is very important. But don't become despondent just because the some of the views on here deem ACCA inferior and we are all failures because we haven't got a big four job. Good luck to those who have; it is a major achievement. However, ACCA students such as myself have families to run,mortgages to pay, other commitments, among other things. Maybe if we had time to do a gap year in Canada or join a squash club we might get on a lot better? And don't tell me some undergrad's are selected purely on the basis of their implied social skills i.e. that a six week internship is in any way comparable with some of the life skills developed by ACCA students or ACA students studying independently who have had to fork out their own money just to get a job. Anyway, keep going with your ACCA and don't be too disheartened by some of the views on here, which can actually put you off what you are doing. Who are we to give advice? Most of us have hardly started or even qualified. We just give opinions; whether these are fact or not, that remains to be seen. As long as you don't get too down and keep going with it, you should be fine. Keep your chin up. At least you are working towards something.

23 February 2011 - 1:33pm

Dave, As you are still here, I need to clarify. I am working in accounts but they do not support my studies, I do not get any time off for my uni nor even emotional support. I'm also not on the training contract. I'm simple junior AP and they haven't promoted me as they said I will demand more by being 'over'-qualified. I hate my job and my life here, so I have decided to become a 'respectable unemployed'.

As per ACCA I think time management, concentration and sufficient emotional stability are the core. Hope next sitting will be successful! Keeping my fingers crossed for your retake.

23 February 2011 - 1:14pm

Good luck on your retake, thanks for your comments!

22 February 2011 - 10:51pm

Dave, I do know that you need three years to complete the PER; what i was asking Liverpool was whether 12 months of those three years form part of your three years. It does state clearly on the ACCA website that 12 months of teaching experience can go towards your PER, and I wanted someone to clarify that. That was all. Simple question.

22 February 2011 - 9:47pm

Thanks Liverpool

1. Good clarification - seems I was mistaken/misled by ICAEW student admin when I phoned asking about self-study

2. I dare say you are right regards the final 3 exams.

4. You're testament to how it works! You did ACA in big 4 and moved on up the career path- the circles you move in are big hitters.

Most of the people ending up here aren't in that bracket and if they self-study ACCA as a management accountant won't get anywhere near the big money. The ones without the people or language skills won't even make £45k by training in a small finance department.

Maths teacher after 3 years £45k - not sure what the ceiling is, 9 - 5, do marking in class, 3 months holiday, £20 an hour tutoring cash in hand, and its public sector - 1 year maternity leave, days off sick within reason and so on...you can be completely socially inept, speak terrible English and you'll never get sacked or be out of work - its also less stressful and less responsibility and you can't fail - for some - especially many posting on here - who've no hope of securing decent training but have invested in their education - its the better option by a long way.

I hope they delete my account soon or I am going to fail my re-take and get sacked!

22 February 2011 - 9:05pm

Sorry, I meant that you dont need the experience to finish the exams Dave. Also a few further points:

1) You need to be more than just a CCAB to sign off for ACA. My father for example is a CCAB - FCA, however because he has a small practice, the ICAEW deemed that he did not have enough audit clients to be classified as a training centre, thus he cannot sign off any trainee. This is not the case for ACCA - hence the need for a training contract.

2) ACCA is nothing compared to standard, class or rigour if compared to ACA, you will see in the final part when undertaking the case study.

3) Your friend at PwC will of course have it the easiest. The training material, time and effort spent by the big 4 in training their staff is second to none - thus the material and exam practice will be phenominal if compared to your other friend for example - that has nothing to do with qualification but the employer who provides the training.

4) I never knew that teachers earned more than accountants in any spectrum of life! Put it this way, a newly qualified can get in banking can get base of £65 K plus bonus etc, which totals about 80K (only 3/4 years experience). Partners in tax in the big 4 have been known to get over £750,000. Ok, I know you said most, but I would never believe that teachers earn more. I know people who have their own practices commanding net revenue in excess of £500,000 - sole traders. Teachers cannot compare to this.

5) Good luck with the studies and well done for getting a role in conjunction with your self study. Hope it works out well for you my friend....as for me, it is truly time to stop messaging here as it is tooooooooo addictive. :)

22 February 2011 - 8:24pm

I can't delete my profile!

But good grief - you need 3 years work experience to qualify as ACCA just like if you are doing the ACA - you don't get expereince signed off for teaching or gardening or anything else! Its got to be signed of by a CCAb qualified accountant...

ACCA is the same standard as ACA in exams etc - the difference is in the market place perception - its worth in the job market - where the ACA is far better to have.

Madness - anyway:

The ACA is easier to self study - look at some of my earlier posts (i'm not an egomaniac i promise) and it will explain the structure of the qualifications now, you can study either wihout a job...start self studying the ACA not the ACCA - its more flexible - more CBE's, more exam sittings.

I did self study ACCA, switched to ACA self study taking exemptions, went for interviews and am in a half decent firm (not big 4) with other friends one is studying ACCA in a finance department and the other ACA at PWC.

Of all of us the person who has it the easiest is the guy at PWC - lots more time off and structured college than anyone else. I get a couple of weeks, my unlucky ACCA friend gets 2 days off per exam including the exam day and college on saturdays - he hates his life and wants to die.

-

Teaching or accountancy if you are not passionate about either - hands down without a doubt the best option is teaching - gcse/A-level maths ideally.

13 weeks holiday a year, lots of cash in hand tuition work and holiday work means you will actually out-earn most accountants - and the job is unsackable.

My sister is on £45k teaching kids in a comprehensive, then gets cash in hand doing tutoring on top of all that holiday....

22 February 2011 - 7:33pm

Thanks, Liverpool. Yeah, I do have exemptions. I have five exams to pass ACCA, which I'm doing in June and December. But, like I say, I'm probably more interested in teaching. I never thought about Kaplan or BPP. That is a good suggestion.

22 February 2011 - 6:30pm

So the choices are between teaching and accountancy.....

You don't need any work experience to qualify for the ACCA. You have to think carefully if you really want to apply for ACA/ICAS etc as working and studying at the same time is going to be challenging if you are not 100% committed.

Start applying and see where this goes but you must be passionate and up for such a career. Same goes for finishing off ACCA - you need to be happy enough to put in the hours in order to qualify.

At the same time, have you thought about finishing off your ACCA and then maybe teaching at Kaplan or BPP? You could study there, finish and try and become a teacher there. Or contact them, they usually help people who need advice with such dilemmas.

All the best with what you do and good luck. As you have an accounting degree you could use this as leverage and gain exemptions to fast-track your studies....

22 February 2011 - 5:42pm

Hi guys,

I'm looking for some advice. I've recently completed a masters in international accounting basically because I'm not 100% sure about being an accountant. I'd like to get into teaching, but, again, I'm not sure. I'm in one of those situations. I don't know what I want to do. Anyway, I'm doing ACCA independently as a fall back in case I don;t go through with the teaching. Has anybody got any idea of whether teaching experience makes up part of the the ACCA qualification? Again, I;m thinking about applying to ICAS/ACA jobs again this year., but i don't want to commit myslef to a full three years if I'm not 100% sure about qualifying as an accountant. Do you think this is the right move? Thanks

22 February 2011 - 5:24pm

No what he's saying is you need to be in a training contract to get the ACA - and you must be in year 3 of it to sit the exciting case study.

Right I am truly off now, and am deleting my profile - I go mad on this whenever I sit down to do some revision and have some nonsense to learn before my re-take course next week....

Best of luck to all.

22 February 2011 - 5:19pm

Hi Liverpool,

So what you are saying is you can complete ACCA (an affiliate) and then do the case study in year 3. Plus your training contract that is. That seems quite good.

22 February 2011 - 5:17pm

Liverpool 123 - I know what you mean

But you can get your 3 years signed off by any CCAB accountant now - just like ACCA.

So you can indeed qualify as an ACA in exactly the same jobs as ACCA's use.

22 February 2011 - 5:08pm

Kucowna,

The magic trick is to be realistic - you have failed F4 twice and F5 once - these are the easy papers, best to stick with what you know than jump into a qualification which has limits on attempts and in any case - where you will be up against UK graduates on training schemes with structured time off and tutition.

To me you need better time management and to sort your life out - why do a masters - its completely pointless, once that is out the way-may as well finish i t now - you can spend more time on the ACCA...

Switching qualifications is not the best move for you - if you are already in a job that counts towards PER for ACCA - just get it done and when qualified you can move - you can even get teh 3 years done, quit the job and then sit all the exams.

If you hate every day of your job - congratulations - you are like every other trainee accountant!

Jumping ship now and trying to explain your erratic job history and qualifications to a prospective employer won't make any sense...starting the ACA when you are already completing the training experience for ACCA also makes no sense.

22 February 2011 - 4:51pm

Dave, my friend, you can only complete your ACA studies with a training contract and attempt the case study in your final year (year 3). :).

All the best to all you wanna be accountants out there!

22 February 2011 - 4:10pm

Hey there,

I have a problem. I have studied like crazy for the last year towards acca. I have got 3 exemptions because of my Bachelors in Finance and Banking. I'm currently studying at the last semester for masters in Financial Management and I'm doing very well. However I am not able to bite ACCA. Firstly I attempted only F4 and I have failed (47 points). In December 2010 I have attempted F4 again and F5. I had the knowledge on most of the subjects, especially on F4. And my scores were miserable: 37 from F4 and 41 from F5.

How to get around it, what is the magic trick?

I am working in Accounts but because my work doesn't satisfy me to say the least, I'm about to serve my notice. I have no money but prefer that than dragging every day.

I'm desperately trying to get the qualification in accountancy and now, after reading the blog, I'm considering the switch from ACCA to ACA. Any tips and help would be much appreciated.

22 February 2011 - 4:01pm

Thanks a lot guys, those are really important information. I must now find a way to contact someone from the big4 firms. Thanks guys.

22 February 2011 - 3:15pm

To tendousoujiooz.

It is best to go to the big four and speak to them; it is all about getting your foot in the door, networking with those big four employers and employees. The 2.1 300 UCAS points is a minimum entry requirement here in the UK (do not know the equivalent is in Malaysia). But that is all it is, a minimum nowadays. The biggest thing apart from academic results is fit. If you can, go to PWC, KPMG events, look at the way their employees look, dress, present themselves. Even hang around outside and watch the people coming out of the building - that'll give you an idea. At 18, who have plenty of time. First thing is to get yourself involved with the big four i.e. get an internship; that's very important. Most of my graduate friends who got big four jobs had gone to recruitment events, and got themselves internships the year before they were graduating. But appearance is a big factor in the UK, don't know so much in Malaysia. But, like investment banking, you need to look the part. But again, it depends on whether you want to be involved with a system that is this selective about its candidates, but that's the world in which we live nowadays; you have to show that you have the whole package. ACCA independent study is basically a money making machine. But a grad scheme ACCA with top 20 firm is better than just signing up and taking exams, like I'm doing, but i'll probably do ICAS next year. ACA and ICAS are more structured, and are acknowledged worldwide as being that way. All we are saying is, big four ACA or ICAS is the best start you can have (this is the prevailing UK opinion). If you are young, 18, then this is the way to go if you are 100% sure that 's what you want. Just be patient, you are only 18. Get your marks, get an internship, develop soft skills like communication skills, team working etc. (joining a sports club for example) get a feel for the way they dress, the fit of the firm etc. and you should increase your chances. Good Luck to you.

22 February 2011 - 2:29pm

Yes Brachioz, you can then call yourself an "ACAACCA"

But why stop there? - you should get the CIMA, ACA, ACCA, CFA, CIOT, and an online MBA Bcomm, Bsc and Phd.

That way you can cover all bases and call yourself "ACOM PLET EIDIOT"

22 February 2011 - 12:57pm
22 February 2011 - 12:41pm

dave2020

I do enjoy reading your posts! Very blunt, informative and straight to the point. Something that most of the people on here need, is a helpful dose of a reality check!

As you rightly touched on; it annoys me that media etc use the same old "Pwc has increased graduate vacancies by 10%" as a solution to the shrinking grad market. Like you said, this increase has made it even harder to get an interview / AC, not easier! More than ever, HR are using these silly filter tools to combat rising graduate numbers.

I could rant further about this and that, but I feel you have covered enough already (and perhaps have still more to do!)

Also, I keep thinking you went to the same Uni as me....

