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ACCA VS CA: Which Course is Right for you?

ACCA VS CA: Which Course is Right for you?

Choosing between the ACCA course and the CA is easy!  The key to making the right choice is knowing your career aspirations and understanding the main difference between the two educational certifications. 

The main difference between CA and ACCA is that the ACCA opens international job opportunities in Finance whereas the CA certification opens local opportunities by providing you with an in-depth knowledge of local financial regulations.

In this article, we will explore the differences between ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CA (Chartered Accountancy). Knowing these differences can help you make an informed decision when choosing between the two.

Did you know that CA and ACCA courses are just two of the following credentials accounting professionals choose from? 


What are the top accounting certifications?


  1. ACCA: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants 
  2. CA: Chartered Accountant
  3. CPA: Certified Public Accountant
  4. CFA: Financial Analyst
  5. FSAC: Financial Services Audit Certificate
  6. CMA: Certified Management Accountant
  7. CIA: Certified Internal Auditor
  8. CFE: Certified Fraud Examiner
  9. CGMA: Chartered Global Management Accountant


Of all these credentials, the ACCA course and CA course are most suitable for students with little to no professional experience who are looking to make a great start in the industry.

Yahoo Finance recently reported in their Accounting Services Global Market Study, that the global accounting services market would grow from $1175.88 billion in 2021 to $1324.77 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 12.7%. 

Also, the market is expected to reach $2019.02 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 11.1%.

A growing market for accounting suggests that there will be more jobs in the future. With a reputed qualification like the ACCA course or CA course, you would be favoured by employers in the job pool. 


Why are ACCA and CA courses good for freshers?


Getting an ACCA or CA qualification will help you build the foundation of understanding in finance. These credentials train you from scratch and give you an in-depth understanding of the financial world and its workings. 

The ACCA certificate is very famous as the course contains subject modules that train and test students meticulously. Thus, producing all-rounded finance professionals who can work in real-world scenarios.


What is ACCA?


ACCA, or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is a globally recognised accounting diploma. The ACCA course offers a holistic approach to finance, enabling you to excel not only in numbers but also in strategic decision-making. It was established in the UK in 1904 and today houses over 219000 members globally.


What is CA?


CA, or Chartered Accountancy, is a prestigious qualification that gives you expertise in accounting, taxation, and audit. It’s highly respected and sought after in the financial industry as a role that ensures clarity in legal-financial matters. 

CA course graduates often hold key managerial positions, providing financial insights and ensuring compliance. Moreover, CA graduates are in demand due to the need to manage the intricate relationship between corporations and governments.


How to become a CA in the UK?


You can choose one of these three entry points to pursue Chartered Accountancy in the UK:

  1. Foundation Route (which is after your 12th grade) 
  2. Direct Entry Route (this comes after graduation)
  3. The ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification from ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants and England Wales) is a standard accountancy qualification.


Difference Between ACCA and CA


  • Minimum Eligibility Criteria

ACCA has flexible entry requirements, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals.

On the other hand, a CA course might have more strict prerequisites like a high cut-off percentage, or a certain score level in a talent exam, in some regions. Hence, chartered accountancy qualifications can differ from country to country.


  • Syllabus

ACCA covers a wide spectrum of finance-related subjects, including financial management, taxation, and business ethics. CA focuses more on accounting, auditing, and tax, with a significant emphasis on local laws and regulations.


  • Curriculum Structure

ACCA curriculum consists of modules which can be studied at your own pace. You can even choose when you appear for the exams. CA courses are often intense and comprehensive courses with a traditional and fixed timeline.


  • Course Duration

ACCA course duration can vary based on your pace of study. On average, it takes around three to four years to complete the qualification. CA programmes are generally longer, spanning around four to five years.


  • Job Profile

CA is often associated with traditional accounting roles, taxation, and audit. ACCA graduates have a broader spectrum of career options, including management accounting, financial analysis, and business consultancy.

CA vs ACCA salary in UK: An ACCA graduate earns about 48,500 GBP annually (Source: Kanan.co), whereas a CA graduate in the UK earns around 84,500 GBP annually with a bonus of 17,300 GBP yearly, as reported by Prospects.com.


Which is Right for Your Career – CA or ACCA?


Choosing between CA and ACCA depends on your career goals. If you are looking for a specialised role in taxation, audit, or compliance, CA might be the better fit. 

On the other hand, if you want to be a well-rounded finance professional with global opportunities, ACCA could be the right path.


CA vs ACCA: Benefits of CA


Local Focus: CA programmes have a strong focus on local laws and regulations, which can be advantageous if you plan to work within a specific country.

Prestige: The CA qualification is highly respected in the financial industry and can open doors to prestigious positions for those looking to work within a particular country. 


Benefits of ACCA


Global Recognition: ACCA is recognised in over 180 countries, making it an excellent choice for those seeking international exposure.

Diverse Opportunities: ACCA offers a broader spectrum of career options, from financial management to business advisory services.


FAQs about ACCA and CA


  • Can I switch between ACCA and CA qualifications during my career?

While switching between the two qualifications is possible. The ACCA recognizes the CA degree. If you pursue this after your CA course, you may need to undertake just about four exams instead of the regular 14 exams that the ACCA requires.


  • Is ACCA better than CA in the UK?

Both ACCA and CA are recognised and respected qualifications in the UK. The choice depends on your career goals and personal preferences.


  • Can I work internationally with ACCA or CA qualifications?

While ACCA qualifies you for global roles, CA cannot do so, as it is a degree based on the rules and regulations of a particular country or locality. CA curriculum differs from country to country. 


Making the choice that suits you best:


Choosing between ACCA and CA requires careful consideration of your career aspirations and strengths. ACCA offers you all-round training in ethics and professional skills with a global perspective, making it suitable for training in international finance roles. CA, with its deep focus on local laws and regulations, is ideal for professionals aiming for specialised roles within specific regions.

Ultimately, the decision rests on your passion, goals, and long-term vision in finance.

For a reputed course in ACCA, consider signing up with The London School of Business and Finance, UK (LSBF UK).

LSBF UK is an active AACSB member and is ranked #15 among the best schools in the UK and #409 in the list of best schools.


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