ACA versus CA


Which of these qualifications is seen as better? and would which qualification you gained really have that much bearing on your career options?


No difference. ACA = CA (ICAS). One is English, one is Scottish. Compare this with taking a degree at a Scottish Uni or an English uni.
Scottish Instiute is very much smaller than ICAEW and thus perceived to be somewhat more exclusive. However, with many more English firms offering the CA option, the Scottish Institute is gradually getting bigger but is still nowhere near the size of ICAEW.
Subs for ICAEW are £290 whereas Scots is circa £425.
Both ACA and CA are mainly graduate intake.


Why would you offer the CA then instead of the ACA? I’m just wondering because everyone says the ACA is the best


Geographic area I suppose?
I don’t think there is a major difference in the curriculum or perception or anything. ICAS is the oldest institute, so maybe perceived slightly higher or more exclusive as tutor said above.

CA/ACA = the best :stuck_out_tongue:


Teaching differences - ICAS trains and examines its students

ICAEW have external providers doing the training - i.e. Kaplan and BPP

ICAS is also a bit more intensive - ICAEW is more split up so just as much work but more spread out


Yeah, and I also think that ACA might be more internationally ‘recognised’. Although, I say might because as everyone mentioned above, it is essentially one and the same thing.

As GradJobHunter said, the CA is definitely more pressured in terms of exams. A friend of mine doing the CA mentioned that CA trainees had to go through 2 months of college/exams before they could actually start work at clients’ sites, whereas ACA trainees go through short alternating periods of work/study.


Well, two months is not very long and it is better to have some technical knowledge before they let you work on clients.
Also I believe that most of the big four send you straight off to financial training college as soon as you join and you have to sit the first 3 (of 6) knowledge papers. Virtually all of the study is self study.
Further, as I have commented before, if you join PwC in the April intake you go straight into nearly 5 months of training and ICAEW exams and don’t do any client work until about September.


Yeah absolutely - 2 months isn’t long at all. What I also meant to say was that CA have this tendency to concentrate on one thing at a time, whereas during the ACA you undertake studying (which is obviously spread out) and work at the same time. Or so I’ve heard.

Although, 5 months of nothing but study to get many papers out of the way wouldn’t be so terrible given that one would be a (relatively) recent university graduate.


also the member fee and joining fee for ICAS is a couple hundred more than for ICAEW!


Annual membership: ICAEW 290 pounds. ICAS 450.
Joining fee for ICAEW 500 ish. ICAS ?
However, these costs are fairly academic as your employer usually pays these especially if you are in the profession.
Worst case scenario and you have to pay yourself, the fees for joining and annual subs are tax deductible so cost to you is 60% assuming you’re a higher rate taxpayer when you qualify.


PS what’s going on with this site? It’s doing some strange things.


In NQ Magazine - spring 2009 it says:

ICAEW membership= £283 Joining Fee = £283

ICAS membership = £382 Joining Fee = £794

ICAS are raking it in

Yes your firm will usually pay if but you have to pay yourself if you start your own firm/work in industry


Those figures are out of date. My figures relate to membership from Jan 2010. I’ve just paid mine. £290
ICAS aren’t raking it in. They have far fewer members to spread the costs.
Friend who joined and paid annual membership in Feb this year total cost £803. ICAEW.
It’s still v good value compared with many professions.
Most industries pay your fees if they have recruited you because you are a qualified accountant.


ok thanks for pointing that out


Oh, sorry just re-read my post. Sounds a bit abrupt. Didn’t mean to.


NP - sounded fine to me