Traditionally the view was always that as you needed to pay for your articles this was the most prestigous of all the accounting qualifications and when you could out FCA against you name you had truly arrived in the world of business. I well remember my father telling stories that when he was articled he had to clean the Rolls Royce of the senior partner twice a week, address him as Sir and never enter his office unless he was summonsed. How things have moved on! So has the world of accountancy and audit moved on since those days. The spread of accountancy qualifications across Europe in particular and also in Africa has meant that ACCA is now much sought after. The beauty of this is that it does not need a training contract and thus you can move more easily between jobs, and also have more freedom in how you study. The entry requirements for each differ but the end result is that both end up as qualified accountants, and both can sign audit reports. Indeed many of the large partnerships are now made up of both qualifications. This raises the question what is the benefit of a training contract? With business schools springing up all over the place and with them offering very good study facilities for ACCA is ACA really holding on to that elitist position? Apart from these two qualifications there is also the Association of International Accountants who hold exactly the same practicing rights as ACA and ACCA. Effectively there are now three bodies in the UK who have full audit rights. As this is so what are the benefits of a training contract and how restrictive are they? Do they limit the growth of the student? The business schools, which can also offer degrees in some cases have a fast growing reputation. Can somebody give their views on the benefits of ACA as opposed to ACCA?