22 February 2011 - 12:32pm

Can't help myself:

Liverpool 123 is spot on (but you can also do ACA in a sweetshop/petrol station!)

What alarms me about accountants ruminating about the qualifications is people look to accountancy professionals for yes/no answers and accurate appraisals of net present value.

For that reason alone if you can't say as an accountant - the value of the ACA is higher than ACCA or CIMA - there is something seriously wrong with you and I'd question your ability to objectively do your job. I don't know maybe objectivity and NPV was left out of the ACCA and CIMA syllabuses (joking).

-

Again it alarms me accountants don't appraise the situation of growing membership in these bodeis objectively:

Although these bodies are essentially not-for-profit -they exist to make money:

ICAEW focus on elite universities and empoloyers and government advisory in the UK investment and financial markets - that is why they will ALWAYS be the top of the profession in the UK - it is impossible for any other body to take over their niche role.

ACCA focus instead on a mass market approach - getting as many students to sign up as possible - who cares if its 10 million people from some desert in SE ASIA who will never get a job - as long as they pay the fees...

And that is the reason why in the minds of employers and recruitment consultants - the ACA is preferred to the ACCA in the job market - the market position of the qualifications - and who is doing them.

-

More ramblings:

Graduate2010 is right - you should take anything - but in the long term is it better to take a year off and get into a big 4 next time than jump straight into doing the ACCA in a supermarket finance department - if your goal is to work in audit or advisory?

He also shows endless masters, phd etc are not the differentiating element in job interviews - they are looking for client facing people with soft skills.

Tutor - there is no light at the end of the tunnel if your english is rubbish and you look like the back end of a cow with the social skills and team working abilities of a donut - especially not now:

So PWC have upped jobs by 10% - so what - now its harder than ever to get in:

1. You have all the highly skilled, networked people who have lost jobs looking to downgrade or get into something stable - 20 - 40 year old career switchers and grads. 2. There are more sandwich degrees than ever before which automatically take up available trainee positions 3. There are more graduates than ever before and the grad job market has shrunk

So it goes like this: 1000 jobs at PWC:

- 100 positions filled by school-leavers - AAAA a-levels, captain of rowing team who thinks University is a waste of time or switched on parents - 300 positions filled by interns or sandwich degree placement students who have received offers after doing a year - grads doing business, management, economics etc - 200+ posiitions filled by accountancy grads whos degrees exempt them from exams

- that leaves 300+ places for the other 20,000+ people applying - factor in they have to take an equal number of women, ethnics etc and you can see - its tougher than ever - any excuse to stream you out will be used.

How on earth are you going to get through interview with patchy English or a CV that screams "does not fit in our organisation or UK social environment"

22 February 2011 - 11:52am

Okay ten - here is where life is not a Disney film:

1. No one cares about you or is wanting to "help you" - asking on internet boards is wasting your time.

2. In life the successful are the people who go out and make things happen - and those are what the employers want, so until you can answer your own question - you will not be able to make use of any answer - as it will be irrelevant. - Does this make sense?

There are plenty of Big 4 people posting on wikijob, thestudentroom etc - but this is all UK focussed. I would say use your common sense and phone the HR departemnts of all top 20 firms in yoru country and ask about internships, training, volountary work and jobs - they are best placed to advise you.

22 February 2011 - 10:56am

One more thing before I leave the post.....it is a myth to think that ACCA is more recongnised around the globe. This was probably made up by themselves. I have friends in every continent working in industry, public practice etc who are doing extremely well for themselves and are ACA qualified. Of course it helps if you have big firm experience but still.

It is a common fact that the ACCA board opened up their qualification to every Tom, Dick and Harry in order to be the "biggest by numbers." That's prestige for you!

22 February 2011 - 10:44am

My two cents on the debate....When I was at EY, then UBS the ACA's were miles ahead of the rest in regard to type of role and salary. Front office positions were filled comfortably by ACA's, leaving the rest of the race behind to fight it out for the less lucrative roles.

In a nutshell....ACA is miles ahead and will always be. CIMA is good for industry yes, but ACA can easily be transferable in industry, not vice versa.

It's also true that it depends on your background/experience, regardless of qualification (if the job spec matches your credentials) but if you are just comparing the qualifications then ACA would come out on top anyday.

You can work in a sweet shop/petrol station and be ACCA qualified....what good is that in today's fragile environment? At least CIMA has it's own recognised place.

22 February 2011 - 1:32am

Thank you very much dave, have been waiting for so long but no one seems to bother my question @@ You can actually just call me ten.

I would like to know how would I be able to talk to someone from the big4 firms? Will they voluntary meet me and answer my questions? I don't really think so.

21 February 2011 - 11:34pm

back again - as no one is helping our young friend -

tendousoujiooz - can I call you tendousoujiooz for short? Okay then:

Speak to some people at the big 4 firms in Malaysia to see what the score is than looking on internet forums - look at average pay scales etc and be realistic about what YOU can do - try and get an internship in any case and ask everyone about their jobs (not necessarily advice for you) - appearance is just as important as qualifications - so do well at school but also look after your image/social skills.

Start at the Big 4 and you can always move elsewhere after you get the qualification and get a feel for how the industry works and what you can achieve - you may even find its a souless, mind-numbing, socially debilitating profession and join the circus instead or throw yourself out the window at year end.

As regards which qualification offers the brightest future - there are 138 posts on here for you to trawl and 2 websites - ACCA and ICAEW.

After you've had a good look through that, and looked at where you are hoping to end up you should be able to work it out for yourself.

But do not make the common mistake of students - experience counts for much more in the career stakes than particular qualifications - so with this in mind if you are planning on making it "big" - you must head to the biggest employers and knock down their doors - don't get obsessed with qualifications - concentrate on meeting their requirements to get on their schemes.

To be honest doing either ACA or ACCA is not going to hold you back in whatever you end up doing - the world is your oyster qualifying so young - you could always try and improve language or other soft skills to go with your qualification once you've got it.

Best of luck, when you are running a huge investment bank and are looking for some talent - remember it was me who helped you make the first move and put you on the pathway to success.

15 February 2011 - 5:38pm

Im still facing a dilemma to choose between ACA or ACCA, Im staying in Malaysia, I would like to know which qualification would offer better job opportunities+salaries+benefits and has a brighter future? Thanks a lot.

P/S: I'm just 18 this year and am doing an important decision for my future.

10 February 2011 - 4:43pm

Graduated2010 is absolutely correct. This whole debate began in April 2008 before the recession when grad jobs were plentiful The highflyers from Oxbridge etc went off to IB, Hedge funds, etc the next tier went off to big 4 and the next tier went to smaller firms and did ACA or ACCA etc. Now the job market is still dire and we are faced with a so called "lost generation" of very well qualified grads getting nowhere in the job market. Big 4 suddenly become inundated with Oxbridge guys who cannot get into IB etc so the whole market gets shunted down on the ripple effect. So, go for the best job you can get. There may be a small light at the end of the tunnel. PwC are taking on 10% more grads this year and I imagine other big 4 will similarly increase their intake. Poor guys about to go to Uni and have £9k fees to pay AND GET NO JOB AT THE END OF IT...

9 February 2011 - 7:22pm

As for the debate between which one is better, I can honestly say it depends more now on actually getting a job. Whichever is offered, take it. Which one is better doesn't even factor into it. I have a 2.1 degree and a masters from a high ranking university and yet still cannot obtain an ICAS training vacancy. For all my years at Uni I wanted this, but I have been so fed up and put off with ICAS piddly number of vacancies that I switched and signed up for ACCA exams. I have friends from last year who were very good students, but still found it incredibly difficult to get a training vacancy. Some took a year out, some turned their back on it. Some got jobs with the big four doing all kinds of qualifications: ACCA, ICAS, CIPFA etc and good for them. But in terms of ICAS training vacancies, they are just so few and far between, especially in Scotland. Tbh, I am actually fed up with all the bickering that goes on between fellow professionals about which one is the better or even best. Frankly, as a new graduate, I just feel very despondent and upset that with the fact that jobs are hard to come by, we are even considering such a futile debate; it is even making me think twice about being an accountant. I agree with dave2020, if you get a job with big four doing either of the qualifications, then it is a major achievement. Either or, if you get a job doing ACCA or ICAS/ICAEW, then just take it - at least you're doing something, you can always switch later if you want to join another CCAB body. Just to say, ICAS isn't as cachet as it once was, and ACCA is catching up or has caught up. Accounting, like medicine, is not so much an elitist middle class profession as it used to be; we all have degrees now, so the competition for any accounting trainee positions is more fierce than ever. It is just a shame that some of us study just to find out that vacancies are not there. My advice, just take whichever is offered to you in the meantime. If you are a good student, then it won't matter.

7 February 2011 - 1:39pm

I cannot reveal my identity. Suffice it to say I actually am not at all out of touch with recruitment processes as you imagine.

But do keep posting. I enjoy your posts.

7 February 2011 - 1:22pm

rant over.

Just do the ACA if you can for pity's sake, but if you get in at a big 4 and they only offer ACCA don't worry - do that.

That is definitely my last post.

Bye

7 February 2011 - 1:12pm

So let me conclude in the brutal and blunt manner in which all recruitment and HR people would process an application:

1. You studied far too long ago to make relevant comments about the structure of the qualifications in the current market or the similarity/differences in content and standard.

2. People you work with have been qualified for a while - so its down to their ability not qualification - so comments on their various merits are again worthless as you are not dealing with high volumes of students on a day to day basis.

3. You have no current recruitment market selection experience or in applying for jobs or selecting for jobs or doing interviews yourself. I doubt when you applied for jobs the process was automated by computers which screen out applicants on algorithms without a humnan even seeing the application...

<<THIS IS NOT A DEBATE ABOUT ACCOUNTANTS OR WHICH QUAL MAKES THE BEST ACCOUNTANTS>>

This is a thread to ask what the difference is between ACA and ACCA and which is preferrable in the current job market for new students taking up trainee roles.

He is not being rude or sexist - bluntly applications are dealt with on this basis:

1. Stream the students with preferable backgrounds 2. Cut out the ones who lack anglocised social skills 3. Pick the best looking and best fit for the firm

To maximise your chances at point 1) It is best to come from a top firm background, and if possible with the ACA as opposed to ACCA which is considered to be "second best" and often streamed out.

Please stop your egalitarian nonsense which is not giving anyone any answers to a rather simple question - which is the best choice NOW?

Come on try it - one word answer - which is the best option for a new student?

And you're last statement is nail on head - with so many UK 2:1 numerate graduates with client-facing experience - UK employers do not need to take on someone from Mumbai who has jumped off the boat with the ACCA and CFA or the QWERGAHFKS.

7 February 2011 - 10:10am

Hi Dave2020 Sorry if you cannot understand why I posted as I did.I really hope nobody is seriously asking for careers advice on here. But they should be able to obtain some accurate information not some whacky opinion based on some clearly unrepresentative firm.

I posted because frankly I was annoyed by gjc1970's post as it was wholly unhelpful, rude and sexist.I also suspect he is old enough to know better when posting on a site where some more easily influenced, vulnerable participants are looking for advice.Not everyone can read these posts with a big pinch of salt and brush it off. The trouble with anonymous postings is that you get all sorts of unqualified opinions.

Posts on this site are generally good. In my opinion ACCA, CIMA, ICAS, ACA, etc all have their place. Horses for courses. That is fact. Not fence sitting. I'm very old. I know these things and I have helped many students over the years.

I'm not sitting on the fence. I was trying to introduce BALANCE to a debate that as you are aware has been rehearsed on this site to the point of absolute tedium.

Being FCA makes me ancient (well you have to be ACA for at least 10 years) by comparison with many participants on here. But I have watched the accountancy profession evolve and honestly, all the qualifications have their place. I had a not insubstantial investment in a small group of companies and regularly made site visits to operating companies. Some had ACCAs as FD or MD others had FCA and one had CIMA. All excellent and all delivering to high standards or I would not have invested. I don't do billable hours nor am bothered with the FCA which as an academic researcher, I no longer use.

I'm now thinking that this has confused you more. Sorry.

As for the issue of foreigners, debts etc that is a whole separate issue. But surely applies equally to very many UK students who have huge debts and a 2.1 and no hope of paid employment.

7 February 2011 - 12:22am

tutor - I can't work you out....

