What's the difference between ACA and ACCA?

ACCA

#41

Very comprehensive answer from stehitchen.
One comment I would add is that historically ACA (and 10 years after qualifying it becomes FCA) has been seen as the superior qualification because it is mainly graduate entry to train whereas ACCA is mainly non graduate.


#42

A few more comments worth mentioning.
ICAEW=Institute. Members are “Chartered”
ACCA=Association. Members are “Certified”
Please don’t ask me to define the differences but there are. I believe (but someone can help here please) to be an Institute suggests an organization needs to demonstrate a more rigorous application of standards and byelaws?
Interestingly an ACCA may apply to become an ACA after completing 5 years post qualifying ACCA, getting proposer, sponsors etc and satisfying CPE requirements.
Why do ACCAs want to join ICAEW as indeed many do.
Why don’t ACAs join ACCA?
Interestingly when answering the “which is better?” question, ACAs say “Ours is superior” but ACCAs only argue that they are as good as ICAEW but never try to say they are better.
Historically all the top accountancy firms in the UK used to include “Chartered Accountants” in their name and you could only be a partner in the firm if you were a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW OR ICAS). Clearly that has changed and anyone can be a partner now, even HMRC inspectors!!


#43

Can’t say conclusively, but I think ACCA, CIPFA and CIMA can all call themselves Chartered Accountants if they wish (however only ICAS can use the actual abbrevation ‘CA’) as they are all ‘chartered’ bodies. It does tend to be ICAS/ICAEW who have used that phrase for longer as they have held charters for much longer. However, all bodies within the CCAB (Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies UK) hold royal charters (the other C in ACCA and the C in CIMA/CIPFA all stand for ‘chartered’).

I do agree, that ‘Institute’ sounds better than ‘Association’ but don’t really know the legal difference - anyone have any input? ICAS/ICAEW do hold more prestige and people often mistakenly think that they are the only ‘chartered’ bodies, however in my opinion this is an old fashioned view point as I can’t think of any practical differences between the two in todays business world.

Re the point about graduates v non-graduates. You can’t simply study ACCA straight out of school, you must either hold a degree for direct entry or first study AAT (which can also allows entry to study ACA or CA???). Therefore there isn’t a great deal of difference currently as you can gain entry to all 3 as a school leaver via AAT and I know a CA who doesn’t have a degree (the division of graduate v non-graduate is again a historical difference which has driven the ‘prestige’ element).

I would actually argue that ICAS holds more prestige than ICAEW as it is the oldest chartered accountancy body in the world (i.e. the sole use of the abbreviation ‘CA’) and scotland is widely accepted to be the birthplace of modern economics/accountacy.

Is anything I have said wrong or does anyone know any situations where the different qual will cause practical problems in the workplace and not just opinion based?. I guess its just the same type of case as an Oxford/Cambridge degree…a degree is a degree on paper and it doesn’t necessarily mean a better candidate, but people hold an Oxbridge degree above all others based on prestige?


#44

Just to correct you:
Only ICAS, ICAEW or ICAI can call themselves ‘Chartered Accountant’
Only ACCA can call themselves ‘Chartered Certified Accountant’
Only CIMA can call themselves ‘Chartered Management Accountant’
Only CIPFA can call themselves ‘Chartered Public Finance Accountant’.
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_qualified_accountants#Titles_of_British_accountancy_qualifications]


#45

stehitchen, I think pretty much what you say is correct these days.
But I believe that the word Chartered was only actually introduced to ACCA when it changed its name in 1995. Previuosly it was Association of Certified Corporate Accountants.
Sadly, I also believe the Scots CA is marginally better (I’m Scots but with ACA qualification). In fact the Scots Institute holds a quasi grad ceremony for newly qualified. It’s perceived supremecy was in part due to it’s history and until recently it was small and exclusive. Now the flood gates are opening with the English piling in. I believe also soem 10 yeras ago thatthe English firms (can’t remember the exact details) didn’t like the direction that the ICAEW training was taking and the Scots qualification seemed better. Is the situation changing again?
On a trivial note, it is the Institute of Chartered Accountants OF Scotland, Whereas ICAEW is the Institute of Chartrered Accountants IN England.
Historically you could take ACCA in industry or the profession whereas you had to train for ICAS/ICAEW with a firm of Chartered Accountants. That has changed now.
However, 87% of ICAEW students are graduates and the majority train within the profession. ACCA is creeping into the professional firms but is still, for whatever reason considered not the creme de la creme.


#46

Yeah I agree with both posts from ucayman and tutor.

In response to ucayman, you are right, I think I was just trying to get at the point that alot of people mistakenly think that only ICAEW/ICAS are the only bodies which are chartered.

Whilst there has been many differences previously, i.e. entry routes, requirement for professional firms etc, as far as I know there are no actual entry/practical differences at present as all bodies under the CCAB hold equivalent status and the biggest difference is opinion based (and therefore the lack of facts means that no one body can claim to be ‘better’ than another).

Would be quite interesting to see the results of the FTSE100 survey in 100 years time, i would predict a lot more ICAS as it seems that a lot of the big firms have completely moved away from ICAEW to north of the border.


#47

An awful lot of non ACCAs don’t even know the name was changed in 1995. Some ACAs are VERY sniffy about ACCAs and call them “mechanics”.

In 100 years time?? Well, if Scotland becomes independent, they’ll charge English students of ICAS as if they are overseas students, don’t you think?? Or keep it stricly for the Scots.

In 100 years time it’ll be the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Europe. God help us.


