ACCA or CA which is the best course?


ACCA or CA which is the best course? If you are confused which one to opt for, then you have reached the right place. This article will clear all your doubts and will explain much more in detail. Read on and take the wise decision as it is your career and your future.

Introduction

When we have a lot of options in front of us, it is normal to have a confusion on which one to opt for. This happens while selecting a course too. After Grade X we are confused which stream to opt for. After schooling, the confusion will be to figure out the best graduation course. Then comes PG or professional courses, certifications and so on. Knowledge is a treasure and there is no age limit for acquiring it. This article mainly revolves around finance graduates and those who are interested to make finance their profession. There are various courses like B-com, Bsc, M-com, MBA Finance, MSc Accounting etc for a finance student. But apart from these if you wish to have a professional qualification, you should go for CA or ACCA. Are you a finance graduate and is confused which professional course to opt for? CA and ACCA are the most commonly accepted professional financial courses in India. There is ACA too, the ICAEW Chartered Accountant qualification (UK) but this qualification is not valid in some of the South Asian countries. Hence we will base our analysis on CA and ACCA for the time being.

Indian Chartered Accountancy Course (CA)

The Indian Chartered Accountancy Course (CA) is provided by ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). ICAI is established under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. CA is a professional qualification which is very much valid in India and considered valid in many other countries too. It is the qualification required for you to practice as a Chartered Accountant in India. If you are planning to stay in India and work for an Indian firm, then CA is a must.

What qualification is required to pursue Chartered Accountancy course in India?

Any candidate who has passed Grade X can register for CPT (Common Proficiency Test) exam. But in order to appear for CPT, he/she need to pass Grade XII or at least waiting for the Grade XII results. There is no restriction on the percentage of mark to be scored in Grade XII to appear for CPT. ICAI introduced a direct entry scheme in 2012 through which students who have completed their graduation with a certain percentage of marks are exempted from CPT. Commerce graduates with 50% marks, non-commerce graduates who have taken subjects other than Mathematics with 55% marks and those non-commerce graduates with Maths subject who have scored an aggregate of 60% marks are exempted from the CPT. Such students can register for Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) directly, which is the intermediate level.

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) UK

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a UK based Chartered Accountancy qualification which has a more global value. It can be called as a global professional degree. ACCA is recognized as the world's largest association of accountants. In India, however, preference is given to CA holders. But that does not mean that ACCA qualification will not fetch you a job in India. MNCs are recruiting candidates with ACCA qualification.

What qualification is required to pursue ACCA?

In order to be eligible for ACCA, you need to have at least two A Levels and three GCSEs (including English and Mathematics). ACCA offers exemptions too for students with higher qualifications. If you hold an Indian bachelors degree or Masters degree (if relevant), you are exempted from first four papers. On the other hand, if you hold a UK degree, you are expected from nine papers. Exemptions provided depends upon the other relevant qualifications you have. If you have plans of doing ACCA, you can start after completing Grade XII. If you wait for completing your graduation, then you will be eligible for exemptions.

CA or ACCA, which is considered to be the best?

Frankly speaking, it is a difficult question to answer. Both are professional qualifications and both are equally good. These two courses are offered by two different countries, hence a proper comparison is not possible. One need to consider various factors before arriving at a conclusion as the course you choose is going to change your life and future. A good homework has to be done before finalizing the course. This helps you to understand what exactly you want to do and analyze your abilities, interests, and potentials and based on that you can arrive at a conclusion. Let us go into the details and learn the main difference or advantages of one over the other.

Is CA or ACCA tough?

To start with, the first question you will have in mind is which is the toughest one? Of course, CA exam is comparatively tougher than ACCA. The success rate is more for ACCA when compared to CA and this proves ACCA is a bit easier and flexible I would say. The pass percentage is more for ACCA. Now it is your call.

What is the subjects for CA and ACCA?

First, know your subjects before taking a decision. It is advisable to go through the syllabus for both the courses and choose the one which you find interesting. Every person has different interests and abilities, some subjects might be your favorite and you might feel that you can excel in those. So accordingly go through the topics of study and choose the one that best suits you. Understand that as it is a professional course, it wouldn't be an easy task to clear all the papers, so make sure you chose the course which is easy for you as some people drop it middle way and will later regret in life. Don't be a victim to that.

