Broad parameters of difference are as follows:
a) Pass Rate: CA pass rate is usually low i.e. between 5 to 10%, ACCA and CIMA Pass Rates are on an average between 50 to 60% and CFA pass rate is not fixed but top 40-45% students are able to pass in every attempt.
b) Focus: CA and ACCA are primarily Accounting Qualifications having more focus of Accounting, Taxation and Audit. CFA is a hard core Finance qualification. While CIMA is a qualification having equivalent focus on Accounting, Finance and Management. That is why CIMA is called as combination of CA and MBA – best of both the Worlds.
c) Duration: CA takes on an average 5-6 years, ACCA can take from 1-3 years depending upon exemptions, CFA takes around 2-3 years to complete 3 levels and CIMA takes between 1.5-2.5 to complete exams depending upon prior qualification.
d) Group System: Apart from CA, there is no group system anywhere in ACCA, CIMA or CFA.
e) Job Prospects: CA has immense job prospects in India, CIMA and ACCA job prospects are increasing because of KPOs in India. CFA job prospects are also good.
f) Value: In CA, we have value only after completing CA while in case of CIMA, ACCA and CFA, we have value after each level.
g) Costing: Costing for CA is around 3-4L, while for ACCA, it is around 1.9-4L depending upon exemptions. CFA costing is around 3-4L and CIMA costing is between 2.5-4.5L. Note that costing includes training/coaching as well.
h) Eligibility: Students can enter into CIMA or ACCA after 10th as well. While in CA, you must be a 12th standard pass out and in CFA, you must be a Graduate. Candidates in Final year of Graduation can apply for CFA exams.
i) Training/Experience Requirement: All these qualifications require Training/Practical Experience Requirement(PER). CA, ACCA and CIMA has 3 year Training/PER and CFA has 4 year experience requirement to become a member. In CA, our 3 year articleship experience is not counted for Professional Career, we are considered as fresher after qualifying CA. While in CIMA, ACCA and CFA, it is counted from the day one.