If you’re a graduate, post-graduate or you have a professional qualification, there’s good news ahead. You may not have to take all the exams within the ACCA course structure.

While there are 13 papers across three levels, you could be excused from appearing for one or more papers. To save your valuable time and effort, the course offers exemptions to students with relevant degrees from recognised colleges. If your previous course has already covered some of the topics in the syllabus, you don’t need to repeat them. 

Please note that the board doesn’t take the exemptions lightly. They have a meticulous process to review each potential candidate. They access the academic institution, syllabus and assessments to gauge the level of proficiency of the students. 

If they are satisfied with your application, you qualify for an exemption. Either from the Knowledge module (F1, F2, F3) or the Skills module (F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9), or even both depending on your degree. However, there are no exemptions for the ACCA Professional level

How to apply?

Visit the official ACCA website to register. If you are unsure of your eligibility, you can try their exemptions calculator to figure out the exact details. They don’t accept documents online so you have to mail your identification documents along with original, authorized mark sheets, transcripts and certifications. 

Submit all the paperwork that proves you are qualified in the course subjects. If the board approves your application, you will have to pay a fee within 30 days. The cost is calculated per paper and the details are given on the website. Once that is cleared, you are exempt from the exams and can focus on the remaining ACCA subjects.

Who can apply?

Below is the criteria for exemption eligibility: 

1. If you have a BBA degree

With this qualification, you can drop one paper out of 13. 

  • Business and technology (F1 paper)

2. If you have a commerce degree — Bachelors or Masters

Since you have already covered the foundation course subjects while working for your degree, you are exempted from four papers: three from the foundation or knowledge level and one from the skills level.

Papers from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper) 
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Papers from the Skills module: 

  • Corporate and business law (F4 paper)

3. If you have an MBA degree

You are eligible to skip the first three papers at the knowledge level. You will be required to sit for all the exams in the other two modules. 

Papers from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper) 
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Read: Which is Better – ACCA or MBA?

ACCA exemptions for CA

There are a number of exemptions for different levels of the CA certification

4. If you are a fully certified CA

You get exempted from nine papers and the first two levels of the course. You only have to sit for the Professional level exams. 

Papers from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper)
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Papers from the Skills module:

  • Corporate and business law (F4 paper)
  • Performance management (F5 paper)
  • Taxation (F6 paper)
  • Financial reporting (F7 paper)
  • Audit and assurance (F8 paper)
  • Financial management (F9 paper) 

5. If you are at the CA IPCC level

If you’ve completed the second level of the CA certificate, you are eligible to skip five papers — three from the knowledge level and two from the Skills level.

Papers exempted from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper)
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Papers from the Skills module:

  • Taxation (F6 paper)
  • Audit and assurance (F8 paper)

6. If you are CMA certified

As a CMA-qualified professional, you can drop seven papers across the first two ACCA levels.

Papers exempted from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper)
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Papers from the Skills module:

  • Corporate and business law (F4 paper)
  • Performance management (F5 paper)
  • Audit and assurance (F8 paper)
  • Financial management (F9 paper)

7. If you have a BMS degree in Finance

If you have a bachelor’s degree in management studies, you qualify to skip the first four papers in the course. 

Papers from the Knowledge module:

  • Business and technology (F1 paper)
  • Management accounting (F2 paper)
  • Financial accounting (F3 paper)

Papers from the Skills module:

  • Corporate and business law (F4 paper)

Who doesn’t qualify?

  • If you’ve only passed 10+2 exams 
  • You’re still studying at the CA foundation level
  • If you’ve received your degree or certification more than five years ago 
  • If the ACCA board doesn’t recognise your academic institution
  • Your previous course didn’t cover all the material at the foundation or skills level
  • You have work experience but no academic qualification in accountancy 

Read: 5 Most Trending Career Profiles in Finance

In conclusion

The full course is designed for undergraduate students who do not have a foundation in accountancy. If you have covered the subject material in your other courses, you don’t have to learn the foundation topics a second time. Just file for an exemption and move on to the next level. Fewer papers can mean you can manage your limited time more effectively, especially if you are employed full time while studying for the exam. It’s convenient and efficient for those who are in a hurry to qualify for the ACCA certificate and get started on their careers. If that’s you, head on to the official website and find out if you’re eligible. 

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