Although gjc1970 has gone a bit OTT - that's exactly the kind of blunt comment people who look on this thread are after.

You've got to be brutally honest - people like you posting sitting on the fence non-commital egalitarian musings aren't helping prospective students make decisions.

Look at some of these posts - there are lots of foreign people getting into £30k debt doing courses, and a few who honestly think that by doing the ACCA in TImbuktu they can ge ta free Oxford Brookes Bsc degree, then get the CFA - they'll land a high paid job in corporate finance in London......

We all know it doesn't work like that- and we all know the ACA carries more weight than the ACCA in the recruitment market so stop sitting on the fence...

What would you sugest to the guy getting into massive debt doing his masters?

"manchester is a very good university, I've met many accountants with masters in economics from manchester who are just as capable as economics grads from cambridge and oxford.....blah blah blah ....yawn yawn yawn."

Get to the point - they asking for careers advice, actually I put it to you that you are in fact trying to get everyone to do the ACCA so your FCA standing is seen as even more elitist and you can up your billable hours?!?!

6 February 2011 - 9:48am

gjc1970 (is your dob 1970?) Not the most constructive comment that I have read on this website , which, generally is quite useful for those hoping to join our profession. First, I'm an FCA so possibly a bit bias. However, I really feel that your post at 9.49 last evening is an unnecessarily vitriolic attack on the ACCA profession. Maybe you were feeling tired or had a bad day at work? I'm rather concerned that the posting says more about you and your firm and that you are using a clearly unrepresentative sample of ACCAs to pass an opinion on a very reputable institute.Is it about 3 or 4 who work for you? I know very many pretty damn useless ACAs who bump along in pretty low grade jobs in accountancy. Equally a quick survey of the FTSE 250 companies will show you the very many ACCAs who are so called "captains of industry". Are you are an audit manager, partner or perhaps a financial controller in industry? My questions would be how many ACCAs work for you and what standard of firm do you work for if, after 15 years of poor work, these ACCAs are STILL working for your firm? I question the quality of your firm, and your ability to manage the staff working for you. You should be addressing staff weaknesses by trying to train them to improve their standard of work and if that fails then why are you still retaining these people? The last comment is a gift for any occupational psychologist. Or maybe it was a joke?

5 February 2011 - 11:38pm

Could you explain your situation?

I.e what kind of company etc

5 February 2011 - 9:49pm

At the end of the day, the ACCA qualification is fundamentally worthless. I have people working for me who have been doing ACCA for about 15 years and still don't have much of a clue what they're doing. ACA - 3 years - reputable firm, not necessarily big 4 - and I'd hire them. I wouldn't hire an ACCA unless they were extremely attractive.

5 February 2011 - 10:10am

Mohen:

Look into the PGCE:

http://www.tda.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/teacher-training-options/pgce.aspx?sc_lang=en-GB

A trained monkey can pass that and you get paid a salary - more than any small accountancy firm will pay you for half the hours, and qualify as a key worker so they won't kick you out. - You should be able to get on a teaching course somewhere for a Sept 2011 start - visa sorted.

<<Chuck in the Masters ASAP>> it won't lead to a job.

Whilst doing this you can do the ACA/ACCA as well should you like.

Then you can easily teach, or get a job in a school - your Iranian language skills are in demand - I worked with someone whose aunt got up to £50 an hour to translate Iranian for NHS appointments and home office...there should be lots of part-time work you can get to keep you going. Have a google around or speak to people at the local council.

-

I say forget about the ACA as the be all and end all and the way to sty in the UK - the reason being you don't actually WANT to be an accountant and will probably have a breakdown when your accountancy firm treat you like a dog doing crazy hours - on top of professional exams.

Maths teachers out-earn most accountants in the short run if you look at hourly rate and extra tuition work + massive holidays, and in the long-run its an un-sackable job....that works out much better on the hourly rate + tons of holiday.

Just make sure you go to the gym regularly so you are physically threatening and aim for schools with more ethnic kids and less of the English working classes - the kids in UK comprehensive schools are worse than most inmates in prison.

5 February 2011 - 9:44am

Brachioz - yes ACA or equivalent means ACCA or a foreign CA that can sign off UK audit.

"Also, if you join GT or PWC for ACCA would this be better than an applicant from a small firm with ACA?"

A) this depends on what you want to do, it's like asking "whats better, joining Manchester United as a striker or Chelsea as a goalkeeper" - you need to look at WHAT you want to be doing in the world of accountancy - career progression, location etc to work out your choice, then you will answer this question yourself.

Which role do you want to work in? Which Sector? What size of client? Do you want a 9-5? etc etc

You need to really think what you want to be doing - as your first role will to a great extent pidgeon-hole you. "he's an auditor", "he's a management accountant", "he's a big four ACA", "he's a small business expert" - in the mind of these incredibly wonderful recruitment consultants and job interviewers/HR people....

B) the straight answer to your question - in the top end job market "yes" Big 4 ACCA would be better - sadly no one has any time or cares about anyone - so its easier to pidgeon hole you as "big 4 auditor" - knowing they are a benchmark, than to waste time listening to you drivel on about how great firm X is and what clients they have....then having to see if they actually exist and have a good rep.

4 February 2011 - 9:29pm

thank you very much for your brutal and persuasive responses,however there are somepoints that I like to speak about them a bit more. 1)unfortunately I am not a math teacher(my maths is good because iI have studied economics for six years,and my major has been maths in high school) so there is no formal doc that I have been a teacher.if there is any chance for me to start it I would love it.

2)do you think continuing my study is better than being an ACA?( looking at the horizon for both)

3)my visa will expires in Jan 2012(thats why I want to find a job as soon as possible or decide on my studdies)

4 February 2011 - 9:15pm

Very insightful for foreign applications. I agree with point 3. The first post isn't well constructed so written exercises may be a problem.

On an unrelated note, when a job asks for ACA or equivalent, does this include ACCA or e.g. CA?

Also, if you join GT or PWC for ACCA would this be better than an applicant from a small firm with ACA?

Thanks,

4 February 2011 - 2:43pm

Okay - well that tells a lot.

If you want to stay in teaching/academia or possibly go back abroad and do that - then sticking out the masters MAY be worth it - phd etc if you really want to go for it and do that as a career - but you need to seriously look into that and get a job lined up in a university first.

- Accountancy/finance jobs:

UCAS points are University entry points which are used by employers to deal with the volume of applicants - you need to know what you have otherwise there is no point sending out any applications at all.

Head to PWC/KPMG/Deloitte and see if you meet the minimum entry requirements from your foreign quals - speak to UCAS to see what you got.

However I think you are going to find it tough to get a decent firm training contract.

Things going against you:

1. foreign - why bother employing you when 10,000+ graduates roll out each year from the UK + UK based careers switchers. Had you been for example a financial analyst from Iran, then it would be a different story, but you are a maths teacher.

2. don't fit into standard UCAS info for human resources to deal with - UCAS points are used by computers or recruitment concultants to screen people out before a human even considers your application. Sadly most recruiters will put your application in the bin if it doesn't say "BBB a-levels" or whatever the client asked for.

3. language/social barrier - even if you make it to interview (get passed online tests of your English) I think you'll be beaten by other more anglocised applicants - from your usage of English in the first post -it smacks of someone who isn't a True English speaker.

"does this story exist in reality?" "(my grades are very well in economics)."

- Although I may be completely wrong - at assessment day everyone may think you are incredibly handsome, confident and articulate and you'll beat everyone else.

4. No one cares if you have a masters, in fact they may even count it against you - too much study "one of those foreign students", not enough practical client facing work.

-

Things going for you: 1. You're a maths teacher 2. You speak Iranian? 3. You have a work ethic

I suggest chuck in the masters - get a temp job - perfect would be teaching maths in one of Manchesters many failing comprehensives - the pay will be good for what it is.

Whilst doing this - self study the ACA or ACCA qualification, after you have passed 6 exams apply to accountancy firms - smaller firms or finace roles which need Iranian or languages you have.

Alternatively stay in school, move up "pay bands" - you'll get 13 weeks holiday a year where you can work part-time as a youth worker workingon "muslim projects" or as Iranian translator for the NHS or schools -you'll out-earn most accountants, have more job security and less hours...

My sister is a maths teacher in a rubbish comprehensive in London, she is on £45k and gets 13 weeks paid off a year...lots of extra cash in hand work as a tutor.

4 February 2011 - 1:04pm

well, Im Iranian 25 economics UCAS? teaching math to highschool and undergraduate students(self employed) in five year:like to secure a job with good salary. so bad, that I cant apply for my phd(30000 pounds) have got ameditranian face(hieght:1.98cm,black hair dark green eyes) people say Im handsome and extremely adaptable. thank you

3 February 2011 - 12:43pm

well im iranian,25 years old,my undergraduate degree was economics as well,in iran I was selfemployed(teaching math to high school,and undergraduate student)..I have paid 11200 pounds for one year master course.I want to have job with good salary in five year time. I dont have enough money to continue my phd,since ACA shares some modules with economics(taxation,money finance.....) I hope to hit two birds with one stone. have got a meditranian face(height:1.89cm, black hair,dark green eyes) ,people say I am goodlooking and extremely adaptable person.

3 February 2011 - 11:55am

What is your:

nationality age undergraduate degree UCAS points work experience how much is your masters costing where do you wnt to be in 5 years time how bad is the financial situation are you good-looking/charismatic/popular

All important questions.

2 February 2011 - 8:23pm

At the moment I am doing a master in economics in manchester university. having finacial difficulties ,I have decided to apply for job in some firms which I am supposed to be supported by them to do a course in ACA. some quistion: 1)does this story exist in reality? if so, how much is the chance of my employment by this firm(my grades are very well in economics).

2)do you think it is a right decision?

any kind of advice will be appreciated

1 January 2011 - 5:04pm

Zadran - they do realize they are different qualifications, they are simply narrowing down the selection for the calibre of people they want to interview for the particular role:

1) CFA: asset management experience vetted by CFA + passed those exams.

2) ACA: (big 4) - Assumed experience of working on FTSE 100 clients.

Most of the calibre of people they are after start their finance careers in the big 4 training programmes, CFA is much less common.

They are looking for a type of person.

1 January 2011 - 11:37am

Mr Pagreen,or anyother Brother

Could you please help me with my questions,,i thank you in advance for that

As we all know CFA and ACA are 2 different qualifications,, why dont the Employers realise it?? recent i have seen some jobs which say the candidate should either be ACA or CFA,,,,, MAY I know if these 2 qualifications can work for one another?

Thanks

5 December 2010 - 5:19pm

Thanks a lot again dave2020 cant tell how it went couldnt read the partner at all so will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Did research and was aware of the GAA and the firm I went to said to they endorse ACA because of the exam structure being more spaced out so that junoirs (ie graduates who have just joined) can serve clients almost throughout the year rather than with other boards where they will have a block of examinations which means that seniors will have to carry out the mundane aspects of a client's audits which juniors normally do and is considered a waste of their time.

5 December 2010 - 11:40am

Good luck with the assessment day!

Had you been offered the ACCA - it wouldn't matter as its the firm you work for and experience that will count for your career, 5 years post-qual they are interchangeable - the qualification is just a means to that end. But given the choice...

-

Too true - the debates and comments on threads simply muddy the waters and don't give answers, hopefully points raised on here will help prospective students investigate further to draw conclusions.

You need to look through the marketing and make an objective assessment at the point in time you do the qualification - don't believe the marketing or listen to anyone else - e.g. what I've posted will be out of date next year.

However be aware:

-The ACCA intentionally misleads people regards it having international recognition that makes recognised all over the world and the best one to have for overseas employment. ( ACA is actually the international recruitment passport - being the UK member of GAA)

-ACA intentionally mislead people as to it being somehow the most difficult and intellectually better than the rest, so "worth more".

Both of those statements are complete lies and marketing spin, but widely believed to be true, even more so outside accountancy circles (recruiters and employers).

This shall be my last post I promise!!

x

3 December 2010 - 11:16am

Thanks a lot dave2020. I am biased as I'm going to an assessment day for a ACA position as a graduate in a mid tier firm but its good to hear your enthusiastic endorsement and the fact that you think its the best qualificationto go for at this moment in time, as all these debates do for me personally is muddy the waters.

