A detailed overview of the ACCA program
A global career in Accountancy ranks high on everyone’s mind these days. It is definitely a smart move to choose a career which prepares for senior level roles not only in India but across the world. So, for those who have an inclination towards financial accountancy, taxation, audit, internal audit and pricing, “Chartered Certified Accountant” is one qualification worth considering. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a UK-based body which offers this global certification in Accountancy. ACCA is recognized in over 78 markets and has more than 80 international accountancy body partnerships. Not only this, ACCA professionals also get preferential immigration status to Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Ireland etc.
What’s most appealing about this course is its flexibility. You don’t have to be a Chartered Accountant (CA) to pursue this course. In fact you can start right after 10+2. Owing to its highly professional standards, the ACCA exam is challenging. However, when compared with the US CPA, it is quite easier to handle. The pass rate for ACCA is around 50%, which is much higher than the Indian CA pass rates at 4%-5%.
The entire curriculum of the ACCA is spread over three levels: Knowledge, Skills and Professional. Let’s find out the structure of each level in details:
Fundamental Knowledge: Completion of levels from F1-F3 along with Foundation in Professional Ethics module helps you to earn Diploma in Accounting & Business. These courses include Business Accounting, Management and Financial Accounting. Strengthening your fundamental knowledge will prepare you for the more advanced subjects in the Professional level exams.
Fundamental Skills: The subjects included in the levels (F4-F9) is more tuned towards honing the skills in Financial Accounting, Audit and Taxation. After the completion of all these 9 subjects along with the Professional ethics module, you can earn an Advanced Diploma in Accounting & Business. In case you are more inclined towards Research & Analysis, you also have the option of submitting a project and earning a BSc. In Applied Accounting by Oxford Brookes University.
Professional Essentials and Options: The Professional Essentials (P1-P3) graduates to advanced levels of Financial Analysis and Corporate Governance. There is also an optional segment in the Professional level (P4-P7) which has specializations in Financial Management, Performance Management, Audit & T axation. Any two out of these four can be opted for.
The certification acquired at this level is Professional Level Certificate & ACCA Affiliate Status. 36 months’ of relevant work experience before, during, or after the course, coupled with the completion of these 14 papers makes you eligible for ACCA professional membership.
Eligibility and Exemption
You can start for ACCA right after passing your 12th exams. If you are from the commerce background or have a prior degree in accountancy, you are exempt from few papers at the Fundamental level. No exemptions are allowed at the Professional level.
**Candidates who have completed 12th from Commerce stream (pass in 5 subjects including English and Mathematics/ Accounts, with a minimum 65% marks in at least 2 subjects and over 50% marks in others)
- Examinations are held 4 times in a year i.e. March, June, September & December. However, the papers from F1 to F4 can be taken online around the year at ACCA’s Authorized Computer Based Exam centres.
- Most exams are of a 2 to 3 hours duration based on the paper and the subject.
- Most exams have a mix of multiple choice questions and MTQs (Multi-Task Questions), which are a bit like cases.
Practical Experience and Practice Certificate:
- In addition to clearing the exams and completing the Ethics module, to become an ACCA you need to have 3 years of relevant work experience.
- The ACCA dictates certain performance objectives that you need to attain. Once you fulfil the work experience criteria set by the ACCA, only then will you receive the practical certificate.
The fee break up to pursue ACCA Qualification is: A candidate must pay an Initial Registration fee of £79 pounds & Annual Subscription of £95 and examination fees per paper
With the presence of many financial KPOs in India, India has become a major outsourcing hub for accounting and financial functions and ACCA qualified professionals are preferred by the employers for handling these functions. To find out more on the skill sets required for ACCA members, please read our post: Skills Required for ACCA students.