Subjects for ACCA
Foundation Level:
  • F1 AB Accountant in Business
  • F2 MA Management Accounting
  • F3 FA Financial Accounting
  • F4 CL Corporate and Business Law
  • F5 PM Performance Management
  • F6 TX Taxation
  • F7 FR Financial Reporting
  • F8 AA Audit & Assurance
  • F9 FM Financial Management


Professional Level:
  • P1 GR&E Governance, Risk and Ethics
  • P2 CR Corporate Reporting (UK or International)
  • P3 BA Business Analysis
  • P4 AFM Advanced Financial Management
  • P5 APM Advanced Performance Management
  • P6 ATX Advanced Taxation
  • P7 AAA Advanced Audit & Assurance (UK or International)


Subjects for CA, India
For CPT:
  • Paper I: Principles and Practices of Accounting
  • Paper 2: Mercantile Law & General English
  • Paper 3: Business Mathematics and Logical Reasoning & Statistics
  • Paper 4: Business Economics & Business and Commercial Knowledge


For IPCC:
Group I
  • Paper 1: Accounting
  • Paper 2: Corporate Laws & Other Laws
  • Paper 3: Cost and Management Accounting
  • Paper 4: Taxation


Group II
  • Paper 5: Advanced Accounting
  • Paper 6: Auditing and Assurance
  • Paper 7: Enterprise Information System & Strategic Management
  • Paper 8: Financial Management & Economics for Finance


For CA Final:
Group I
  • Paper 1: Financial Reporting
  • Paper 2: Strategic Financial Management
  • Paper 3: Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics
  • Paper 4: Corporate Laws and other Economic Laws


Group II
  • Paper 5: Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation
  • Paper 6: Elective Paper


(Options)
  • Risk Management
  • International Taxation
  • Economic Laws
  • Financial Services & Capital Markets
  • Global Financial Reporting Standards
  • Multidisciplinary Case Study
  • Paper 7: Direct Tax Laws & International Taxation
  • Paper 8: Advanced Indirect Tax Laws


What do you want to work as and where?

This is an important question which has an impact on your career. So try to answer this question yourself. If you are intending to practice as a Chartered Accountant in India or is planning to work for an Indian firm, you should choose CA. On the other hand, if you are aiming for a job abroad, then definitely you can go for ACCA as it has more of a global value. Also if are you aiming at MNCs, then ACCA provides an additional knowledge of knowing the UK GAAP. This gives you the advantage to work for MNCs as if the headquarters is based in the UK, definitely, they will have to follow UK GAAP. As CA is an Indian professional course, it will give more importance to Indian Accounting Standards. Indian firms working for abroad clients also need to know UK GAAP. ACCA does not provide signing authorities in India, hence if interested in auditing works, please opt CA.

Do you already have a degree? or Do you want an additional one?

Some candidates start professional qualifications soon after their schooling, hence won't have a graduation certificate. By doing ACCA you can get a degree at the same time. The Oxford Brookes University along with ACCA has designed the combination of a professional qualification with a degree. After clearing the fundamental papers in ACCA, that is F1 to F9, you will be eligible to get the certificate as a graduate, that is BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting. By completing ACCA, you also get the Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business certificate as well. By doing CA, you won't avail this benefit. So ACCA can be rightly called a two in one course.

CA or ACCA more flexible?

ACCA is definitely more flexible as you have four exams in a year and you have the option of attempting one paper at a time. Even if you fail for one paper, you can write that paper alone next time. This option lets you pursue this qualification while working as well. Whereas in CA, you need to clear all the papers in a Group to clear that particular group. Even if you have passed for two papers in a group and failed for the third one, you will have to write all the three papers again. So, which one do you think is more flexible?

What is the duration required to complete CA and ACCA?

For CA a minimum of five years is required whereas, for ACCA, you can complete within two years time.

Is total fee for CA more than ACCA?

No, if we take the total fee including training, ACCA seems to be more expensive than CA. ACCA is a UK qualification and CA is an Indian qualification.

Conclusion

My request to the students or aspirants is that please do not follow others or the crowd. Do a proper research and understand where you want to be in the future and figure our your targets and then accordingly choose the right course. It will definitely help you easily build your career path. Any course is good as long as you are comfortable and is interested and benefiting from it. Both CA and ACCA have more or less the same value, but it purely depends on each company whether to choose a CA or ACCA. Also, the value for both differs from country to country. Hence don't get confused and think one has more value than the other.


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