20 November 2010 - 10:22pm

I'm part qualified, meant to be studying hence wasting time posting on forums whilst staring at Kaplan engage.

Recruiters are worse than estate agents - only after pushing the %

-

I'm honeslty trying to help newbies who are lookin g for answers to which qual to do - as I did when I started off doing ACCA:

I feel everyone regardless of their qualification should advise prospective students (which people posting questions on here are) to do ACA - if there is a choice. Its simply the best choice for NEW students at the moment all things considered (who have no idea where their careers will take them -e.g. at some point having to sign off an audit) - that can't be argued - its fact.

A good example are the 2000 people who have lost their jobs from the audit commision being axed - CIPFA's who can't join ACA under pathways to membership ( 5 years post-qual experience) cannot sign off on private listed audits and therefore are disadvantaged to join the private firms who will now be in charge of that work.

Anyone who's qualified and working - it doesn't matter forget about hte idiot recruiters -- there is no difference especially after 5 years when anyone can claim membership to ACA under pathways to membership - should they prefer to name themselves using the protected term "chartered accountant" or use the ACA membership of GAA to work abroad and gain reciprocal membership of foreign bodies.

20 November 2010 - 8:06pm

Too much information. I'm guessing your ACCA friend was not part of any trial to formulate your "theory"............ I like those recruiters. Sound judges. Wait for some angry retorts from ACCAS. Are you qualified now?

20 November 2010 - 5:31pm

True - last 3 ACA are 2 sittings a year - all other 4 sittings or multiple choice, still miles better than ACCA for flexibility: 2 sittings a year from F4 - F9 + 4 P papers, F1 - F3 multiple choice.

CIMA I here are bringing in a one month after exam re-sit sitting.

-

Its not my "theory" on filtering applications - I lived with finance recruiters - apparently its the way it goes to whittle down suitable applicants - ACA is always preferred, big 4 is always preferred - they can get more money for those as the perception is they are higher calibre from clients.

Also foreigners - yep unfortunately they'd get 500+ applicants for some posts - and the initial screen was done using ACA or the post would be revised to say ACA only as its UK grads with those - and they'd get too many foreign ACCA applications.

thats what they thought as recruiters....

-

My "theory" is ACA's are better in bed.

20 November 2010 - 4:42pm

ACA: The reality is that in the advanced stage (2 papers) and the case study, there are TWO sittings per annum. End ofJuly and beginning of November. So if you fail in November you don't re-take til the end of July. That's nearly 9 months to forget the subject. If you fail in July (you get exam results 5 weeks after sitting exam) you hear mid August and re-take 10 weeks later. I'm intrigued with your theory on filtering out foreign applicants. Is Clegg behind this?!

20 November 2010 - 4:15pm

The people debating the factual points I've harped on about on this thread qualified years ago - things have changed in delivery and structure since they studied using quills and parchment....;)

Both qualifications require 3 years experience + numerous exams to qualify - exams can be done either before, during or after experience is signed off - only difference with ACA being the last ACA exam require you to have done or be doing year 3.

Both can have the experience signed off by ANY CCAB-qualified accountant - (ACA require if the person is not a recognized trainer - they phone ICAEW and speak to one of their members to "oversee" them)

-

I dare say being ACA/ACCA qualified will have as much relevance as your hair colour in an actual interview or to the job you do - they'd both be equally as 'beneficial".

But do be warned even if the marketplace perception of ACA being better diminishes - lots of recruiters screen out as "ACA only" to stop a deluge of un-anglocised foreign applications flooding in to wade through as so many people take the ACCA abroad then applying to jobs here.

And the reality is with 4 exam sittings a year and 6 multiple choice sit-any-time papers - the ACA is much, much easier to fit around work than the ACCA. Something I'm always reminded by my fed-up ACCA friend who is re-sitting F7 for the third time in December - forgetting the whole subject everytime he has to wait another 6 months to try again!

19 November 2010 - 10:42pm

I've read the thread with great interest (although the same points seems to be debated). I've been thrust into the role of finance administrator, and I've been bitten by the bug.

Forensic accounting interests me, and I haven't been able to work out which qualification (ACA or ACCA) would be most beneficial. The thing that concerns me the most is the 'relevant work experience'. Is it mandatory to have that experience whilst you are doing either course?

Thanks in advance!

18 November 2010 - 12:42pm

Check out the ACCA website. I'm ACA but imagine like our Institute you'll be expected to have worked in accountancy as you study for your exams.

18 November 2010 - 12:32pm
Hey, read some comments and people have said that you dont need any work experience for the ACCA...however just looked it up and found this:

"...and three-years' relevant practical experience."

so do you or do you not need pracitcal experience? I'm going to do ACA but have an interview next week and don't want to look like an idiot if I get quizzed on the alternatives! Thanks :)

22 October 2010 - 11:18am

Hi, I'm hearing that the ACCA is more internationally renowned - is this including Europe too, or are they more likely to consider the ACA given their proximity? Thanks

17 October 2010 - 3:59pm

Hi there, new to the forum and was curious to find out if anyone had any idea where a masters' degree in accounting stands in terms of acceptance onto a CA (ICAS) training vacancy. I currently do not have a high level of UCAS points (180,i believe) as i had to leave school early due to illness, but i did complete a higher national diploma in accounting, subsequently transferring to an ICAS accredited university. Currently i can find no mention as to how much weight a masters degree or HND carries in terms of gaining access to CA training and whether if i apply my application will go directly into the bin because of obvious lack of minimum requirements. Does anyone know if employers value the master degree and to what extent is a HND suitable as a substitute for UCAS points? Any replies would be very much appreciated.

13 October 2010 - 8:31pm

Some valid points Dave, some I disagree with. I've made my opinions quite clear earlier in the forum so I won't nitpick on which ones I have issue with.

I'll just re-emphasise the one you said which carries the most overall weight - 3-5 years post qualification - it doesn't matter that much. I've found that and really that's the main point!

13 October 2010 - 6:04pm

Original post:

Hi all.

Can anyone elaborate the difference between ACA and ACCA, please? At KPMG there are these two routes in audit, and the entry requirement for ACA is stricter than for ACCA. I am really curious and would like to know which qualification is better in terms of long term career developments.

Many thanks,

Sushi

-

I actually started ACCA based on advice in chat rooms and threads like this - then switched to ACA halfway through - got up to F9 on ACCA.

Always makes me laugh when ACA's describing their qualification as harder or more rigorous (thats the marketing at work - just like ACCA is more international or flexible -lol) - ACA I'd say they were slightly easier than ACCA if anything...

The straightforward and objective answer to the question: 1. Once you are qualified for 3-5 years it doesn't matter 2. ACA is always preferred for career prospects if you are starting off 3. CIPFA/CIMA is only good if you are 100% sure you don't want to audit or want to work in public sector. 4. ACA is the UK member of GAA so the only UK qual that gets you recipricol membership of overseas bodies.

So given the choice do the ACA, why anyone would advise a prospective student otherwise is down to them having a chip on the shoulder, quite sad but understandable.

They are all similarly intellectually demanding (its the same subject and standards regualted by government bodies) and all are as flexible these days to be competitive.

Obviously the bodies don't actually want to merge as it means the gravy train of funding and "posts" in the separate bodies would be over + all the lovely fees they charge and consultancy work!

They are only seen to want to work collectively for public benefit - as government tries to make chartered accountancy available for all and things simpler for the public to understand. E.g. ATT is a cohesive strategy to protect self-interest but appease government pressur on equal opportunities for all. CCAB is a cartel....

- In many countries you cannot become a chartered accountant unless you have a 3 year accounting degree - immediately putting most of their population out of being able to get access to the profession so we are lucky in UK

-

But - lets be honest - we all know the layman knows "chartered accountant" not "certified chartered accountant" and the recruitment consultant perspective is ACA or "big 4" has better candidates (wrong assumption but one they make to screen applicants).

If all qualifieds could start again and train quess which they'd pick to save hassle and pointelss debate? ACA ;)

And relax.

12 October 2010 - 9:08pm

Or to go off at a real tangent, take the Lord Sugar career path.

12 October 2010 - 9:07pm

Here we go again folks...................................

12 October 2010 - 8:43pm

Albo/Tutor - just to clarify this isn't a "mine's bigger thread"- my diatribe is aimed at new students considering what to study.

People who come on here are asking for advice on which body to study with, they have not qualified with x years experience - (we can clearly see many FD's with NO qualifications on the FTSE list so its irrelevant once you have a few years under your belt)

But:

In the current recruitment market ACA out-earn ACCA on average, and Big 4 is preferred to smaller firms on CV's by recruitment consultants. Consultants and non finance qualification savvy firms use "ACA" or "big 4" as short hand for streaming applications.

When I'm talking about 50 year old applicants being streamed out - I'm talking about entry level/recently qualified posts. You are not allowed to discriminate overtly on race/age/sex - so using things like "must have degree 2:1" etc ensures you are getting a certain type of applicant - they're even using "must have graduated in past 5 years" now.

I lived with a hays recruitment that is the way it goes.

Once you are qualified and have 10 years of running a multinational - of course you are going to be employed abroad on merit, but with no experience - the qualification you have is looked at more - so being able to join foreign bodies that prove you know their tax and law systems is rather useful when going for jobs abroad, don't you think?

-

Anyone who recommends one of the others over ACA is obviously thinking about their own career/life - just be objective - if you had to start from scratch - in the current climate - which one would you do now if offered all at a big 4? Have you looked at the exam structures recently - which now make ACA the most flexible for spreading out exams to compete with ACCA or CIMA?

Apart from deluded ACA's or those who did their eexams with quills on parchmnet that assume their exams are harder - the snobbery is actually inverse - it comes from ACCA's and CIMA's harping on about how its all the same and ACCA is growing or audit is for peopel with no personality and CIMA is more people-based - and these people not being objective when people ask for legitimate advice on what is the best choice at this present time for their career prospects.

Obviously ACCA at a big 4 is going to be better on the CV than ACA at a sole practitioners. But if there is a choice and you are in UK- always go with ACA to keep all options open.

So for a prospective accountant in terms of career prospects - including emigrating or switching to an audit role:

ACA>ACCA>CIMA>CIPFA

Coke>Pepsi>Virgin cola>Asda cola

12 October 2010 - 1:41am

i have read all the post from the first to the last.......i would like some advise cause i am a little confused on what to do......i am from Greece as you all know here we are in a difficult situation....so its dificult for someone to find a job here....and much more if you font have working experience....i ve studied mathematics.so i thought to do something else instead of sitting here just trying to find job....i would like you to advise me what you think is better.... 1.Go to Cyprus and study aca or acca(which is better for my country? ) while working ofcourse and if i want to come back when things are better here i ll have that experience they all want :) 2.go to Cyprus do an mba first and then i ll choose if i want to do aca or acca 3.go again to Cyprus and try to find a job and do cfa (but i heard its very difficult and cant pass it if you dont have finance experience) So which you thing is better way???.......you find better the mba or the aca/acca?????......and last but not least question if i do aca/acca can i work in finance issues eg.fiancial analyst-planner cause i think i prefer it from auditing thanx guys if anyone can help me i would appreciate it.....cause i am very confused and some months now i am loosing time

5 October 2010 - 6:19pm

Agreed Tutor and well put!

I get Accountancy Age but read it - usually not. I do, however, recycle it.

PS By squabbling I meant the greater masses, not you and I.

5 October 2010 - 5:41pm

Is anyone in fact squabbling? Who is? It is an age old debate for sure. Over rehearsed and redundant. We are clearly both very proud of our Professions and quite rightly. Do you recall why CIMA declined the merger? I think (but you probably know more detail) because it was going to be a takeover and CIMA would effectively become a sub group or faculty within the ICAEW? Anyway, I do hope we have entertained the masses with our private debate, yes? I hope you're not an "Accountancy Age" reader? That could produce another exchange of sentiments. It's an awful rag.

5 October 2010 - 1:42pm

As a final point, whilst I personally think there should be one Accountancy qualification in the UK and we should do away with this squabbling over which one is better, I also find it amusing that it was the CIMA Board that rejected a merger with ICAEW.

Odd that an 'inferior' Institute would turn down a merger with a 'superior' one.

5 October 2010 - 1:42pm

As a final point, whilst I personally think there should be one Accountancy qualification in the UK and we should do away with this squabbling over which one is better, I also find it amusing that it was the CIMA Board that rejected a merger with ICAEW.

