How can ACCA help the accountants of the 21st century?
The ACCA qualification is designed to ensure that its students acquire the competencies and skills required to become high-calibre accountants. With the qualification under their belts, students can find new and exciting career opportunities or secure senior job roles within their organisations. Read this blog to find out why studying the ACCA qualification is an excellent way of enhancing your accountancy career.
What is an ACCA qualification?
ACCA refers to the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, which is a global professional body for chartered accountants. It is often considered a desirable qualification to have because it enables graduates to obtain financial roles in almost any industry. Typically, it takes about three to four years to complete, after which students can apply for an ACCA membership. The structure of the ACCA varies depending on the terms of the employment that a student is seeking. Some students may study while working as supported by their employer, whereas others may complete the qualification on their own.
Despite these differences, the three basic components of ACCA remain constant:
Exams – Students need to pass up to 14 exams to qualify from the course completely. This means completing an examination at the end of each topic. Students will gain the fundamental knowledge needed to be a successful accountant. They should also be able to apply it practically to work situations. There are nine compulsory ACCA papers, whose modules are divided into two types:
- F1 Accountant in Business (AB)
- F2 Management Accounting (MA)
- F3 Financial Accounting (FA)
- F4 Corporate and Business Law (CL)
- F5 Performance Management (PM)
- F6 Taxation (TX)
- F7 Financial Reporting (FR)
- F8 Audit and Assurance (AA)
- F9 Financial Management (FM)
After completing these nine modules, students are required to pass five professional exams (three compulsory electives and two advanced optional papers):
- P1 Governance, Risks and Ethics
- P2 Corporate Reporting (CR)
- P3 Business Analysis (BA)
- P4 Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
- P5 Advanced Performance Management (APM)
- P6 Advanced Taxation (ATX)
- P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)
Experience – The practical experience requirement (PER) is an essential part of becoming ACCA qualified. It requires students to undergo training for a period of 36 months. To pass the PER, students need to keep a record of how their work has progressed and improved during their qualification. As a part of the qualification, students must write a 300-word reflective statement on each of their performance objectives, which are:
- Professionalism and ethics;
- Stakeholder relationship management;
- Strategy and innovation;
- Governance, risk and control;
- Leadership and management.
The optional section of PER is known as technical objectives. Students need to complete four of them:
- Record and process transactions and events
- Prepare external financial reports
- Analyse and interpret financial reports
- Evaluate investment and financing decisions
- Manage and control working capital
- Identify and manage financial risk
Sustainable management accounting
- Evaluate management accounting systems
- Plan and control performance
- Monitor performance
- Tax computations and assessments
- Tax compliance and verification
- Tax planning and advice
Audit and assurance
- Prepare for and plan the audit process
- Collect and evaluate evidence for an audit
- Review and report on the findings of an audit
Ethics – The professional ethics aspect of the course are typically covered in the modules mentioned under the “exam” section. It is divided into two sections:
- Self-assessment (consists of a series of online questionnaires reflecting on the ethical values that a student has demonstrated during their qualification);
- Case study (based on an audit conducted by an auditor and a corporate financial accountant).
How much does the ACCA course cost?
There are two exam periods (June and December in each year) and the ACCA fees may vary based on the date an application is made by a student. It is therefore advantageous for students to apply to take exams sooner rather than later, from the date that exam applications open. The exams fees for the ACCA qualification for 2019 range from £114 to £350. The ACCA registration fee costs £79 and only has to be paid once. After this, an annual subscription fee of £150 is charged to keep a student’s status active. Students who fail to maintain their annual subscription are required to re-register with ACCA to prevent their names being removed from the ACCA register.
Why is the ACCA important?
- The ACCA qualification provides students with flexible study options that can be beneficial to those who need to work around other responsibilities;
- The comprehensiveness of the ACCA qualification means students gain the technical skills that are required to become a chartered accountant;
- The ACCA is recognised worldwide and helps students build relationships with multinational organisations, overseas accountancy bodies and educational institutions;
- ACCA members can continue their professional development throughout their career and gain up-to-date knowledge and skills;
- By having the ACCA qualification, students earn a professional status that is respected by employers and business partners across the world.
How can the ACCA course help accountants?
- ACCA accountants can choose to work in any international business sector by demonstrating their commitment to professionalism, ethics, integrity and accountability;
- Adding the professional achievements obtained through an ACCA qualification, to your CV can help enhance its quality and potentially help you differentiate yourself from other candidates when it comes to job applications;
- ACCA accountants can choose from various career options because gaining chartered certified accountant status ensures that candidates have a wide range of job opportunities;
- As an ACCA chartered accountant, you can earn more than non-ACCA candidates as you’ll be able to negotiate a higher pay based on the ACCA salary pay scale.
If you want to become an ACCA Chartered Accountant, enrol yourself on one of the ACCA courses provided by London School of Business and Finance (LSBF).
This blog was written by Deblina Dam and edited by Emma Chadwick.