Details of the ACCA program

The ACCA program is a globally recognized accountancy course that gives you an additional edge over regular finance graduates. Following is the curriculum of ACCA –

Exams / Subjects:

There are 14 exams in 14 subjects covering different topics in financial and management accounting.
The exams are split into 2 levels – Fundamental and Professional, which are the basics and advanced levels of accounting respectively.

  • Fundamentals Knowledge
    o F1 Accountant in Business
    o F2 Management Accounting
    o F3 Financial Accounting
  • Fundamentals Skills
    o F4 Corporate and Business Law
    o F5 Performance Management
    o F6 Taxation
    o F7 Financial Reporting
    o F8 Audit and Assurance
    o F9 Financial Management
  • Professional Essentials
    o P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics
    o P2 Corporate Reporting
    o P3 Business Analysis
  • Professional Options (two of the 4 below need to be completed)
    o P4 Advanced Financial Management
    o P5 Advanced Performance Management
    o P6 Advanced Taxation
    o P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance

Apart from the above, candidates are also required to appear for a Professional Ethics module. As discussed earlier, exemptions in some subjects can be availed if you meet certain education parameters.

Exam format:

All exams are offered as a paper test and a few exams are also offered as a computer based test
o Knowledge (F1-F3) – available by computer-based exams (CBE) or paper-based format
o Skills (F4-F9) – available by paper-based format
o Essentials (P1-P3) – available by paper-based format
o Options (P4-P7) – available by paper-based format

  • Most exams are of a 2 hour duration
  • Most exams have a mix of multiple choice questions and MTQs (Multi-Task Questions), which are a bit like cases
  • The ACCA has around 400 exam centers across the globe, including several within India

Exam difficulty level: The ACCA exam is challenging, however when compared with the US CPA, it seems a tad easier to handle

  • Although there are more papers, there are also more exemptions compared to US CPA
  • Pass rates:
    o Knowledge level pass rates are fairly high at 60-80%
    o Skills levels pass rates are 40-50%
    o Professional Essentials pass rates are also 40-50%
    o Professional Options pass rates are somewhat low at 30-40%

Exam dates:

  • Once you register, you have a 10 year timeframe in which to complete all 14 exams
  • There are 2 exam cycles / seasons in a year
    o Feb to July
    o Aug to Jan
  • Paper based exams are offered in June and December while computer based exams are flexible
  • One can appear for maximum 4 exams per cycle
  • Exams must be appeared for in the order of the module they are under. Within the module, you can take the exams in any order
    o For example, you cannot take F4 before F3. You can, however take F3 before F2 or F1 because they are part of the same module
    o It is recommended though that candidates follow the given order from F1 to P7 for better comprehension and results

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
  • In order to be able to be globally practicing ACCA member, you have to undergo a Practicing Certificate Training Record (PCTR) in addition to having the practical experience. More details on this are available on the ACCA website

Fees (please refer to website for latest fees):

Assuming you don’t pay late and clear all exams in the first attempt, the total cost will be ~GBP 1,300 or INR 1.25 L

  • Knowledge level: GBP 71 to GBP 231 per exam (depending on whether you register early or late)
  • Skills level: GBP 90 to GBP 252 per exam (depending on whether you register early or late)
  • Professional level: GBP 104 to GBP 268 per exam (depending on whether you register early or late)