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ACCA - A Comprehensive course guide

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CA foundation course

What is ACCA?

ACCA refers to a professional qualification in the accounting space and it is an abbreviation for “Association of Certified Chartered Accountants”, It provides its students with a ‘Certified Chartered Accountant’ certification (a global certification).

What's in for me?

ACCA is a high-level professional qualification and is equivalent to completing a full university degree, and it is the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the global Accounting Body, compliant, and is based on international accounting and auditing standards. It is a flexible course as it allows the student to pursue the course along with graduation.

ACCA members are in demand for their finance and accounting knowledge and skills worldwide. An ACCA is a steppingstone into a new world of opportunity – once you become a member, the learning process continues throughout your career. The ACCA has partnerships with employers all over the world.

The ACCA Qualification is designed to ensure that the members get all the competencies and skills needed to work in a wide variety of organizations and in a wide variety of work roles.

Students who are studying for their graduation can pursue ACCA along with their graduation. ACCA conducts exams twice a year so that students can work/complete their other studies while pursuing their ACCA studies.

Future of the fraternity?

The scope for ACCA in India is growing at an incredibly fast pace, as well as around the world.

ACCA qualified students receive job opportunities at top corporates & MNCs like Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tata, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and etc.

It is one of the largest and fastest-growing qualifications in the world, with over 2,00,000 members and 5,44,000 students in 178 countries as it is a professional course with global recognition. It also has 300 approved learning providers (tuition providers) and 7300 approved employers.

What should I have to start this?

Age: 18 years

Qualification: 10+2 with (five separate subjects including English and Maths)

  • aggregate 65% in Mathematics or Accounts & English
  • Minimum of 50% in all other chosen subjects

Course Curriculum

  • Papers: 13 papers
    • Knowledge level – 3 papers
    • Skills level – 6 papers
    • Professional level – 6 papers
  • Practical experience: 3 years - After clearing the 13 exams (exceptions are permitted), the candidate must record 36 months of relevant experience.
  • Skills: 10 units of Interactive module on Ethics & Professional Skills. They should complete the Ethics and Professional Skills Module which helps develop a complete range of skills that are demanded by employers

 

Level

Eligibility

Papers

#

Content

Avg. Pass Rates

1

Applied Knowledge

Completed Class 12

3

Essential accounting Techniques

·       Business Technology (FBT)

·       Financial Accounting (FFA)

·       Management Accounting (FMA)

70%

2

Applied Skill

Completed B.Com or an equivalent undergraduate course

6

Strong, Practical Skills

·       Taxation (TX)

·       Performance Management (PM)

·       Audit & Assurance (AA)

·       Corporate and Business Law (LW)

·       Financial Reporting (FR)

·       Financial Management (FM)

45%

3

Strategic Professional Level

Completed Level 2

4

Technical Expertise, Ethics & Professional Skills

Essentials

·       Strategic Business Leader (SBL)

·       Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

 

Options (Pick 2)

·       Advanced Financial Management (AFM)

·       Advanced Performance Management (APM)

·       Advanced Taxation (ATX)

·       Advanced Audit & Assurance (AAA)

45%

Course Duration

ACCA duration depends on your level of education.

Level of Education

Least possible time to complete ACCA

·       Completed 12th

3 years

·       Graduate (B. Com, BBA, BMS)

2 to 2.5 years

·       CA Inter Both Groups

2 years

·       B. Com + CA Inter 1 Group

1 year

·       CA Final

1 year

When do I have to stop trying?

Seven Year Rule: Maximum of 7 years

7yrs to pass the Strategic Professional exams once you pass your first Strategic Professional exam. If you don’t pass all the Strategic Professional exams and reach affiliate status within seven years, you’ll lose any Strategic Professional passes achieved after seven years. These will need to be re-taken in order to complete the qualification.

How and when are the Exams conducted?

Students can attempt up to a maximum of four papers per examination cycle - any paper within each module in any order

Two examination cycles per year:

•                1 February to 31 July and

•                1 August to 31 January.

Pattern used for exams at various levels is as follows:

•                Applied Knowledge exams – Computer Based Exam (CBE)

•                Applied Skills exams - Computer Based Exam or Paper-based

•                Essential’s exams – Paper-based format

•                Options exams – Paper-based format

In locations where CBE centers are not available due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the institute is offering students the opportunity to sit remotely invigilated on-demand CBEs.

Passing Requirements

The passing marks for ACCA are 50% for all exams. That means, if you get more than 50% marks on any of the papers, you will pass that paper.

Professional marks are awarded for the overall quality of answers, and for effective professional communication skills (use of logic, sensitivity to the intended target audience, and for structure and presentation). There are professional marks available in all ACCA Qualification Professional level papers. Gaining these professional marks could make the difference between a pass and a failure.

Professional marks will be awarded for capabilities and skills which are in addition to – and separate from – synthesis and evaluation, which are intellectual level 3 capabilities. Between four and six professional marks are included in each of the Professional level papers. These allow students to demonstrate – and examiners to assess – skills and capabilities which employers expect ACCA members to possess on qualification. It will be clearly indicated within the question requirements where professional marks are allocated in each paper.

