ACCA vs MBA. Isn’t it so enthralling that our entire life is all about making the right choices? So, it is key that we also do not miss out on the small but very important things while arriving at a decision to choose the correct option. Hence, if you are confused between whether to opt for ACCA certification or complete your MBA, then have a look at this quick guide that can help you to come out of this academic dilemma.

What is ACCA?

Let us first look at what ACCA is all about. So, you should know that it is a highly prestigious qualification offered by a global professional accounting body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The body was founded in 1904 to help aspiring finance professionals in building advanced accounting skills by honing their capabilities and knowledge. It is a widely recognized multi-tier certification program which is principally focused on knowledge areas pertaining to accountancy, taxation, and auditing that can eventually provide a great launching pad for the careers of the accounting professionals. The ACCA professionals are guided by a set of rules in order to uphold its reputation and influence in the professional world.

Why should one pursue ACCA?

You might be wondering what are the benefits of being an ACCA professional. Well, an ACCA professional is part of a huge global family of skilled professionals that includes more than 208,000 members and 503,000 students spread across 179 countries. Further, it opens up global work opportunities for students as well as professionals as the body can connect you to more than 7,400 approved employers and 80 accountancy partners worldwide. So, if you are interested in obtaining specialized knowledge of finance and accounting, then I think ACCA can be a good option for you. The course curriculum covers accounting, taxation, and auditing along with other critical knowledge areas that include financial management, business studies, law, financial reporting, and ethical & professional standards.

What is MBA?

Oh, MBA! It has been one of the most popular degrees for the last decade or so. So, almost everybody knows that an MBA is a master’s degree in business administration that prepares you in the field of business. While most business schools offer a two-year course, some of them offer a one-year course for the experienced professionals, but all intend to prepare you for management and strategic position in any organization by offering you a holistic knowledge in the field of accounting, marketing, finance, and human resources. Apart from the regular full-time MBA course, it is also available as part-time and distance learning courses, with each having its own way of preparing you for the industry.

Why should one pursue an MBA?

Most of the people are fascinated by the glamorous life of MBAs portrayed in movies and TV series, one should understand that it is true to some extent as an MBA degree teaches important business skills that can catapult you up the corporate ladder. Although getting into a reputed business school and then the rigorous course structure can be really taxing, but it is worth the pain because an MBA degree will help you to excel in the managerial roles. An MBA course is exceptionally broad as the syllabus touches upon all the various aspects (although not in great detail) of a general business set-up so that by the end of the course you become ready for the industry.

Differences between acca and mba

Now, let us look at some of the basic differences between an ACCA certification and an MBA degree:

Organizing body: The certification of ACCA can only be issued by the global body of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. On the other hand, an MBA degree is offered by any business school which is affiliated to a Government recognized University.

Duration of course: The choice of pursuing either a certification from ACCA or a degree in MBA really depends on what is it you want as your career path. An ACCA certification will require you to clear 14 professional examinations coupled with three years of supervised accountancy experience, which means it will indeed take quite a bit time to complete. On the other hand, once you have successfully enrolled with a good business school, your full-time MBA program will be completed in a span of one to two years depending on your choice of business school.

Modus operandi: An ACCA certification will provide you specialized expertise in the field of finance and accounting, while an MBA course will provide you a more holistic overview of how an organization functions. The MBA curriculum features a lot of case studies, group activities and reports preparation coupled with the coursework which is intended to get you equipped with the necessary tools that will be required to handle business situations.

Cost: An ACCA certification will cost you somewhere around £850, while a degree of MBA from a good business school can cost you in excess of $65,000. So, MBA is a much costlier option than ACCA, which again brings me to the same question – what is it you want as your career? Please ensure that the cost doesn’t become the primary driver of your decision (although inadvertently it will be to some extent)

Job opportunities: Some of the job profiles that you can land after completing ACCA certification includes Accountant, Internal Auditor, Tax Management, Finance Manager and Financial Consultant. On the other hand, after your MBA degree, you will be fit for mid-management roles leading up to leadership position in different industries.

Conclusion

So, it can be said that an ACCA certification will help you get jobs pertaining to finance and accounting, while an MBA from a top school will help you to get a managerial position in an organization. Both have their pros and cons, but it is up to you to decide which career you want to pursue – ACCA will provide you more of a specialized skill set, whereas MBA will give you a broader skill set to handle the overall business. I hope this article will help you to decide your career path.