What's the difference between ACA and ACCA?



Bad joke first. The difference between ACA and ACCA is “C”.
Joking apart, as you have already embarked on a course of study for accountancy I think you should ask your course provider and your employer for guidance as to how you should proceed to the next stage of your qualification and whether you should follow the ACA or ACCA route.
Have a look at all the websites:

AAT http://www.aat.org.uk/

ACCA http://uk.accaglobal.com/


Both ACA and ACCA are suitable for FC, FD.


Hi all ,

I am currently doing my ACCA and i got an offer to do ACA in the ICAEW …and i am a bit confused on whether should i stick with doing my ACCA or should i switch to ACA …any suggestions on what should i do ?


chopchop, your post is not there. If you start a line with a space, the whole message vanishes!


Hi all ,
I am currently doing my ACCA and i got an offer to do ACA in the ICAEW …and i am a bit confused on whether should i stick with doing my ACCA or should i switch to ACA …any suggestions on what should i do ?


Could any one give me some directions please?

I have been thinking about becoming an accountant and searching online for a while but I am still not clear where to go.

My biggest concern is my age. I am 32 and worried if I would ever get any placement in the first place. If there is a practicing accountant here, have you ever met any trainee of my age or over? how often?

I gained a degree in business management outside UK about 10 years ago and did a post graduate program in UK 2003, in another business discipline. I have been working ever since in a service industry, but my role is hardly anything to do with business or accountancy. I am pretty sure the accountancy firms would not appreciate much of my irrelevant experience.

I am confident about getting into the intense studying mode again but I don’t remember I loved accounting and math particularly or even worse, I wasn’t really good at them… Would that be a wrong idea to get into this industry? I only started looking at this because (I know this may sound daft) but I recently did some aptitude tests to change career and they all came out as an accountant to go for because I am good at thinking numbers???but I am still worried that I will not be able to make to the end because of the difficulty and levels of study.

I am not looking into joining a big organisation or becoming a financial director in the future but I would like to work in a well established local firm and eventually start my own business or work from home. I just love the fact that it gives financial security and flexibility as a career. so I could rule out CIMA…

Another thing is I am getting decent pay from my current job( not much of future career development though) and I don’t think I could afford to quit to study or train full time. Staying in my current job and preparing leaves me only ACCA route, but would that be enough to attract a future employer as a good candidate? I will try to pass as many exam as possible studying alone but at what stage of exams would be enough on CV to persuade an employer to take me as an ACCA trainee? Would it be beneficial if I take AAT or CAT qualifications at the same time?

On the other hand, If I just give up my job and try to get a trainee position for ACA in my current situation, would that be any possibility what so ever? Would it help if I did AAT or CAT qualification first to put on CV? Would they will then see me at all as a 34 years candidate?

It may be cheeky to ask but how much can i expect to get paid as a trainee either for ACA or ACCA?

I know I am asking alot and I may be misunderstanding some but I have no one around to give me any advice and I would really appreciate any input from you guys. anything will help.

Thank you very much in advance.

If you prefer to PM please send me any materials or information to mintskfk@hotmail.com



I am going into my final year of my accountancy university degree in september. For my future aspects i have decided that i want to do the ACA due to advise from family members. i achieved amazing GCSE’S and am currently on a 2:1, aiming for 1 st at the end of my degree.

My main issue is my A levels…i recieved: chemistry:c, biology:c psychology:c. This has bugged me for a while and i want to know how this will affect me finding a training contract to complete my ACA. During my research i have found some firms that do not take alevels into considaration but i want to officially know what my best route to the ACA qualification will be with these grades???

p.s do you think a 1st class would improve employers views on my applications in this case???

please help as this has been bugging me for a while

Thank you in advance


Hi Oppocko,

I think in terms of the big 4 firms you would struggle based on your a-levels but I know from when I was applying a couple of years ago a lot of the mid tier and smaller firms were looking for people with Accountancy degrees specifically. In terms of your classification most employers will base their decision on what you are sitting on now (and you’ll need to start applying in the autumn) also there seems to be little discrimination between 2:1 and 1st.

