“Obtaining an internationally recognized professional qualification such as ACCA creates tremendous opportunities worldwide, enabling you to progress your career and rise to the top.” – Rosanna Choi, Partner at CWCC.
ACCA is one of the top accounting qualifications in the world and is known to be important for a variety of reasons. Check out the following article to know all about the ACCA course.
What is ACCA?
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a professional body for accountants that is based in the UK. It is one of the foremost accountancy organizations worldwide, and has over 200,000 members and 500,000 students.
After successfully passing the set of exams, you can have a prosperous career in accounting or finance. The ACCA qualification is highly sought after in management, banking and consulting fields. Once you are ACCA qualified, you have to pay $408 CAD for registration and annual subscription each (ACCA Global).
There are three main components of ACCA as discussed below:
- Exams: you have to take 14 exams to pass the course, but there are certain exemptions that you could apply for. These ACCA exemptions depend on your qualifications.
- Work Experience: In order to qualify to be an ACCA member, you also need to have at least 36 months of pertinent work experience.
- Ethics: this is an additional facet of the ACCA course. You have to study and pass the Professional Ethics module to qualify.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, banking or finance then you should apply to ACCA to become a member. While applying, you need to produce supporting documents such as:
- Qualification proof such as certificates and transcripts;
- Identity proof such as driver license or passport;
- Passport photographs.
Another prerequisite of applying to ACCA is that you should have graduated from secondary school having studied at least five subjects, which needs to include mathematics and English.
Once you register with ACCA after paying the $137 CAD registration fee, you will be provided with study materials and learning aids to help you study for the exams. These study materials include:
- Study tips and hacks;
- ACCA syllabus guide;
- ACCA papers and articles with respect to important subjects and modules;
- A mobile app that provides key learning points and helps in planning your studies;
- ACCA past papers.
Once registered, you can also access the ACCA learning community. This platform allows you to connect with students and experts across the world, which can help you to obtain advice and knowledge.
ACCA also provides you with opportunities for opting for tuition to study for the exams. This can be carried out in two ways, as explained below:
- Online Learning: you can opt for the online learning program which is more popularly known as ACCA-X. The ACCA modules here are delivered by qualified digital instructors.
- Authorized Training Partners: even though there are multiple ACCA training centres present, you should only approach an authorized training centre. This is because these training centres are guided by ACCA on how to support and tutor you effectively. These authorized training partners also are provided with exclusive access to ACCA resources.
ACCA has foundation-level and fundamental-level exams. The exam fees for the foundation-level exam is $135 CAD. The ACCA exam fees for the fundamental-level is approximately $537 CAD.
ACCA has computer-based exams (CBE) and you get the results immediately upon completion. These exams can be taken in over 400 licensed computer-based exam (CBE) centres across 170 countries. ACCA exam dates are not fixed, but they are always held in March, June, September and December.
What is the syllabus for ACCA?
The ACCA syllabus consists of 14 papers that are categorized into four groups and a further three levels.
The three papers that you will have to study as part of the knowledge level are:
- AB: Accountant in Business;
- MA: Management Accounting;
- FA: Financial Accounting.
The skill level consists of six papers, including:
- CL: Corporate and Business Law;
- PM: Performance Management;
- TX: Taxation;
- FR: Financial Reporting (UK or International);
- AA: Audit & Assurance (UK or International);
- FM: Financial Management.
The essentials level has three papers, which are:
- GR&E: Governance, Risk and Ethics;
- CR: Corporate Reporting (UK or International);
- BA: Business Analysis.
In this group, you have to opt for two papers from a total of four. The options available to you are:
- AFM: Advanced Financial Management;
- APM: Advanced Performance Management;
- ATX: Advanced Taxation;
- AAA: Advanced Audit & Assurance (UK or International).
Why is ACCA important?
ACCA is considered to be one of the most important and lucrative certifications to do in the world. This is due to a multitude of reasons which are:
- Opportunity to work anywhere in the world: being an ACCA member opens up great avenues for you to work across the world. The ACCA Careers Job Board assists you in searching and applying for jobs. Additionally, ACCA is partnered with more than 80 accounting firms and 7500 approved employers worldwide.
- Forge your own path: the ACCA qualification is extremely flexible as it gives you the option of studying full-time or part-time with authorized training centres, ACCA-X or self-study. Such flexible planning assists you in preparing for your future in the way you wish.
ACCA also gives you the opportunity to get additional degrees in the form of:
- B.Sc. in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University;
- M.Sc. in Professional Accountancy from the University of London.
- Excellent support: If you are studying to be an ACCA member or you are already one, you can be guaranteed to get support from the organization. ACCA has a 24-hour service helpline, which answers your questions and gives advice. You also have the freedom of accessing materials that are present on the website.
- Access to a global network: becoming an ACCA member opens up a world of opportunities for you. You can interact with other students on ACCA’s digital learning community and you get to meet key contacts that provide you with networking opportunities. Also, you are added to the ACCA global LinkedIn network that connects you with like-minded people across the globe.
Five reasons to choose the ACCA qualification:
- Comprehensive: Accountant qualifications such as ACCA help you in grasping skills that are necessary for a chartered accountant to possess. The syllabus includes wide-ranging topics such as corporate and business law, financial accounting, taxation, business analysis and risk and ethics. These varied topics are chosen to ensure you master a variety of technical and management skills.
- Cost-effective: this qualification is a cost-effective method for you to acquire knowledge and learn technical skills and professionalism. ACCA also helps you gain competence in the fields of strategic and organizational Overall, it helps in improving your career prospects.
- Compliance with international standards: the modules taught in ACCA are in accordance with the international auditing and accounting standards. These standards are prerequisites in most organizations worldwide, which will help you in obtaining jobs.
- Demand for ACCA members: corporations are always on the lookout for professionals who can assess and recommend business solutions. ACCA equips its members with these requisite skills, thereby increasing the demand for them.
- Real-time experience: A key aspect of becoming an ACCA member is that you must possess at least three years of work experience. This ensures that you are the perfect package after becoming a member.
Career options post ACCA membership
Nowadays, it is just not good enough to have an ACCA certificate, you need to have multiple qualifications.
Before deciding what you want to do post ACCA, you should ask yourself three questions:
- Where do you see yourself after 10 years? Do you want to be an auditor in MNC’s or in the big four accounting firms (Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG)? Or run your own firm?
- Do you want to work in a core finance job or do you wish to work in diverse fields?
- Do you want to do anything apart from finance, such as management or law?
After pondering over the above questions, you have the following options to choose from:
- Opt for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification: doing CFA after ACCA will firmly establish your career in finance. This could help you land jobs with the big four or any other top MNC’s. Getting this qualification should be easy for you as you already are an ACCA member.
- Setup your own firm: being an ACCA member will give you the encouragement to set up your own business. You could start a finance or consultancy firm and provide advice to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).
- MBA degree: having an MBA along with being an ACCA member will put you on the shortlist of major corporations. Completing an MBA will increase your career prospects greatly, eventually resulting you in receiving high salary packages.
- Law degree: an ACCA qualification gives you a grounding in corporate and business law. However, if you want to practice law after becoming an ACCA member, you need to obtain a law degree. Having a qualification in accounting and finance and holding a law degree will make you a force to reckon with. It will also give you an edge over other people who are applying for the same job as you.
If you are interested in the ACCA qualification, the Toronto School of Management (TSoM) offers a program for the same.