Completing the ACCA qualification is a key stepping stone towards higher status roles in the finance profession. As such it is no surprise it requires a tough exam framework for you to complete. Where you start in this framework is dependent upon your previous studies. ACCA prides itself on being open access allowing you to study without previous academic attainment, at the same time it offers exemptions for relevant qualifications already attained.
The basic structure of the qualification is around two levels:
- The Applied Level
- The Skills Level
These are both broken down into two further levels.
The Applied level is made up of nine exams separated into the Fundamentals Level and the Skills Level.
The Fundamentals Level is an introduction into accounting focusing primarily on the two strands of accounting in management accounting and financial accounting. There is also a broader exam called Business and Technology that looks at a broader understanding of the business world. These papers are computer-based and are on demand so you may take them whenever you wish.
The Applied Skills Level aims to develop the computational and discursive skills required at a basic level. It takes the base knowledge you have attained and develops on the two core strands as well as introducing papers on Law, Tax (with many specific country variants), Audit and Financial Management. With the exception of the Law paper which is standalone and examined on demand these are all examined four times a year and form the basis of future study.
The Professional level papers are all compulsory if you wish to attain the professional qualification. They are split into the Professional Core which you must attempt and the Professional Options from which you choose your specialisms. At the Professional Level, the emphasis is on evaluation and providing of advice rather than detailed computation although computational skills will still be required. The Professional Core is made up of two papers, a strategy paper and a paper on higher-level corporate reporting.
The options give you an opportunity to choose two papers out of four to possibly reflect the expected career path that you are choosing to follow. The four papers include the subjects of Audit, Tax, Financial Management and Management Accounting, all at the advanced level.
What's your next step?
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