Odd that an 'inferior' Institute would turn down a merger with a 'superior' one.

5 October 2010 - 1:42pm

As a final point, whilst I personally think there should be one Accountancy qualification in the UK and we should do away with this squabbling over which one is better, I also find it amusing that it was the CIMA Board that rejected a merger with ICAEW.

Odd that an 'inferior' Institute would turn down a merger with a 'superior' one.

5 October 2010 - 11:02am

And no, many of the Big 4 do support ACCA (and ICAS) now - another sign of an ever changing world!

5 October 2010 - 11:01am

Or ask yourself why your Institute wants ACCAs. Declining membership? The mere fact that your institute now invites this says it all in my opinion.

ACCA has no need to invite ACAs to join - their membership is increasing!

I'd be interested to know just how many ACCAs go down that route - not that many I'd be willing to bet. Why would they? It holds no interest for me. I'm 100% happy with my qualification...

5 October 2010 - 10:32am

I agree entirely with your views. I find it interesting that you chose to do a different qualification to the majority of your colleagues. Good independence there! Were you offered the choice to do ACA? Presumably not a big 4 firm because I think they pretty much ask everyone to do ACA.

I think you have slightly shot your argument through the foot when you said that ACCAs may join the ICAEW. That in itself rather indicates the rankings of the two institutes. You don't find ACAs joining the ACCA institute.

And, I have to add that ACCA membership of our institute (I'm FCA by the way) is not automatic. ACCAs must first pass the "examination of experience" which is equivalent to the advanced stage of our professional exams which our graduate trainees sit in their second year.

Ask yourself why an ACCA wants to join our Institute?

5 October 2010 - 8:36am

Tutor I studied and qualified ACCA 7 years ago. I hold a degree and still had to do 12 difficult exams. I chose ACCA due to its flexibility and international standing. I worked in practice where the majority were doing ACA so it was a personal preference.

My only point is that the end product of all 3 (or 4 including CIPFA) should produce a similarly equal calibre of professional and the apparent snobbery surrounding ACA and the put downs of other qualifications has had its day.

I think this is further evidenced by the fact that ICAEW now admits ACCA qualifieds into their Institute. Or could that just be due to declining student numbers - not that I'm a cynic...

4 October 2010 - 10:42pm

Albo, out of interest which are you doing? ACA or ACCA and why did you opt for it? ICAEW for sure takes more graduate trainees than does the ACCA Institute and most of those with 2.1s and firsts. I believe (but please correct me if I'm incorrect) that the majority of ICAEW intake are grads whereas the ACCA is mainly non grads. Why do the Oxbridge/Russell group of grads with 1st and 2.1 degrees not opt for ACCA? Is there a lack of publicity to attract them?

4 October 2010 - 10:20pm

But only AAT/GCSE/and 2 A levels needed to gain entry to ACA, ACCA you can gain entry via GCSE & 2 A levels. So basic entry route very similar in both...

The exam rigour is hardly that different. Don't forget to look at the pass rates - far lower for ACCA than ACA so even if exams 'seen' as harder under ACA more get through so I believe it evens out there.

I'm not at all conviced ACA is in any way superior - nor do I believe ACCA/CIMA are superior. The accountancy world in teh UK needs to get its act together - quit squabbling over 'superiority' and have one qualification.

4 October 2010 - 10:03pm

Yes but I do believe that the exam entry requirements and the exam riguor places ACA at a different academic/professional level. Whether it produces a good end product, I agree , is debatable.

4 October 2010 - 9:31pm

Tutor, overall valid points but the pedestal is imaginary. Having worked extensively in both practice and industry this idea that ACA is superior to ACCA/CIMA etc is OUTDATED! I have come across some shockingly bad qualified ACAs. Of course these individuals slip through the net in all fields but this pedestal that ACAs put themselves on is imaginary and ridiculous.

It's snobbery - on a professional level and the fact the people still perpetrate these ideas is shocking to me!

4 October 2010 - 8:47pm
Tom

I've only read the last few posts - but remember that ACCA is generally more recognised internationally than ACA. ACA being more recognised in the UK.

Of course, this is perception, and subjective, and therefore very subject to change.

From my experience, there is little difference between the two - ACCA trainees are equally adept as ACA and vice versa.

I rather like tutor's analogy with Oxbridge, etc,

4 October 2010 - 1:48pm

Dave2020,I think you'll find that a lot of ACAs/CAs in their 50s are pretty useful in their careers! Douglas Flint CBE is a CA (understatement as he has a string of qualifications and sat on various accountancy boards. Degree from Glasgow and Harvard) is 54 and just been appointed Chairman of HSBC. He has no interfacing etc problems!! You cannot generalise on this ACA/ACCA debate. Rather like Oxbridge versus "All the other Universities". Many will argue that Oxbridge gives you considerably more social capital but hey, lots of grads from the Russell Group unis are doing very well too. There are good and poor quality in both groups. Ditto for ACA/ACCA. However, like an Oxbridge degree, ACA is perceived to be the better qualification. It's not an imaginary pedestal, sorry, Albo. However, Dave2020 is a tad naive with some of his comments.

4 October 2010 - 9:07am

More ACA branded foolishness. I know several ACCAs who had NO problem emigrating abroad - US, Australia included.

When will ACAs climb down off their imaginary pedestal???

4 October 2010 - 8:57am

ACA/CA(ICAS or the irish one)>ACCA>CIMA......>CIPFA for your career, don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

As ACA contracts are harder to get, as is getting into a big 4 - recruiters use it to screen applicants for jobs - you'll often see "ACA" only or "Big 4 only" or must have degree 2:1 - this is to stop them having 10,000 applications arriving from Pakistan/india and loads of CVs from 50 year olds who are going to be useless at client facing work/marketing the firm. Sorry life is unfair but that is the way it goes.

Only ACA and ACCA can audit - but the reason ACA is more useful (as with ICAS and the irish one) is because its a member of GAA - global accounting alliance - this is the most useful thing if you are looking to emigrate or work abroad. ACCA is an international qualification - you can study it anywhere - but step into an australian/US/Japanese recruiters and they do not know what ACCA or ACA is - and you are immediately disadvantaging yourself in the job market.

I know a ACCA who has been trying to get work at the same level in Aus they had here for 2 years without any luck, only being offered trainee roles.

However if you are ACA (or ICAs or irish one) you are a member of GAA which means you automatically can join those countries top accounting bodies - 1 tax/law exam - no extra years qualification - unlike ACCA where you will have to do their whole qualification from scratch including 3 years PER!!!!!

This is what ACCA don't tell you in their marketing hype of "internationality" - which is basically aggresively marketing in developing countries - by offering things like a free "oxford" degree.....but being completely useless for getting a job unless maybe in Malaysia.

The only reason to do ACCA over ACA is becase you can't get an ACA training contract - ACA exams have 4 sittings a year and 6 multiple choice so are actually easier to get started with and spread out than ACCA - they are both the same difficulty - i know because I switched halfway from ACCA to ACA.

CIMA/CiPFA - can't audit - so they profess to be focus more on people etc - in CIPFA case its public sector blagging - so if you want a 20 hour flexi-week pretend unsackable job - do CIPFA - you'll earn just as much as an ACA at a big 4 and probably more when you work out the hourly rate + benefits from being a public sector parasite. However you may get stuck in Barking and Dagenham, and have to face every day knowing you are wasting taxpayers money and deal with the dregs of society - civil servants.

10 September 2010 - 8:31pm

In terms of a passport into any job in any field, which one between ACA, ACCA, and CIMA offers the best opportunity to eventually pick and choose any company and ideally any position i.e which qualification gives you the best holistic and overall foundation??? your help would be great.....

8 September 2010 - 2:46pm

hi, i am ACCA affiliate... can anybody guide me in getting good job...particularly in audit firms??

8 September 2010 - 12:51pm

My take on bingkk32's reference would be that my institute is more selective and the exam system makes it harder to get into. There are more people entering the accountancy profession but they cannot all get into the ICAEW.

3 September 2010 - 8:53am

ACCA is equally as respected as ACA. Some of the comments noted above are very outdated ideas. There is a reason that ACCA is growing far faster than ACA. It is far more global than ACA. ACA has been losing candidates to ACCA and ICAS etc in recent years, that in itself says something.

Any half decent employer would recognise the benfits in either!

30 August 2010 - 5:41pm

Just to correct you GIC1970 on a couple of points;

There is a ten year time limit for sitting exams, so you cannot go on taking them indefinitley, also to gain the FCCA designation you have to prove evidence of three years practical experience in addition to completing the exams. You cannot claim to be a qualified accountant until you have proved experience as well.

The ACCA has been around for over 100 years and is a well established global business qualification. Ultimatley ACCA, CIMA and ACA all have the word Chartered in their title, however, as other contributers have mentioned I'm not sure ACA is recognised as well internationally.

Not everyone wants to work in a Big 4 firm (We all know what happened to the 5th...) and unless you do you have no option but to study one of the other qualifications as it is not available to the "less academically gifted" by any other route. Unless you wish to correct me......?

18 August 2010 - 2:47am

Hi all,

I`m an international student and going to have my MSc degree in the UK. I would look for work opportunities in accounting or consulting firms here but if failed i have to back to homeland for job. In this circumstance, which one(ACA or ACCA) do you think is more suitable for me?

Would appreciate any advice.

Starry

11 August 2010 - 2:09pm

The ACA is more intellectually rigorous than the ACCA. This doesn't necessarily mean that the ACCA candidates could not pass ACA exams, but certainly in my experience, professional firms would rather encourage less academically gifted students down the ACCA route rather than the time/expense of the chance of them failing the ACA.

When I passed my ACA exams 12 years ago, it was a 'pass all at the first time' situation. You could refer in one exam if it was a near-miss, but a fail, or a near-miss in 2 exams was considered a complete fail and you had to take all of the exams again. I look at ACCA students who work for me now and it seems that they can take exams as and when they like, one at a time, over a number of years and there is no time bar. There is also no requirement for relevant experience.

Because of all of this, I would take the view that if one placed the ACA qualification as a near-equivalent to an MBA, then an ACCA qualification would be akin to a Bachelor degree. Again, this is no reflection on the candidates themselves. I am convinced that there is little difference between good ACCA students and good ACA students, just that there are perhaps more bad ACCA students.

9 August 2010 - 10:48am

You comment is very thorough thank you...for my gcse's I achieved all A and B' for every subject I took including maths,science and English. For my a levels A lot of personal problems both family wise and friends were going on...bt I do not have an official record for this.

9 August 2010 - 10:40am

Ok thank you very much you have been of much help

6 August 2010 - 2:53pm

that is an interesting question, untouchable one.

you always read that x% of FTSE100 FDs are ACA qualified

but what of ACCA qualifieds?

6 August 2010 - 11:35am

Just a quick question. Is there much difference in the potential earning power of the qualifications? I understand the prestige arguments but wonder if this translates into ACA's generally getting a higher wage than ACCA's or are they more or less the same? Cheers

6 August 2010 - 10:51am

My first thought is what went wrong with the A levels? You did really well at GCSEs (although you don't say what your actual grades are) then you only achieved C grades at A level. Now you are on course for a 1st or 2.1. Do you have extenuating circumstances for your A levels? If so, then you should talk to the firms you wish to apply to and explain this. Be aware that these days (I know this will attract some adverse responses from readers of this forum....apologies but I think I'm only echoing public sentiment here) there are an awful lot of 2.1 degrees and even 1st class degrees of dubious standards depending on the University, the subject and the actual university dept. This is why the employers need to refer to A level grades since this is a pretty standard measurement.

6 August 2010 - 3:20am

Hi Oppocko,

I think in terms of the big 4 firms you would struggle based on your a-levels but I know from when I was applying a couple of years ago a lot of the mid tier and smaller firms were looking for people with Accountancy degrees specifically. In terms of your classification most employers will base their decision on what you are sitting on now (and you'll need to start applying in the autumn) also there seems to be little discrimination between 2:1 and 1st.

Hope this helps,

Charlie

5 August 2010 - 12:26pm

hi,

I am going into my final year of my accountancy university degree in september. For my future aspects i have decided that i want to do the ACA due to advise from family members. i achieved amazing GCSE'S and am currently on a 2:1, aiming for 1 st at the end of my degree.

