ACA deferral 2010 start vs CIPFA 2009 start?


Hiya guys,

I recently just missed out on a job to do ACA for september 2009 which i was extremely disappointed about. However they have given me two other options 1) a deferral to start in september 2010 or 2) Or go for the CIPFA qualification for 2009 start?

I have agreed to go to the partner interview next wednesday for the CIPFA job so that i can discuss with him what the qualification is all about etc, and to ask any questions which I may have?

Although i did have my heart set on doing ACA so i am unsure what to do?

Is CIPFA as good a qualification as ACA? Will I be restricting myself to the public sector if i do CIPFA? Am i better off just waiting a year to do the jo i wanted in the first place?

Any views or information would be greatly appreciated!

Many Thanks!


Hi Mukk2k3

I’m currently studying for my CIPFA qualification, so if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

Although CIPFA doesn’t restrict you to public sector, you might be required to do some form of conversion at a later date to go into private sector (particularly if you’re looking to become a partner in a big firm), and there are certain restrictions on being able to sign accounts off as an auditor (but that’s likely to be 10-15 years down the line for you!) as you become a CPFA instead of a CA.

The modules and flavour of the qualification as a whole is rather different to ACA/ICAS/ICAEW etc, you’ll study a lot less tax, and have some modules which are unique to the public sector (Government & Public Policy and Public Finance). I think there are more exams in total (4 at certificate level, 7 at diploma and 2 at final stage, plus your IPDS - portfolio type log book of work experience), but people generally say the exams are slightly easier than ACA.

Which employer have you applied to? Have you applied specifically for a public sector job? Is it with an accountancy firm or with a public sector body?
Good luck with it all!


I this current market I would take what is on offer the soonest. Deferred positions may not materialise next year. The Association of Graduate Recruiters is pretty much saying take what is being offered and just yourself in the door and earning.


Hi chocolatefairy, thanks for your reply! Well the job is with Grant Thornton, does it make a big difference if the job was with a public body rather than an accountancy firm?

I am a very ambitious person and career progression does appeal to me greatly. If i did do the CIPFA in Grant Thornton, will there still be the opportunites availble to me for career progression within the firm, compared to the career progression that the ACA would offer me. If i wanted career progression would it mean me going to work in the public sector? Or will i have the opportunity to switch to ACA in grant thornton after ‘X’ amount of years?

Sorry for all the questions!

Peregrine, i understand what you are saying, that it’s probably more important to just get your foot in the door, but if it is a signed written contract for 2010 start, surely it is more or less 100% secure?

Thanks again!