Hope this helps,



My first thought is what went wrong with the A levels? You did really well at GCSEs (although you don’t say what your actual grades are) then you only achieved C grades at A level. Now you are on course for a 1st or 2.1.
Do you have extenuating circumstances for your A levels? If so, then you should talk to the firms you wish to apply to and explain this.
Be aware that these days (I know this will attract some adverse responses from readers of this forum…apologies but I think I’m only echoing public sentiment here) there are an awful lot of 2.1 degrees and even 1st class degrees of dubious standards depending on the University, the subject and the actual university dept. This is why the employers need to refer to A level grades since this is a pretty standard measurement.


Just a quick question. Is there much difference in the potential earning power of the qualifications? I understand the prestige arguments but wonder if this translates into ACA’s generally getting a higher wage than ACCA’s or are they more or less the same? Cheers


that is an interesting question, untouchable one.

you always read that x% of FTSE100 FDs are ACA qualified

but what of ACCA qualifieds?


Ok thank you very much you have been of much help


You comment is very thorough thank you…for my gcse’s I achieved all A and B’ for every subject I took including maths,science and English. For my a levels
A lot of personal problems both family wise and friends were going on…bt I do not have an official record for this.


The ACA is more intellectually rigorous than the ACCA. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the ACCA candidates could not pass ACA exams, but certainly in my experience, professional firms would rather encourage less academically gifted students down the ACCA route rather than the time/expense of the chance of them failing the ACA.

When I passed my ACA exams 12 years ago, it was a ‘pass all at the first time’ situation. You could refer in one exam if it was a near-miss, but a fail, or a near-miss in 2 exams was considered a complete fail and you had to take all of the exams again. I look at ACCA students who work for me now and it seems that they can take exams as and when they like, one at a time, over a number of years and there is no time bar. There is also no requirement for relevant experience.

Because of all of this, I would take the view that if one placed the ACA qualification as a near-equivalent to an MBA, then an ACCA qualification would be akin to a Bachelor degree. Again, this is no reflection on the candidates themselves. I am convinced that there is little difference between good ACCA students and good ACA students, just that there are perhaps more bad ACCA students.


Hi all,

I`m an international student and going to have my MSc degree in the UK. I would look for work opportunities in accounting or consulting firms here but if failed i have to back to homeland for job. In this circumstance, which one(ACA or ACCA) do you think is more suitable for me?

Would appreciate any advice.



Just to correct you GIC1970 on a couple of points;

There is a ten year time limit for sitting exams, so you cannot go on taking them indefinitley, also to gain the FCCA designation you have to prove evidence of three years practical experience in addition to completing the exams. You cannot claim to be a qualified accountant until you have proved experience as well.

The ACCA has been around for over 100 years and is a well established global business qualification. Ultimatley ACCA, CIMA and ACA all have the word Chartered in their title, however, as other contributers have mentioned I’m not sure ACA is recognised as well internationally.

Not everyone wants to work in a Big 4 firm (We all know what happened to the 5th…) and unless you do you have no option but to study one of the other qualifications as it is not available to the “less academically gifted” by any other route. Unless you wish to correct me…?


ACCA is equally as respected as ACA. Some of the comments noted above are very outdated ideas. There is a reason that ACCA is growing far faster than ACA. It is far more global than ACA. ACA has been losing candidates to ACCA and ICAS etc in recent years, that in itself says something.

Any half decent employer would recognise the benfits in either!



My take on bingkk32’s reference would be that my institute is more selective and the exam system makes it harder to get into. There are more people entering the accountancy profession but they cannot all get into the ICAEW.


hi, i am ACCA affiliate… can anybody guide me in getting good job…particularly in audit firms??


In terms of a passport into any job in any field, which one between ACA, ACCA, and CIMA offers the best opportunity to eventually pick and choose any company and ideally any position i.e which qualification gives you the best holistic and overall foundation??? your help would be great…