My main issue is my A levels...i recieved: chemistry:c, biology:c psychology:c. This has bugged me for a while and i want to know how this will affect me finding a training contract to complete my ACA. During my research i have found some firms that do not take alevels into considaration but i want to officially know what my best route to the ACA qualification will be with these grades???

p.s do you think a 1st class would improve employers views on my applications in this case???

please help as this has been bugging me for a while

Thank you in advance

26 May 2010 - 12:27am

Hi, Could any one give me some directions please?

I have been thinking about becoming an accountant and searching online for a while but I am still not clear where to go.

My biggest concern is my age. I am 32 and worried if I would ever get any placement in the first place. If there is a practicing accountant here, have you ever met any trainee of my age or over? how often?

I gained a degree in business management outside UK about 10 years ago and did a post graduate program in UK 2003, in another business discipline. I have been working ever since in a service industry, but my role is hardly anything to do with business or accountancy. I am pretty sure the accountancy firms would not appreciate much of my irrelevant experience.

I am confident about getting into the intense studying mode again but I don't remember I loved accounting and math particularly or even worse, I wasn't really good at them... Would that be a wrong idea to get into this industry? I only started looking at this because (I know this may sound daft) but I recently did some aptitude tests to change career and they all came out as an accountant to go for because I am good at thinking numbers???but I am still worried that I will not be able to make to the end because of the difficulty and levels of study.

I am not looking into joining a big organisation or becoming a financial director in the future but I would like to work in a well established local firm and eventually start my own business or work from home. I just love the fact that it gives financial security and flexibility as a career. so I could rule out CIMA...

Another thing is I am getting decent pay from my current job( not much of future career development though) and I don't think I could afford to quit to study or train full time. Staying in my current job and preparing leaves me only ACCA route, but would that be enough to attract a future employer as a good candidate? I will try to pass as many exam as possible studying alone but at what stage of exams would be enough on CV to persuade an employer to take me as an ACCA trainee? Would it be beneficial if I take AAT or CAT qualifications at the same time?

On the other hand, If I just give up my job and try to get a trainee position for ACA in my current situation, would that be any possibility what so ever? Would it help if I did AAT or CAT qualification first to put on CV? Would they will then see me at all as a 34 years candidate?

It may be cheeky to ask but how much can i expect to get paid as a trainee either for ACA or ACCA?

I know I am asking alot and I may be misunderstanding some but I have no one around to give me any advice and I would really appreciate any input from you guys. anything will help.

Thank you very much in advance.

If you prefer to PM please send me any materials or information to mintskfk@hotmail.com

18 May 2010 - 8:16am

Hi all , I am currently doing my ACCA and i got an offer to do ACA in the ICAEW ....and i am a bit confused on whether should i stick with doing my ACCA or should i switch to ACA ....any suggestions on what should i do ?

17 May 2010 - 10:17am

chopchop, your post is not there. If you start a line with a space, the whole message vanishes!

17 May 2010 - 8:34am

Hi all ,

I am currently doing my ACCA and i got an offer to do ACA in the ICAEW ....and i am a bit confused on whether should i stick with doing my ACCA or should i switch to ACA ....any suggestions on what should i do ?

29 April 2010 - 10:49am

Bad joke first. The difference between ACA and ACCA is "C". Joking apart, as you have already embarked on a course of study for accountancy I think you should ask your course provider and your employer for guidance as to how you should proceed to the next stage of your qualification and whether you should follow the ACA or ACCA route. Have a look at all the websites:

AAT http://www.aat.org.uk/

ACCA http://uk.accaglobal.com/

And ICAEW (ACA) http://www.icaew.com/index.cfm/route/158423/icaew_ga/en/Home/Institute_of_Chartered_Accountants_in_England_and_Wales

Both ACA and ACCA are suitable for FC, FD.

28 April 2010 - 9:46pm

Hi everyone i have just red all this and it really did take me a while to get thru.

But i am still very confused which path is better?

I am currently coming to the end of my AAT3 i will start AAT4 in september.

I really want carry on studying, but ACA or ACCA ?

Carrier goals are: auditor - FC - FD

what do i need?

Please help me.

Cheers

16 March 2010 - 11:51pm

Hi, everyone, i just read all your comments and i learnt a lot. Why i come to see the difference today is for i was turned out of the gra-scheme of one of the big 4. I was indeed frustrated. I appreciated their feedback, but i think my biggest obstacles are expressing skill( for i just came to UK for 1 year) and my lacking-confidence( for my background is IT). Anyway, i still feel i am the right person to do finance job( maybe just blindly optimistic). I wish to gain wild commercial understanding of this economic world. I wish to be a responsible contributor to this enviornment. I knwo i can start from a independent student of ACCA. I am wondering, do i have to study in a university/ institution? If so, like London school of Economy, is it difficult to apply for it?(for i know it is a very good uni) And because of my foreign passport, is it very expensive to do the study?( how much is the fee on average?)

16 March 2010 - 11:46pm

Hi, everyone, i just read all your comments and i learnt a lot. Why i come to see the difference today is for i was turned out of the gra-scheme of one of the big 4. I was indeed frustrated. I appreciated their feedback, but i think my biggest obstacles are expressing skill( for i just came to UK for 1 year) and my lacking-confidence( for my background is IT). Anyway, i still feel i am the right person to do finance job( maybe just blindly optimistic). I wish to gain wild commercial understanding of this economic world. I wish to be a responsible contributor to this enviornment. I knwo i can start from a independent student of ACCA. I am wondering, do i have to study in a university/ institution? If so, like London school of Economy, is it difficult to apply for it?(for i know it is a very good uni) And because of my foreign passport, is it very expensive to do the study?( how much is the fee on average?)

14 December 2009 - 9:23am

Ok. Quite a bit of confusion here, I think. You are already studying ACCA? It is a very similar qualification to ACA. You can do pretty much any accountancy/finance job with ACCA. Indeed some Finance Directors of FTSE 100 companies are ACCA qualified. Currently the majority are ACA qualified. You do not have to have a degree or accountancy background to study for ACA. 87% of ACA students have a degree but the degrees are in a whole range of subjects, music, history, modern languages etc. Historically you could only undertake the three year ACA study contract with a firm of Chartered Accountants whose members were ACA qualified. The qualification was never undertaken in industries. Today it is possible to study ACA with firms that are not accountancy practitioners. Historically, ACCA tended to be taken by more people without degrees and they studied for it in industry, commercial enterprises etc. Nowadays, as you will observe from the various debates on this forum, the ACA and ACCA are coming closer together ACCAs are eligible to apply for memebership of ICAEW (the Institute of ACAS!) Both the ICAEW and ACCA have excellent websites which would answer all your questions. I commend these sites to you. Re your interest in tax. Both ACA and ACCA cover taxation. You can also study for Institute of Taxation exams. However, I would suggest doing accountancy first and specialise afterwards.

14 December 2009 - 12:24am

Hello,

Apologies if my post is in the wrong place but I need some help.

Basically, I am doing ACCA. I have been reading on ACA and I am a bit confused on my choice.

With ACCA what jobs which you be able to target, e'g i have an idea of a few such as audit.... Right now with ACCA you do the papers and three years practical experience and you are there. How do you gain that experience, I am struggling for years to find a job that will help me progress with my studies.

With ACA, you need a degree or at least accounting background. I read you need to get the ACA training in order to be accepted. Is this correct and how do you go about studying, working , training and qualifying.

Either way, I have an interest in Tax and would like to your views on getting there too.

Thanks!

13 December 2009 - 9:55pm

Whatever you may think it's true - there is a lot of snobbery between institutes

ICAS - don't want anyone else using CA ICAEW - members don't want people from 'lesser' accounting bodies such as ACCA/CIMA using ACA

13 December 2009 - 8:29pm

Everyone loves a bit of banter!

13 December 2009 - 7:50pm

LilShorty, I'm sorry if you think I was being offensive. Perhaps I need to explain my background. I am half Scots and half English. In my extended family (who live in Scotland and England) there are 3 CAs, two ACAs, one RBS banker, one English corporate lawyer (banking) and one Scottish parliamentarian. We have a great deal of laughter, wit and repartee based on our Anglo -Scottish differences. I was simply trying to share some humor with this thread. Heavens it's good to be able to demonstrate to folks that Chartered Accountants of ALL sorts are not as boring as our public reputation makes us out.

13 December 2009 - 2:33pm

Thats slightly offending.

13 December 2009 - 1:36pm

Aye, we hiv a mind tae keep thae English oot o oor Institute. But thanks for helping oot oor banks non the less!

13 December 2009 - 10:59am

Don't be so sure of it

The ICAEW merger with CIMA and CIPFA failed - as did an earlier merger attempt

ICAS don't want to merge with ICAEW because then they wouldn't be able to differentiate themselves as the oldest accountanty body in the world vs ICAEW and also would have to allow ICAEW ACA members to use the CA title (only ICAS are allowed to use it per their royal charter) - a lot of it does come down to 'snobbery' but thats they way it is

13 December 2009 - 10:32am

Yeah there 'Institute of Chartered Accountants in Europe' does seem possible with how things are going.

12 December 2009 - 9:02pm

"Would be quite interesting to see the results of the FTSE100 survey in 100 years time, i would predict a lot more ICAS as it seems that a lot of the big firms have completely moved away from ICAEW to north of the border."

I think all of the firms do ICAS for trainees in scotland

for trainees based in England only PKF and E+Y do ICAS - but lately they have started doing some students on ICAEW aswell

12 December 2009 - 7:58pm

An awful lot of non ACCAs don't even know the name was changed in 1995. Some ACAs are VERY sniffy about ACCAs and call them "mechanics".

In 100 years time?? Well, if Scotland becomes independent, they'll charge English students of ICAS as if they are overseas students, don't you think?? Or keep it stricly for the Scots.

In 100 years time it'll be the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Europe. God help us.

12 December 2009 - 6:02pm

Yeah I agree with both posts from ucayman and tutor.

In response to ucayman, you are right, I think I was just trying to get at the point that alot of people mistakenly think that only ICAEW/ICAS are the only bodies which are chartered.

Whilst there has been many differences previously, i.e. entry routes, requirement for professional firms etc, as far as I know there are no actual entry/practical differences at present as all bodies under the CCAB hold equivalent status and the biggest difference is opinion based (and therefore the lack of facts means that no one body can claim to be 'better' than another).

Would be quite interesting to see the results of the FTSE100 survey in 100 years time, i would predict a lot more ICAS as it seems that a lot of the big firms have completely moved away from ICAEW to north of the border.

12 December 2009 - 11:10am

stehitchen, I think pretty much what you say is correct these days. But I believe that the word Chartered was only actually introduced to ACCA when it changed its name in 1995. Previuosly it was Association of Certified Corporate Accountants. Sadly, I also believe the Scots CA is marginally better (I'm Scots but with ACA qualification). In fact the Scots Institute holds a quasi grad ceremony for newly qualified. It's perceived supremecy was in part due to it's history and until recently it was small and exclusive. Now the flood gates are opening with the English piling in. I believe also soem 10 yeras ago thatthe English firms (can't remember the exact details) didn't like the direction that the ICAEW training was taking and the Scots qualification seemed better. Is the situation changing again? On a trivial note, it is the Institute of Chartered Accountants OF Scotland, Whereas ICAEW is the Institute of Chartrered Accountants IN England. Historically you could take ACCA in industry or the profession whereas you had to train for ICAS/ICAEW with a firm of Chartered Accountants. That has changed now. However, 87% of ICAEW students are graduates and the majority train within the profession. ACCA is creeping into the professional firms but is still, for whatever reason considered not the creme de la creme.

12 December 2009 - 10:25am

Just to correct you: Only ICAS, ICAEW or ICAI can call themselves 'Chartered Accountant' Only ACCA can call themselves 'Chartered Certified Accountant' Only CIMA can call themselves 'Chartered Management Accountant' Only CIPFA can call themselves 'Chartered Public Finance Accountant'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_qualified_accountants#Titles_of_British_accountancy_qualifications

12 December 2009 - 1:36am

Can't say conclusively, but I think ACCA, CIPFA and CIMA can all call themselves Chartered Accountants if they wish (however only ICAS can use the actual abbrevation 'CA') as they are all 'chartered' bodies. It does tend to be ICAS/ICAEW who have used that phrase for longer as they have held charters for much longer. However, all bodies within the CCAB (Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies UK) hold royal charters (the other C in ACCA and the C in CIMA/CIPFA all stand for 'chartered').

