What's the difference between ACA and ACCA?



Hi all.

Can anyone elaborate the difference between ACA and ACCA, please? At KPMG there are these two routes in audit, and the entry requirement for ACA is stricter than for ACCA. I am really curious and would like to know which qualification is better in terms of long term career developments.

Many thanks,



ACA, hands down.

ACA focuses on practical as well as technical aspects of being an accountant- particularly for giving advice to clients and how to deal with tricky situations. ACCA is fundamentally a technical only qualification. ACA requires you to clock up 2 years of technical work experience with a firm before you qualify, whereas for ACCA you just have sit the exams and pass and you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life.

ICAEW ACA is very highly regarded and almost every financial director in a FTSE company is ACA qualified, the majority of them from the Big 4.


Listen to Chris. He’s spot on…

Chris, why would anyone do ACCA when ACA is so much better and why would Big 4 employers like KPMG offer employees ACCA, when they’d be better employees if they had ACA?


It’s a choice of routes- not everyone’s up to ACA. Also, because you don’t need technical work experience to do ACCA, you can do ACCA sponsored by any company (just working in their finance department) rather than an accounting company life PwC, KPMG, Deloitte etc.


Thanks so much for the info, guys! :smiley:



I should point out that ACCA is still an extremely respectable qualification and nobody would ever look down upon it; I think my original post was maybe a little biased!


In addition to chrism’s comments: with ACA and a few years’ BIG4 experience one can make easily make his way to IBs


London Bloke’s right… IB’s would find you very appealing, and could offer you a little more excitement (and a lot more cash) …

My consultant colleague also regrets not starting out in accounting and doing the ACA… it is a hugely respected qualification in the city. Apparently all the top consultants have ACA… and furthermore, many entrepreneurs and commercial directors/managers, etc!

If you haven’t already, you might like a look at - ACA | WikiJob.

Good luck :slight_smile:


As an ACCA studier,I would like to say that both ACCA and ACA are highly respected qualifiactions, get fully qualified either in ACA or ACCA means you would secure a job with high reward,and as London Bloke’s said both qualification would lead you to a well paid position in IB .The technical area covered by both exams are similer while ACA more focuse on case study and analysis at the final stage, ACCA is more international recognised to some extent compared with ACA,if you are considering a job oversea especially in Asia I would recommand ACCA.


…bring on the debate! …If we get enough information on this then we could certainly create a ACA vs ACCA wiki page, or something similar.


When I went to an Open Evening at KPMG the current trainees seemed to share the view that ACCA is more recognised internationally, however all of them agreed that they would rather have ACA.

When I applied I was torn between going for a PhD or starting on a grad scheme - the desirability of ACAs not just in accountancy but across many major business roles was a major factor in my decision to go for the grad scheme!


Thanks for all the info.

I have decided to join the ACA programme. :smiley:


[QUOTE=Sushi;1307]Thanks for all the info.

I have decided to join the ACA programme. :D[/QUOTE]

wise decision!:wink:


When do you start Sushi?


September. :slight_smile:


just out of interest,
suhi, which uni did you go?


Hi Londonbloke,

I study at the University of Nottingham.


ACA rocks, ACCA rocks abit


…debatably, no accounting qualifications can technically “rock” …but I get what you mean!


Noticed some interesting comments here - I am an ACCA based student as are the majority of the firm I work for and I feel perhaps there are a few members of the institute making the replies here!

ACCA is a fantastic qualification to achieve and just as respected as it’s intitute counterpart - infact the institute have recognised this as well and will accept ACCA members with 5 years experience in practice into the institute with no extra exams. The ACCA however does not do this as far as I know.

The examination technique between the two bodies is slightly different. The ACA require a 55% pass mark on their exams, but have a number of open book examinations (such as a book of th ISAs), the final exams you are allowed to take in whatever books you feel are approprate to the case studies. The first few stages of the ACA also have multiple choice questions.

The ACCA, require a 50% pass mark, but allow no books into their examination. The examinations are split into 2 parts, Section A which will be a long written question, and section B with tend to be four 25 mark questions with the option of answering two of four.

Furthermore, if you have achieved the AAT qualification the ICAEW will allow you to sit top up papers of 1.5 hours each, rather than fully fledged exams. Both bodies offer exemptions for relevant degrees.

The ACCA requires 3 years worth of relevant experience in the accouting field, but to gain a practicing certificate it has to be practice based experience. Without this practicing certificate you cannot be an RI and sign off audit reports etc.

I would suggest that anyone should consider where they want to go with their career. If they want to stick in the UK then go ACA, if they want the option of a more global horizon then go ACCA.

If you are qualifying in a firm that labels themself as “Chartered accountants” or “Chartered Certified accountants” you should consider carefully the option as the partners in a firm have to be weighted towards the ICEAW or the ACCA to retain the use of that title.

In reality though, all of the regulatory bodies regularly consider merging together so one day we all may fall under the same wing.

There is a lot of talk about the big 4 - They will recognise any official regulatory body - Last year they were pushing the ICAS qualification, the year before ACCA - they change their mind more times than the weather and are looking for quality of person with experience, not with the ability to pass a set of exams.