#48

“Would be quite interesting to see the results of the FTSE100 survey in 100 years time, i would predict a lot more ICAS as it seems that a lot of the big firms have completely moved away from ICAEW to north of the border.”

I think all of the firms do ICAS for trainees in scotland

for trainees based in England only PKF and E+Y do ICAS - but lately they have started doing some students on ICAEW aswell


#49

Yeah there ‘Institute of Chartered Accountants in Europe’ does seem possible with how things are going.


#50

Don’t be so sure of it

The ICAEW merger with CIMA and CIPFA failed - as did an earlier merger attempt

ICAS don’t want to merge with ICAEW because then they wouldn’t be able to differentiate themselves as the oldest accountanty body in the world vs ICAEW and also would have to allow ICAEW ACA members to use the CA title (only ICAS are allowed to use it per their royal charter) - a lot of it does come down to ‘snobbery’ but thats they way it is


#51

Aye, we hiv a mind tae keep thae English oot o oor Institute.
But thanks for helping oot oor banks non the less!


#52

Thats slightly offending.


#53

LilShorty, I’m sorry if you think I was being offensive. Perhaps I need to explain my background.
I am half Scots and half English. In my extended family (who live in Scotland and England) there are 3 CAs, two ACAs, one RBS banker, one English corporate lawyer (banking) and one Scottish parliamentarian. We have a great deal of laughter, wit and repartee based on our Anglo -Scottish differences.
I was simply trying to share some humor with this thread.
Heavens it’s good to be able to demonstrate to folks that Chartered Accountants of ALL sorts are not as boring as our public reputation makes us out.


#54

Everyone loves a bit of banter!


#55

Whatever you may think it’s true - there is a lot of snobbery between institutes

ICAS - don’t want anyone else using CA
ICAEW - members don’t want people from ‘lesser’ accounting bodies such as ACCA/CIMA using ACA


#56

Hello,

Apologies if my post is in the wrong place but I need some help.

Basically, I am doing ACCA. I have been reading on ACA and I am a bit confused on my choice.

With ACCA what jobs which you be able to target, e’g i have an idea of a few such as audit… Right now with ACCA you do the papers and three years practical experience and you are there. How do you gain that experience, I am struggling for years to find a job that will help me progress with my studies.

With ACA, you need a degree or at least accounting background. I read you need to get the ACA training in order to be accepted. Is this correct and how do you go about studying, working , training and qualifying.

Either way, I have an interest in Tax and would like to your views on getting there too.

Thanks!


#57

Ok. Quite a bit of confusion here, I think.
You are already studying ACCA? It is a very similar qualification to ACA. You can do pretty much any accountancy/finance job with ACCA. Indeed some Finance Directors of FTSE 100 companies are ACCA qualified. Currently the majority are ACA qualified.
You do not have to have a degree or accountancy background to study for ACA. 87% of ACA students have a degree but the degrees are in a whole range of subjects, music, history, modern languages etc.
Historically you could only undertake the three year ACA study contract with a firm of Chartered Accountants whose members were ACA qualified. The qualification was never undertaken in industries. Today it is possible to study ACA with firms that are not accountancy practitioners. Historically, ACCA tended to be taken by more people without degrees and they studied for it in industry, commercial enterprises etc.
Nowadays, as you will observe from the various debates on this forum, the ACA and ACCA are coming closer together ACCAs are eligible to apply for memebership of ICAEW (the Institute of ACAS!)
Both the ICAEW and ACCA have excellent websites which would answer all your questions.
I commend these sites to you.
Re your interest in tax. Both ACA and ACCA cover taxation. You can also study for Institute of Taxation exams. However, I would suggest doing accountancy first and specialise afterwards.


#58

Hi, everyone, i just read all your comments and i learnt a lot.
Why i come to see the difference today is for i was turned out of the gra-scheme of one of the big 4. I was indeed frustrated. I appreciated their feedback, but i think my biggest obstacles are expressing skill( for i just came to UK for 1 year) and my lacking-confidence( for my background is IT).
Anyway, i still feel i am the right person to do finance job( maybe just blindly optimistic). I wish to gain wild commercial understanding of this economic world. I wish to be a responsible contributor to this enviornment.
I knwo i can start from a independent student of ACCA. I am wondering, do i have to study in a university/ institution? If so, like London school of Economy, is it difficult to apply for it?(for i know it is a very good uni) And because of my foreign passport, is it very expensive to do the study?( how much is the fee on average?)


#59

Hi, everyone, i just read all your comments and i learnt a lot.
Why i come to see the difference today is for i was turned out of the gra-scheme of one of the big 4. I was indeed frustrated. I appreciated their feedback, but i think my biggest obstacles are expressing skill( for i just came to UK for 1 year) and my lacking-confidence( for my background is IT).
Anyway, i still feel i am the right person to do finance job( maybe just blindly optimistic). I wish to gain wild commercial understanding of this economic world. I wish to be a responsible contributor to this enviornment.
I knwo i can start from a independent student of ACCA. I am wondering, do i have to study in a university/ institution? If so, like London school of Economy, is it difficult to apply for it?(for i know it is a very good uni) And because of my foreign passport, is it very expensive to do the study?( how much is the fee on average?)


#60

Hi everyone i have just red all this and it really did take me a while to get thru.

But i am still very confused which path is better?

I am currently coming to the end of my AAT3 i will start AAT4 in september.

I really want carry on studying, but ACA or ACCA ?

Carrier goals are: auditor - FC - FD

what do i need?

Please help me.

Cheers