I do agree, that 'Institute' sounds better than 'Association' but don't really know the legal difference - anyone have any input? ICAS/ICAEW do hold more prestige and people often mistakenly think that they are the only 'chartered' bodies, however in my opinion this is an old fashioned view point as I can't think of any practical differences between the two in todays business world.

Re the point about graduates v non-graduates. You can't simply study ACCA straight out of school, you must either hold a degree for direct entry or first study AAT (which can also allows entry to study ACA or CA???). Therefore there isn't a great deal of difference currently as you can gain entry to all 3 as a school leaver via AAT and I know a CA who doesn't have a degree (the division of graduate v non-graduate is again a historical difference which has driven the 'prestige' element).

I would actually argue that ICAS holds more prestige than ICAEW as it is the oldest chartered accountancy body in the world (i.e. the sole use of the abbreviation 'CA') and scotland is widely accepted to be the birthplace of modern economics/accountacy.

Is anything I have said wrong or does anyone know any situations where the different qual will cause practical problems in the workplace and not just opinion based?. I guess its just the same type of case as an Oxford/Cambridge degree....a degree is a degree on paper and it doesn't necessarily mean a better candidate, but people hold an Oxbridge degree above all others based on prestige?

11 December 2009 - 4:35pm

A few more comments worth mentioning. ICAEW=Institute. Members are "Chartered" ACCA=Association. Members are "Certified" Please don't ask me to define the differences but there are. I believe (but someone can help here please) to be an Institute suggests an organization needs to demonstrate a more rigorous application of standards and byelaws? Interestingly an ACCA may apply to become an ACA after completing 5 years post qualifying ACCA, getting proposer, sponsors etc and satisfying CPE requirements. Why do ACCAs want to join ICAEW as indeed many do. Why don't ACAs join ACCA? Interestingly when answering the "which is better?" question, ACAs say "Ours is superior" but ACCAs only argue that they are as good as ICAEW but never try to say they are better. Historically all the top accountancy firms in the UK used to include "Chartered Accountants" in their name and you could only be a partner in the firm if you were a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW OR ICAS). Clearly that has changed and anyone can be a partner now, even HMRC inspectors!!

11 December 2009 - 3:03pm

Very comprehensive answer from stehitchen. One comment I would add is that historically ACA (and 10 years after qualifying it becomes FCA) has been seen as the superior qualification because it is mainly graduate entry to train whereas ACCA is mainly non graduate.

11 December 2009 - 1:15pm

well, dont wanna go off-topic, but there is a basic difference - ACCA has 1 more C than ACA!

LOL.

Btw,

  • ICAEW gives ACA
  • ICAS gives CA
  • ACCA gives ACCA
11 December 2009 - 11:48am

Very interesting read and I have some opinions on the subject. I am an ACCA within Big4 audit and there is a mix of a ACCA / ACA (ICAEW) / CA (ICAS) within my department.

Currently the Big4 firm I work for have completely abandomed ICAEW and all new grad's now sit ICAS (or ACCA). I know a few years ago ACA was the trend but this changes all of the time.

Just to clear up a few incorrect comments further up:-

1) "Practical Experience" - You can independantly sit the ACCA exams without working should you wish, but you cannot become a full member until you have 3 years experience. Like all 3 bodies listed above, you have to collect evidence of competencies and log 3 years worth of experience before they will accept full membership.

2) All qualifications (including others such as CIMA) have the same legal rights to sign audit reports etc and there is no statutory difference amongst the bodies (only opinions differ).

3) There is no legal requirement to have an accountancy qual to be a CFO/FD of a company or any other director role. The reason that the majority of UK CFOs are ACA is that historically ICAEW carries more prestige / has more members in the UK (so obviously the 'UK based' FTSE100 will have more ACAs).

From my experience, any differences in the 'value' of these qualifications lie purely in the opinions of the people you are dealing with and the regional variations:-

E.g. I had a colleague (ACA) who applied for a job in Hong Kong and was actually asked by the employment agency...'is that a spelling mistake on you cv?'. In Asia this is by far the more respected qual. However I know (from personal experience) that ACCA is not held in anywhere near as much regard as ACA / CA in Australia. This highlights the regional variations.

Some people have opinions over which is the 'harder' qual to obtain, but again this is down to opinion. The ICAS students at my firm like to joke that their exams are harder than ACCA, however they sit twice as many exams per sitting. I know a tutor who left my firm to teach ACCA having studied ICAS and she claims ACCA is much detailed. It depends on the person (whether you suit technical or practical), the number of exams you sit per sitting, pressures from work etc, but if you look at the syllabus of each body they are all very similar. Anyone who claims to say conclusively that one qual is better than another is simply stupid/ignorant, as it is purely a matter of opinion.

Some people I have worked with (particulary older people) tend to form opinions based on what qual they hold. I personally think this is quite narrow-minded, however you will occasionally see job adverts stating 'CA only' etc, however in general all accountancy quals will open up doors and ensure you earn a decent salary in a respected job.

The 'right' qual for a particular person depends on their own ambition/situation. If you want to work in the public sector then CIPFA (accountancy body specialising in public sector finance) is more suitable. If you want to travel and work in the emerging markets in Asia then prob ACCA. If you want to work for a large UK FTSE company, then prob ACA/CA. It all depends on the person/situation.

In response to MANDAs post re the IC student. Without knowing the circumstances of why he is considering dropping out, I would defo recommend he completes his course (especially if he thinks he can get a 2:1). He shouldnt jump ship purely for the security of a job as he will not struggle for opportunities post graduation and his c.v. will initially look like it has a 'hole' where a degree should be (this year it is estimated that about 50% of 18yrs will apply to uni).

I personally agree with a post further up, that the industry needs standardising across the world. Moves are being made for global convergence of accountancy standards etc, however we are a long way off one accountancy qual to fit all.

So to conclude, I don't believe that there is significant difference between all 5-6 accountancy options, however consider you own ambitions and what options are available to you.

4 December 2009 - 5:04pm

hi... thanks to all sages who have enriched my knowledge on this topic. i really appreciate the comments of "pagreen". Of late i came across some info from wikipedia.org which i felt would be relevant here.

The British Government's Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), implementing the Companies Act 1989, allows members of six bodies to act as auditor to a limited company. These are the member bodies of CCAB & Association of International Accountants (AIA) excluded CIMA. In the European Union, under the EU mutual recognition directive, members of these six bodies may practise auditing in other EU member states, with absolute equal status.

The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (known as CCAB), formed in 1974, is an umbrella group for the major British qualified accountancy bodies. All six British and Irish professional accountancy bodies with a Royal Charter are members of the CCAB. These six are also the British professional bodies that belong to the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). They are:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) All full members of these bodies are deemed to hold equivalent-level qualifications

i think, based on the above information there should be no difference in either of this qualification. I guess this must be the reason for why KPMG recognising both the qualifications at par.

thanks to all....

19 October 2009 - 11:29am

For those who enjoy stats: A recent survey of FDs of the FTSE top 100. Qualifications. ICAEW 56; CIMA 9; ICAS 7; ACCA 5; Other 10; none 14. Yes, the total is 101 because the FD of Friends Provident is ACCA, CIPFA. The FD salaries make more interesting reading. Page 29, Accountancy magazine, October 2009.

17 October 2009 - 11:57am

I think that's fair. Unless he's not doing well/ doesn't like his degree course he should definitely finish his degree. No idea what company is offering him the training contract but with a 2.1 from imperial he will be able to choose a firm to study with after his degree finished.

I'm doing the ACA, so can't really comment on the ACCA but objectively, the ACA probably has the edge in prestige and recognition. Not that I'm casting aspersions on the other qualifications but having researched this extensively - that's simple the wider perception. I'm probably biased but if he's not sure about what he wants to do - there's few places better to start off than doing the ACA at a big 4 firm in London. It keeps your options as wide as possible whether that is to remain in public practice, work in industry, or move into investment management.

17 October 2009 - 10:46am

OK. Well obviously two very distinct arguments here. On the one hand a degree from Imperial College is a fantastic qualification to have and will be an excellent entry on his CV. Currently, a degree will open up many more career opportunities than just having A levels. A good degree in Maths from IC is a good entry ticket for most City/Finance jobs and of course employers visit IC to recruit the best graduates. That said, why has he taken a year out? Struggling with the degree? Student debts issues (I doubt it if you live in Jersey)? If he's not happy with Uni then why force the issue and possibly struggle to get that coveted IC maths degree? If he gets a 2.2 he will have difficulty getting interviews since most employers now insist upon 2.1 minimum. Once he has his degree he will still have to go through all the application/recruitment process. He's already got a job now. If your son is enjoying his current job and the prospects for professional qualification are good then there is a good argument for staying with the company and working for his ACCA. At the risk of starting a heated debate on this site, I personally feel the ACA qualification is the gold standard for our profession but, given the nature of his work, it may be that the ACCA is more appropriate technically. If he felt it necessary to gain the ACA he can look on the ICAEW website where there is a section which explains how you can use your ACCA qualification to gain credits etc towards the ACA qualification. I mention the ACA simply because in terms of CFO, FD of FTSE companies the tendency is towards ACA. Looking to the future, he may find that the lack of degree on his CV will be an issue when applying for jobs. Hopefully his professional qualification and by then, work experience will overcome any issues on that score. Finally, on the social side. There is a lot to be said for having a great time being a student in London. Will he miss that? Finally, take a look at the ICAEW and ACCA websites.

15 October 2009 - 4:54pm

Hi, was just interested to see if anyone had any views or advice...my son is taking a year out of Uni having done one year at Imperial College, London studying maths. We live in Jersey and he was looking for temp work. Last week he received a job offer from a trust company based in Jersey. They are offering to sponsor him through the ACCA as well as paying him a good salary which will double upon completion of the qualification,but only if he stays with them and doesn't return to Imperial to complete his degree. There are some graduates who have also applied but they have said they prefer him as his A Levels grades are so good.(As and A*s in Maths, Furthur Maths, Physics,Chemistry and Biology). Not being from any kind of maths or science background myself I really don't know how to advise him and don't really want to get involved with a decision which must really come from him...any advice from people that may have more insight into the world of accounting/actuaries/stockbroking etc...?

14 October 2009 - 1:05am

Very interesting reading all these comments about the two different qualifications. I am wanting to start an ACA qualification, how dissadvantaged do you think I'd be being 28, and a background as a musician. Any advice on books I could read to find out a much more detailed description of what I'd have to go through in qualifying, and to help me get a placement in the first place.

11 September 2009 - 4:04pm

I am so relieved to read your professional reply relating to 'Chrism2671'; obviously he seemed to be talking complete rubbish. I am currently doing a few weeks work experience here and there at accountancy firms and am thinking of going into the profession. I think I will either do the ACA or ACCA qualification, but there are endless debates, as you know, posted all over the internet of people claiming one is better than the other. On the ACA website it states the entry requirements you need to be accepted onto the program. It seems I pass them all with flying colours, apart from my degree (ACA requires 1 or 2:1) for which I received a 2:2 from Leeds in Philosophy, a result due to social student life and its sheer difficultness. But gaining the degree has given me more incentive to work harder and concentrate more if I go into accountancy. How much at a disadvantaged am at with a 2:2? I know obviously I will be at some disadvantage, having little to no chance of working for the Big 4. But I am no way inclined to work for such a company anyway. How relevant is nepotism in today’s business world? I am privileged to have many friends and relatives who are in very good positions in major companies all around the world. Does the old saying 'who you know, not what you know still apply today?

Anyway I just wanted to write to you as you seem the only one on this blog to know what their talking about.

George

23 August 2009 - 4:57pm

ACCA VS ACCA Its just one qualification being offered by different bodies.Its like 2 product brands differing only in the packaging and labelling.

23 August 2009 - 4:53pm

ACCA VS ACA.