In Professional level exams you might be asked for an answer in one of the following formats:

·       Letters

·       Presentation

·       Briefing Notes

·       Management reporting narrative (Eg: Annual report)

·       Press statement

·       Memo

·       Report

Exemptions

Exemptions based on pre-ACCA Qualification are detailed below:

 

Knowledge

Skill

Professional

Practical Experience

B.Com

3

1

0

 

CA Inter

3

2 (+ Audit & Tax)

0

 

B.Com + CA Inter

3

3 (+Law, Audit, Tax)

   

Qualified CA & CMA

3

6 (+FR, FM, Cost)

0

Full

MBA (Finance)

3

     

US CPA

3

5

   

Preparation

There are three modes by which a student can prepare for the

·       Self-Study

·       ACCA ALPs (Approved Learning Providers)

·       Tutors

ACCA itself doesn’t provide any tuition. Though, it has a recommended global network of 3rd party tuition providers (ALPs) which helps the students to prepare for the exams and other kinds of requirements such as professional experience etc.

The candidates can find the Approved Learning Providers on the official website.

ACCA vs CA

Parameters

ACCA

CA

Qualification

Professional Course 

Professional Course

Certifying Agency 

Association of Certified Chartered Accountants,

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). 

Recognition

Global

Mostly Indian

Objective

Course with technical expertise in Accounting and Finance to work in finance and management sectors

Mostly concentrates on auditing, taxation, and accountancy, to prepare candidates to work in any taxation and auditing firm. 

Minimum Duration

2 to 3 years

3 to 4.5 years

Examination Type

13 exams spread across 3 levels

20 exams spread across 3 levels – Foundation (4), Inter (8), Final (8)

Average Annual Fees

£2,000 (approx. for all levels when done directly from ACCA)

INR  4,50,000 (approx. when done from ALPs in India)

INR 20,000 to 2,50,000

Eligibility

·     Minimum age of 18,

·     65% in Mathematics or Accounts and English, and

·     a minimum of 50% in all other chosen subjects at the 10+2 level. 

10+2 for Foundation or, BCom with a minimum 55% aggregate for Inter & Final. 

Colleges

ACCA & ALPs

ICAI,  

Average Salary Offered

INR 3,50,000 to 4,50,000

INR 6,00,000 to INR 8,00,000

Job Roles

Accountant, internal auditor, forensic accountant, compliance officer, business analyst, risk manager, treasurer, insolvency practitioner, business consultant, chief financial officer, etc.

Accountants, Auditors, Financial Officer, Finance Manager, Taxation Expert, Investment Advisor, etc. 

ACCA vs CPA

Given below is a table that compares ACCA with the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) from the USA.

Parameters

ACCA

CPA

Qualification

Professional Course 

Diploma Course

Certifying Agency 

This course is designed and regulated by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, which is a global body for certification of Chartered Accountants based at London, UK. 

This course is designed and regulated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) based at USA. 

Objective

Prepares students for superior management through technical expertise in Accounting and Finance.

Globally recognized certification that invites a wide range of opportunities in the field of accountancy.

Minimum Duration

2 to 3 years

Less than a year

Examination Type

13 exams

4 online exams

Average Annual Fees

£2,000 (approx. for all levels when done directly from ACCA)

INR  4,50,000 (approx. when done from ALPs in India)

$4500 (approx.)

INR 3,75,000 to 4,00,000

Eligibility

·     Minimum age of 18,

·     65% in Mathematics or Accounts and English, and

·     a minimum of 50% in all other chosen subjects at the 10+2 level. 

M.Com or equivalent degree

Average Salary Offered

INR 3,50,000 to 4,50,000

INR 6,30,000

Job Roles

Accountant, internal auditor, forensic accountant, compliance officer, business analyst, risk manager, treasurer, insolvency practitioner, business consultant, chief financial officer, etc.

Management accountant, budget analyst, financial analyst, internal auditor, comptroller, professor, VP of Finance, and Chief Financial Officer, etc.

How to Register?

Visit the official website (https://www.accaglobal.com/in), register online, and upload all your supporting documents to become an ACCA student at any time of the year.

Supporting documents for ACCA registration include

  • signed and stamped educational qualification documents, as applicable – 10th, 12th, B. Com, CA award certificate/completion certificates

A subscription fee is charged in addition to the initial registration fee in your first year as an ACCA student if you are eligible to sit at two or more exam sessions in a calendar year. (Thereafter the annual subscription fee is due and payable on or before 1 January each year you wish to remain an active student). The basic fee includes

  • Initial Registration £30
  • Annual subscription £112
  • Exam Entry Fee
  • Knowledge level (each exam £84) - £252
  • Skill level (each exam £111) - £666
  • Ethics & Skill module £68
  • Professional exam fee total £678
  • Material

 

ACCA has a tiered pricing approach to exam entry. This means that the earlier you enter for your exams, the less you pay. There is also a charge for every exemption awarded.

