ACA vs CA - kpmg


I’m a bit confused about the difference between the ACA and the CA qualifications. Can someone please explain the difference AND why one is more prestigious than the other?

From what I understand ICAEW give the ACA and ICAS the CA.

For some reason everyone says the ACA is the most prestigious. But ICAS has been longer established and it specifically stopped other accounting bodies to allow their people to have the letters CA after their name (i.e. whoever takes the qualification cant have “Joe Blogs, CA”). But noone really talks about the CA, they all talk about the ACA as if its like being knighted.

Anyway Im worried because, KPMG grads follow ICAS. Ive got a tax grad role starting next year. In this I’ll get the qualifications of CA and CTA.

Im not complaining (I’d rather have a job than not) i just dont want this ‘oh you didnt do the ACA, you arent good enough etc’ crap if i decide to move elsewhere. I would have studied too hard to be dealing with qualification pettiness.

Anyone got any thoughts?


Hmm i think you’re right, as more people are doing the ACA these days then that might be the reason.
Plus E+Y and kpmg are the smallest of the big 4 arent they? So fewer grads doing the CA than those doing the ACA.

It pisses me off slightly though. Its not just people who are in the accounting industry who think it, but everyone else too who has remotely heard of these qualifications. People are being brainwashed that ACA is the only good accounting qual out there. If the HR of other types of companies start thinking that too then all hope is lost for later transitions - although hopefully they will be a little more clued up.


The main difference is that its the Institutes of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales, or Scotland…

I’m pretty sure the two are so similar anyway, personally I’m all for the CA because I’m Scottish too!


not everyone is convinced the aca is the top of the pile. i was told by a recruitment agent that banks prefer cima over aca :S


i think ACA is the same but the revision time you get for the exams is structured different…like more of a power session for a few weeks and then take your exam at the end rather than working at the same time


Very late, but I can confirm that recruitment consultants judge an ACA and CA qualification exactly the same. There are historic differences but overall they’re almost identical now in terms of course structure. However, I have heard the ICAS Case Study (Final Exam) can be harder as it’s less consistent with past papers.

The reason why EY opted to follow ICAS was because they felt they had a better syllabus structure, i.e. a preference for block study. More and more firms moved from ICAEW to ICAS including firms like PKF. Eventually the ICAEW relented and introduced a new syllabus themselves in 2006 or 2007 which now mirrors the ICAS format.

In response to another poster’s comments regarding the ranking of different qualifications, in my experience CIMA was more or less given the same kudos as an ACA/CA. The ACCA is perceived as an easier qualification to achieve.