I dont see any difference between ACCA and ACA.A choice between the two depends on where you are or where you plan to be in the near fulture.There is no difference between these two and US CPA.Any differences in global mobility are more political than professional.If for example most partners in an audit firm based in UK are ACA s they will prefer to favour ACA trainees than ACCA trainees and ACCA partners for and audit firm based in HK` will likewise tend to favour ACCA trainees.The AICPA dont recognise ACCA in US not because CPA is better but because they want to protect their market.In UK US CPA reciprocal decision is still pending because there s no such arrangement between some UK accounting bodies and AICPA. I think these politics may in near fulture lower the credibility of the accounting professional and udervalue the quality of service being offered to the client if a lower performing member is favoured on the basis of credentials rather than quality of performace.For example why couldnt accountancy see the global meltdown of economy we are going through now?

Its only the client who can decide which one is more superior ACCA ,ACA or US CPA.In my view iam calling for a single world wide accounting designation,uniform accounting and auditing standards and increased global mobility.This may improve the quality of assurance and assurance related services like forensic accounting.For example the quality of an investigation of a money laundering fraud involving different juridictions with different accounting rules ,restrictions and presentation currences of accounts statements may be better than currently is.

23 August 2009 - 8:02am

Iam currently an ACCA student studying for ACCA part 3.Iam currently demotivated in my career development as an accountant in UK.It seems impossible for me to get an accounting job in this country,i cant even find the lowest accounting jobs as an accounts clerk.I have many years of accounting experience in Zambia and some charity work in finance in UK.As a matter of fact my first appointment was a cost assistant job whilest was in my final year at University.In UK am asked for the so called relevant UK experience even for basic accounting clerk work.What is the so called UK experience?How do i acquire the same UK accounting experience if am not given chance to work in the first place?I have valuable accounting skills, but i feel left out in my career development as accountant in UK.Am i the only one going through this or are there many other minority accountants who are affected?Is it some kind of segregation and if true is it ethical?What is CIMA,ACCA and ICAEW doing about it?I think its time we minorities are given equal employment and promotion opportunities without regard to race or religion.I also think that the accounting ethics in UK do not say much about discrimination compared to US CPA.What actions ACCA and ICAEW taken in response to racial discrimination allegations in some of the big 4 accounting firms?

Can somebody please help me with answers to my questions.

21 August 2009 - 3:51am
sus

Hi, I've just been reading all the comparisons with interest. I'm an ACCA member working with a big 4 in audit. I've recently transfered over to Australia and I have found that to my horror that Australia does not recognise ACCA in any shape or form (unlike ACA). Infact to gain the australian CPA (ACA equivalent) I would not only have to start the qualification from scratch, but go back to uni to first study modules in both tax and law. So although ACCA may have the reputation of being more internationally recognised, in my case it is not. Work has suggested to me that I transfer to ACA then transfer to CPA.

However please note that for migration purposes ACCA is still recognised as a professional qualification (I think the country just has double standards)

27 June 2009 - 3:04pm

Jack, If you don't want to go down the uni route... take a look at PwC's non-graduate opportunities for A-level finishers. Need 280 points, which by your predictions you will get. I know of someone who joined and they found it perfect for them. Only downside is you do ACCA for Assurance route rather than ACA (which you seem to want to do, not that there is that much difference). Here is the page: http://www.pwc.com/uk/eng/car-inexp/student/non-grad.html

26 June 2009 - 6:40pm

their isn't really any point in doing aat if you do an accounting degree

as for aca check exemptions here: http://www.icaew.com/index.cfm/route/146395/icaew_ga/en/Students/Credit_for_prior_learning_directory

25 June 2009 - 11:05pm

Thanks for the advice, so if i chose to study accounting & finance at university would i be exempt from completing AAT and some ACA exams?

Im doing 3 A-Levels - Applied Business, History and Film Studies (Which was chosen to fill up my subjects) and i expect to get 3 B's in these, maybe a C in History is more realistic. I was also doing economics but i decided to drop it after my first year exams but im starting to realise that it would have been quite a useful subject to have kept.

24 June 2009 - 11:12pm

Hi Jack_1111,

Here is some advice:

1) You don't need to have an accounting degree to become an accountant (infact sometimes people with a different degree do better in ACA exams as they are having a fresh start) - about 50% of the intake do not have accounting/maths/economics degrees 2) University provides a lot of other things in addition to education - it provides life experience, lets you make new friends and gain other skills 3) Sometimes companies will prefer graduates because they think they have developed skills in university that you may not develop doing AAT 4) The booklet says things will be the same but it is not always like that - some employers won't mind, some will 5) Also a degree can be a path into many different careers - AAT is not 6) The content of a degree is very different to A Levels whereas AAT is similar to Accounting A Level in some ways

What A Levels are you doing? What grades do you expect to get?

24 June 2009 - 10:01pm

Hi all, I am looking at a career in accounting and currently completing my AS Levels but i cant help thinking further a field about what would be the best option after this, so I'd like some opinions and advice:

Do you think it would be best to first study an Accounting based subject at university and then move on to gaining an ACA qualification? Or would it be best to skip the university part and begin my AAT-ACA straight from school which could present me with a faster route?

At a recent university exhibition I managed to pick up an ACA booklet and it explains that either way I will be presented with the same opportunities, however I'm really not sure on what to do, I'd love to experience university but I'm not sure which is best option so feel free to comment on what you think would be best.

Cheers.

2 March 2009 - 9:04pm

I almost fell of my chair when I read the comments of that wise sage Chrism2671. In reality he would appear to know nothing about anything!

'ACA requires you to clock up 2 years of technical work experience with a firm before you qualify, whereas for ACCA you just have sit the exams and pass and you wouldn't have to work a day in your life' he states with relish. WRONG! With the ACA qualification you need three years practical experience before you can call yourself an ACA, exactly the same criteria applies to the ACCA.

He further states: 'It's a choice of routes - not everyone's up to ACA'. The implication being that only those who are too stupid to study for the ACA qualification take the ACCA route. Wrong again Mr Know It All. I don't want to sound a braggard but I gained 4 A Grade A Levels and then achieved a 2.1 in Accountancy and Finance from the London School of Economics, but I then chose the ACCA route at KPMG because it is more recognised internationally. If you were to state to a business person in Hong Kong that you were an ACA he would think that you missed out a C in your qualification description!

I now work as a senior manager for a mid size firm in Kent and I constantly see school leavers coming in to study for the AAT qualification with dubious A levels (CDD) and then after AAT go on to study for the ACA qualification with no difficulty at all. And I must state that gaining any qualification is no predictor of success as I have met terrible accountants with all types of qualifications (ACA/ACCA/CIMA etc.)

I don't mind it if you want to play the joker Chrism2671, but there may actually be people on this forum who believe the nonsense you spout. Which would be a shame.

The reallity is the the ACA/ACCA qualifications are both extremely good and will give anybody who takes them a superb grounding in business and finance.

13 January 2009 - 9:54pm

i am looking to get into accountancy, with a long term view to set up a private practice, which is the best qualification for this ACA or ACCA?

29 October 2008 - 11:17am

Noticed some interesting comments here - I am an ACCA based student as are the majority of the firm I work for and I feel perhaps there are a few members of the institute making the replies here!

ACCA is a fantastic qualification to achieve and just as respected as it's intitute counterpart - infact the institute have recognised this as well and will accept ACCA members with 5 years experience in practice into the institute with no extra exams. The ACCA however does not do this as far as I know.

The examination technique between the two bodies is slightly different. The ACA require a 55% pass mark on their exams, but have a number of open book examinations (such as a book of th ISAs), the final exams you are allowed to take in whatever books you feel are approprate to the case studies. The first few stages of the ACA also have multiple choice questions.

The ACCA, require a 50% pass mark, but allow no books into their examination. The examinations are split into 2 parts, Section A which will be a long written question, and section B with tend to be four 25 mark questions with the option of answering two of four.

Furthermore, if you have achieved the AAT qualification the ICAEW will allow you to sit top up papers of 1.5 hours each, rather than fully fledged exams. Both bodies offer exemptions for relevant degrees.

The ACCA requires 3 years worth of relevant experience in the accouting field, but to gain a practicing certificate it has to be practice based experience. Without this practicing certificate you cannot be an RI and sign off audit reports etc.

I would suggest that anyone should consider where they want to go with their career. If they want to stick in the UK then go ACA, if they want the option of a more global horizon then go ACCA.

If you are qualifying in a firm that labels themself as "Chartered accountants" or "Chartered Certified accountants" you should consider carefully the option as the partners in a firm have to be weighted towards the ICEAW or the ACCA to retain the use of that title.

In reality though, all of the regulatory bodies regularly consider merging together so one day we all may fall under the same wing.

There is a lot of talk about the big 4 - They will recognise any official regulatory body - Last year they were pushing the ICAS qualification, the year before ACCA - they change their mind more times than the weather and are looking for quality of person with experience, not with the ability to pass a set of exams.

10 July 2008 - 12:02pm Premium member

..debatably, no accounting qualifications can technically "rock" ...but I get what you mean!

10 July 2008 - 11:33am

ACA rocks, ACCA rocks abit

12 May 2008 - 11:08am

Hi Londonbloke,

I study at the University of Nottingham.

11 May 2008 - 8:00pm

just out of interest,
suhi, which uni did you go?

3 May 2008 - 12:39am

[QUOTE=Redsuperted;1309]When do you start Sushi?[/QUOTE]

September. :)

2 May 2008 - 5:53pm Premium member

When do you start Sushi?

2 May 2008 - 5:47pm

[QUOTE=Sushi;1307]Thanks for all the info.

I have decided to join the ACA programme. :D[/QUOTE]

wise decision!;)

2 May 2008 - 1:07pm

Thanks for all the info.

I have decided to join the ACA programme. :D

22 April 2008 - 5:47pm
Tom

When I went to an Open Evening at KPMG the current trainees seemed to share the view that ACCA is more recognised internationally, however all of them agreed that they would rather have ACA.

When I applied I was torn between going for a PhD or starting on a grad scheme - the desirability of ACAs not just in accountancy but across many major business roles was a major factor in my decision to go for the grad scheme!

22 April 2008 - 3:30pm Premium member

...bring on the debate! ...If we get enough information on this then we could certainly create a ACA vs ACCA wiki page, or something similar.

22 April 2008 - 1:18pm

As an ACCA studier,I would like to say that both ACCA and ACA are highly respected qualifiactions, get fully qualified either in ACA or ACCA means you would secure a job with high reward,and as London Bloke's said both qualification would lead you to a well paid position in IB .The technical area covered by both exams are similer while ACA more focuse on case study and analysis at the final stage, ACCA is more international recognised to some extent compared with ACA,if you are considering a job oversea especially in Asia I would recommand ACCA.

22 April 2008 - 12:35pm Premium member

London Bloke's right... IB's would find you very appealing, and could offer you a little more excitement (and a lot more cash) ...

My consultant colleague also regrets not starting out in accounting and doing the ACA... it is a hugely respected qualification in the city. Apparently all the top consultants have ACA... and furthermore, many entrepreneurs and commercial directors/managers, etc!

If you haven't already, you might like a look at - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/aca]ACA | WikiJob[/url].

Good luck :)

21 April 2008 - 10:38pm

In addition to chrism's comments: with ACA and a few years' BIG4 experience one can make easily make his way to IBs

21 April 2008 - 9:42pm Premium member

I should point out that ACCA is still an extremely respectable qualification and nobody would ever look down upon it; I think my original post was maybe a little biased!

21 April 2008 - 9:30pm

Thanks so much for the info, guys! :D

Sushi

21 April 2008 - 8:36pm Premium member

It's a choice of routes- not everyone's up to ACA. Also, because you don't need technical work experience to do ACCA, you can do ACCA sponsored by any company (just working in their finance department) rather than an accounting company life PwC, KPMG, Deloitte etc.

21 April 2008 - 8:33pm Premium member

Listen to Chris. He's spot on....

Chris, why would anyone do ACCA when ACA is so much better and why would Big 4 employers like KPMG offer employees ACCA, when they'd be better employees if they had ACA?

21 April 2008 - 8:26pm Premium member

ACA, hands down.

ACA focuses on practical as well as technical aspects of being an accountant- particularly for giving advice to clients and how to deal with tricky situations. ACCA is fundamentally a technical only qualification. ACA requires you to clock up 2 years of technical work experience with a firm before you qualify, whereas for ACCA you just have sit the exams and pass and you wouldn't have to work a day in your life.

ICAEW ACA is very highly regarded and almost every financial director in a FTSE company is ACA qualified, the majority of them from the Big 4.