What's the difference between ACA and ACCA?

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,


Latest comments

  • 23 March 2015 - 12:13pm
    • JackBlack

    This is a proper zombie thread, but still, people might look it up, so might as well have a summary at the top:

    ACCA: roughly the same subject matter, more flexible with exam sittings, more flexible with professional experience. If you're working in industry, ACCA may be your only choice. Equal legal recognition with ACA, definitely less prestigious in the UK, but probably better know in many countries, including a lot of European countries.

    ACA: more stringent rules on exam sittings, practical experience component is focused on public practice, more prestigious in the UK, associated with Big 4.

    Both are fab qualifications to have, both require a big investment of time and hard work, but the ACA is better perceived in the UK and thus 'better' - not better because you learn more, mind you, just better because it opens more doors. Still, once you're 10 years in the profession, very few people will judge you based on ACA vs ACCA. But ACA, if you can get it, is arguably a better start for your career.

  • 12 May 2015 - 6:04pm
    • Anonymous

    Hi, if I failed an ACCA paper before and now would like to switch to ACA, would that be a problem? Thanks a bunch !

  • 13 May 2015 - 9:19am
    • JackBlack

    That really depends. If you want to switch to ACA, then presumably you want to enter a training contract at a public practice firm?

    The ICAEW will register you for the ACA just fine, they don't care if you've failed a paper for the ACCA, nor do they ask for that information.

    However, your future employer might ask you about it, and might be put off by an exam fail.

    So, basically, as long as your employer doesn't mind, it's not a problem.

  • 13 May 2015 - 10:22am
    • Anonymous

    Yeah this is for a trainee position; i think only pwc did ever ask about previous failure/pass of qualifications.
    Thanks a bunch anyway :)

  • 22 March 2015 - 7:34am
    • Rizwan Bashir

    i am very confused about my future program..which one should i chose from ACA and ACCA ?
    which will be better..now i am student of B.Com

  • 23 March 2015 - 12:20pm
    • JackBlack

    I notice you are a student, so either you intend to apply for ACA/ACCA schemes, or you intend to self-study.

    If you want to apply for schemes, both ACA and ACCA are great, ACA maybe a bit better. However, I would not base a decision between graduate schemes on ACA vs ACCA, but on things like what kind of study support the company offers, salary, location, how does the actual work experience look on your CV. ACA vs ACCA is really secondary.

    On the other hand however, if you plan on self-study, I'd definitely recommend ACCA. ACCA is much more accessible for a self-studier in terms of getting books and other material, in terms of not needing to register with a learning provider, in terms of flexibility with exam sittings, and in terms of simply being able to pass all papers without being on a training contract. That being said, before you invest considerable time and money into self-study, do make sure that it makes sense for you to do so. I self-studied ACCA for a few months, and I don't regret it, but that doesn't mean it makes sense for everyone.

  • 27 December 2013 - 9:20am
    • Acctsgen

    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 - 8:33am
    • Acctsgen

    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.

  • 24 March 2013 - 1:12pm
    • Branbud

    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
    • Branbud

    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
    • blinkiejo

    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 - 10:47am
    • Sabbir Ahmed

    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
    • ArunanSKeerthy

    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
    • AbhinabNepal

    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.

  • 14 June 2012 - 12:50am
    • ArunanSKeerthy

    Check this link out
    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?

  • 18 June 2012 - 3:34pm
    • tutor

    MA FCA . specialising in taxation.

  • 12 June 2012 - 5:37pm
    • tutor

    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
    • ArunanSKeerthy

    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
    • Lancat

    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
    • Lavanyahari

    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
    • Funmi

    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)


  • 21 October 2011 - 3:37pm
    • scorps

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

  • 10 August 2011 - 4:37am
    • Aliall770

    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!!!!

  • 27 December 2013 - 8:58am
    • Acctsgen

    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.

  • 22 July 2011 - 9:56pm
    • kusum

    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
    • Yoruboy

    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
    • Wikijob786

    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
    • goher munir

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

  • 5 March 2011 - 2:03pm
    • Graduated2010

    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.

  • 15 May 2011 - 8:31pm
    • Sfa


    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?

  • 3 March 2011 - 10:14pm
    • BlueAndWhite

    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
    • dave2020 - wants to help needs help.

    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
    • kucowna

    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
    • Liverpool_123

    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 - 1:33pm
    • kucowna

    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 - 3:51pm
    • Graduated2010

    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.

  • 22 February 2011 - 10:51pm
    • Graduated2010

    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
    • dave2020

    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 - 8:24pm
    • dave2020

    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 - 9:05pm
    • Liverpool_123

    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 - 7:33pm
    • Graduated2010

    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
    • Liverpool_123

    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
    • Graduated2010

    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
    • dave2020

    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.

  • 23 February 2011 - 1:14pm
    • kucowna

    Good luck on your retake, thanks for your comments!

  • 22 February 2011 - 5:17pm
    • dave2020

    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
    • dave2020


    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.

  • 4 January 2013 - 10:50am
    • Sabbir Ahmed

    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

  • 22 February 2011 - 4:51pm
    • Liverpool_123

    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!