Essentials for registration:

  • Proof of identification such as driver's license, passport, or birth certificate.
  • Official translations of any documents not in English, stamped by a licensed translator who is authorized and qualified to provide translation services.
  • Evidence that minimum entry requirements are met – Eligibility.
  • An applicant under the age of 16 (or under 18 and you live in Kenya or Malaysia) you'll need to upload a signed parental consent form or parental consent form (Malaysia).

ACCA Books

Some of the important books for this course is mentioned in the table below:

Name of the book

Official Publishers / Authors

ACCA Approved Textbooks & Workbooks 

BPP Learning Media

ACCA Approved Guides

Kaplan Publishing

Revision Kits

Becker Professional Education

What not to miss?

  • Study with an ALP preferably both from a learning perspective as well as discounts in ACCA Exam fees that you will be eligible on account of ALPs affiliation
  • Approved Textbooks
  • Appropriate content – Question & Answer Bank
  • Book early for exam – cost-effective and center of choice
  • Self-check modules – ACCA Practice Platforms
  • Specimen Exam

ACCA + Undergraduation in India

ACCA courses are provided either in combination with other courses like BBA, BCom, etc, or individually as well. Below are some of the colleges offering ACCA certification courses in India at present:

  • Christ University, Bangalore
  • Symbiosis College of Arts & Commerce
  • Apeejay Stya University
  • Global Centre for Entrepreneurship & Commerce
  • Manipal University

ACCA Job Prospects and Career Options

  • Profiles for ACCA qualified students in India include accounting advisory, treasury, risk advisory, corporate finance, audit and assurance, internal audit, taxation, investment advisory, etc.
  • As an ACCA qualified chartered account, students come trained for senior management positions, and can reach top positions like Chief Financial Officer (CFO) very easily. 
  • With a starting salary of 3.5 to 4.5 lakhs as an ACCA fresher, there will always be opportunities that are yet to be unlocked and discovered by students. 
  • With over 18 job profiles available, and under those, several positions available, ACCA makes sure that the candidates are left with ample job opportunities in future.

Anything else with or after ACCA?

  • Oxford Brookes BSc degree - registered ACCA Student and have opted-in to the BSc Degree Scheme.
  • University of London MSc in Professional Accountancy - Open to all ACCA members and affiliates.
  • Oxford Brookes Global MBA - ACCA member or a minimum of three years’ professional/managerial work experience.
  • Diploma in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR) is for finance professionals who need to acquire more a detailed understanding of IFRS.

After ACCA one can further pursue professional courses from foreign universities like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA USA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA UK), Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), etc. 

Can I do ACCA along with CA?

CA and ACCA are two independent bodies, and you can take up the exam anytime, side by side according to your convenience.

You can do ACCA after completing CA Final. A qualified CA receives 9 exemptions. So, qualified CA’s are required to attempt only 4 papers of professional level in ACCA. In 6–12 months a CA can Become an ACCA.

CA students can do ACCA as this would allow them to acquire two qualifications, in the same duration. Completing CA Inter will ease the effort for the Fundamental level of ACCA, and the Professional level of ACCA will ease the effort for a few subjects for CA Final.

But you must keep in mind that you can only do ONE course alongside your CA Course (as per form 112). If you are already doing graduation along with CA, then doing ACCA is not feasible. And also, study leave for CA & ACCA might not be easy during articleship.

Yet, nothing is impossible, and the reward is worth the effort. If you want to complete both the qualifications simultaneously, the best way forward would be:

  • Begin with CA and complete up to the CA Inter examinations, which will give you approximately 2 years of work experience (i.e. articleship) before you begin studying full-time for Final CA.
  • This will entitle you to exemption for 5 papers (6 if you are also a graduate) of ACCA.
    • Business Technology (FBT)
    • Financial Accounting (FFA)
    • Management Accounting (FMA)
    • Taxation (TX)
    • Audit & Assurance (AA)
  • In this time frame, you should start studying for ACCA.
  • F5 (Performance Management) and F9 (Financial Management) can be completed relatively quickly as the syllabus overlaps with the CA Inter examinations of Costing and FM.
  • Study F7 (Corporate and Business Laws), P1 (Strategic Business Leader), P2 (Strategic Business Reporting), P3(Advanced Financial Management) with diligence in the following year along with article-ship.
  • Opt for P4 (Advanced Performance Management), P5 (Advanced Taxation), P7 (Advanced Audit & Assurance) as your final 2 papers, as this overlaps with your Final CA syllabus.
  • Attempt your Final CA.
  • 3 years of work experience can be counted towards both the qualifications.

The CA candidates can apply for ACCA online at ANY TIME of the year. The applications can be submitted online along with the supporting documents which will be mentioned on the official website of ACCA.

Conclusion

The ACCA Qualification is a global one. Its entry requirements and study options are very flexible. The level of difficulty is medium compared to the CA course. The pass percentage is better than CAs. The course is very flexible you can give one exam per quarter and there is no requirement of group-wise aggregate etc.

Placements are good in India and abroad as it is based on international accounting and auditing standards. Further, ACCA has partnerships with employers all over the world. The diploma courses by ACCA allow specialization too.

Those who wish to engage themselves in the field of audits, taxation services, consultancy, and other allied areas of interest should pursue ACCA. It is an affordable way to get an International Degree.

All the Best!!!