We all know that CA is one of the toughest courses in India. A lot of commerce students aspire to become a CA and many of them do succeed. CA deals with audit accountancy, taxation and various other fields. But these days, a new course has started trending in the field of accountancy. ACCA!! This course has put the students in a dilemma. Which one to select? Which has more career options? Which provides more salary? Which is flexible? Which is more tough? Well, this last question can be answered easily. Both are equally tough. While one is an ocean, the other one is a mountain. Remember, good things cannot be achieved easily. They take their sweet time and our hard work to come true. But, one thing that can be said about these courses is, the ending is worth all the hard work.

This article focuses on answering the above questions by giving you a brief knowledge on both the courses.

What is ACCA?

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants(ACCA) is a UK recognized body which was initially started in London in the year 1904.Due to globalization, it expanded over the last few decades and it has now become a recognized course in more than 180 countries. It now has more than 227,000 members and 544,000 future members world wide.

It focuses mostly on accounting and finance aspects of the organisation. This course helps to gain knowledge in global standards such as UK GAAP, IFRS etc and international Laws.

For a person to become a certified member of ACCA, he has to

  1. Qualify the exams conducted by the institute.
  2. Complete ethics and professional skills module.
  3. Gain practical experience of 3 years.

Here is the list of exams conducted by ACCA

Applied Knowledge

All the three exams in this module are to be written.

  1. Business and Technology (BT)
  2. Management Accounting (MA)
  3. Financial Accounting (FA)

Applied Skills

All the exams are to be written in this module.

  1. Corporate and Business Law (LW)
  2. Performance Management (PM)
  3. Taxation (TX)
  4. Financial Reporting (FR)
  5. Audit and Assurance (AA)
  6. Financial Management (FM)

Strategic Professional

This module has two sections. Essential subjects where both the exams are to be given and optional exams where two subjects out of the four subjects are to be chosen.

Essential Exams:

  1. Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  2. Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

Optional Subjects:

  1. Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
  2. Advanced Performance Management (APM)
  3. Advanced Taxation (ATX)
  4. Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)

What is CA?

On the other hand, Institute of Chartered Accountants(ICAI) is an organisation set up under an act enacted by the Parliament of India in the year 1949. A CA is the only person who can audit the financial statements of the company and issue an audit report under Companies Act, 2013. CA is said to be one of the toughest courses in India. This course focuses on various aspects such as accountancy, audit and assurance, law relating to companies, finance, taxation, costing etc. It gives the students a plethora of opportunities once they become a qualified CA.

To become a qualified CA, a student has to go through 4 stages:

  1. Qualify CA Foundation exams.
  2. Qualify CA Inter exams.
  3. Complete 3 years of practical training.
  4. Qualify CA Final exams.

Comparison between ACCA and CA

When it comes to exams, ACCA is more flexible when compared to CA as it allows the students to write 1 paper each time. The student has to remember that he should give these exams while undergoing practical experience of 3years. Hence, it is important for the students to maintain a balance between work and studies.

ACCA also gives exemption from certain papers to people pursuing other courses. In case of CA students, ACCA gives exemption from 5 papers to a student who qualified CA Inter exams and 9 papers to a qualified CA whereas ICAI does not give any such exemptions.

ACCA provides more global exposure when compared to CA.

Since the companies in India deal with Indian laws, they prefer a CA rather than an ACCA. Hence, a large share of jobs go to CAs. However, due to globalization, a rapid growth in MNCs is seen in the last few decades and hence, requirement for ACCAs has also increased during that time. Large MNCs and audit firms such as KPMG, Deloitte, PWC etc are hiring ACCAs,

It is important to note that a qualified member of ACCA is not eligible to sign the audit report of indian companies under Companies Act, 2013. Hence, for a person who wants to settle in India, ACCA is not a viable option.

Basis for ComparisonACCACA
Governing BodyAssociation of Chartered Certified AccountantsInstitute of Chartered Accountants of India
FocusAccounts and FinanceAccounts, Law, Audit and Assurance, Finance, Taxation etc.
Jobs and exposureGlobalIndia
No. of papers to be given13 PapersFoundation(4 Papers)
CA Inter(8 Papers)
CA Final (8 Papers)
Time taken to complete3 Years5 Years
Fees2 to 3 LakhsBelow 1 Lakh
Average Earnings to be expected5 to 6 Lakhs p.a if it is in India. On the contrary, the average earnings of ACCA is pretty high in other countries.7 to 8 Lakhs p.a

A CA can work only in India and this degree is not accepted in other countries. Hence, if a CA wants to settle in other countries, they should pursue other courses. On the other hand, ACCA has global recognition and is an approved course in more than 180 countries. It is suitable for the people who want to settle abroad.

ACCA and CA together?

Pursuing ACCA and CA together is a great choice and it requires a lot of patience, hard work, will power and dedication.

But, if one wants to pursue the courses one after the other or the student is still unsure about what to go with, it is advisable to pursue CA first. A qualified CA is exempted from 9 of the 13 papers in ACCA. This is beneficial to the student. A person who is a qualified member of both ACCA and CA has career opportunities in India and other countries.

To conclude, if a person wants to work or set up a practice or settle in India, he should prefer CA. But, if a person wants to work overseas and settle abroad, ACCA acts a step up to their resume.

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