Are you planning to make a bright career in finance, accounting, auditing, and taxation? Then you need to have a commerce background. Most people aim for high-level jobs with just a bachelor’s degree. But that may not be possible. When you aim for high paying jobs at higher levels, then you will need a master’s degree or some extra qualification in this field of finance and accounting. You may come across many different courses, but ACCA and CA are the two most popular and sought out courses in India and also in many other countries.
Both ACCA and CA are tough and very challenging courses for the students. Achieving these two degrees is not going to be an easy job. But as both the courses are popular, it is not going to be an easy task to pick one course from these two. It is always good to check out more details about each course and then weigh their pros and cons based on your interests. This way you may be able to pick one good course that can help you grow in your career. But whatever you choose, remember that you need to work very hard to be successful.
What is ACCA?
ACCA or otherwise called as Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is one of the best programs for commerce students with an interest in taxation, finance, and accounting. This is a globally recognized course and it is popular in almost 180 countries across the globe. This is one of the largest associations of accounting in the world and it was started in 1904, in London. That means its presence is for more than 100 years now. Its main focus is on finance and accounting. You will be able to find more than 4 lakhs of students across the world who are part of this association. After completion of the ACCA program, you can start your career in an MNC or also at firms that have international clients. ACCA is very popular in countries like the UK, India, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and a few other countries.
What is CA?
CA also called Chartered Accountancy is one of the most popular courses for commerce students. There is a lot of demand for the students who complete the Chartered Accountancy course. This course is very popular only in India when compared to other countries across the globe. It was started first in 1944. To audit any kind of financial statements of any company, CA’s are the only persons with authority. They know a lot of things related to finance, auditing, taxation, accounting, and corporate law. There are many career options after you complete your CA course. But it is not going to be an easy task for most of the students to complete the CA course. The pass percentage is very low every year. It is a challenging course and you need to have a lot of knowledge about finance and accounting before you get enrolled in the course.
Now let u have a look at the eligibility criteria for admission in CA and ACCA course.
To get admission to the ACCA course, you should have completed your senior secondary education in first class. You should have Mathematics as one of your subjects. Or undergraduate students with commerce are also eligible. Along with this, you should also have work experience of at least three years to be part of ACCA.
For admission into CA, you should have passed your 10th standard. You should score 60 percent in Mathematics and 65 percent in English. If you are seeking admission after completion of 12th standard, then you should have 65 percent in English and Accounts as well. There is no requirement for any work experience to get admission in CA.
The course duration is different from both ACCA and CA programs. For ACCA, you will have to complete the course in three years span and also have the training of two to three years. But when it comes to CA, you need to complete the course in three years to five years span, with one extra year of training. CA is a very tough course and that is one of the main reasons why the duration of the CA course is more compared to ACCA. You will get extra time to complete the course.
Levels of both courses:
There are different levels in ACCA and CA programs. Just like the different semesters we have in other courses, we have levels in CA and ACCA.
In ACCA, there are two levels:
In CA, there are three levels:
- CA Foundation (CPT)
- CA Intermediate (IPCC)
- CA Final (FC)
You will be able to learn different things related to finance in different stages. As the stage increases, you will be able to go deeper into the subject.
Examination Pattern and Papers:
The number of papers that you need to attempt for CA and ACCA is different. Both the courses deal with accounting and financing, but that does not make them similar.
In ACCA, there are 14 papers in total. Nine among them 14 are related to the fundamental level and five are related to the professional level of the course. In the CA course, you will have to clear 20 papers. Four papers are related to the CA foundation level, eight papers are CA Intermediate level, and the rest eight papers are related to the CA final level.
It is very important to clear all the papers within the course duration that we have already discussed above. Usually, the pass percentage of CA is always in single-digit only and for ACCA, it is around 40 percent to 50 percent. That makes it very clear that CA is one of the toughest courses that you are going to take up if you are choosing it.
Another important factor that you need to know when talking about the key differences between ACCA and CA is articleship.
If you are planning to pursue ACCA, then there is no requirement for the articleship. But when you complete the course and want to be part of ACCA or a member of ACCA, then you will have to make sure that you are having at least three years of experience in the accounting and finance domain.
For CA, articleship is mandatory. You should have at least three years of articleship. You will have to do this under any experienced and practicing CA. You will receive all the guidelines for articleship from ICAI. That makes it easy for you to do your articleship.
Another important that many parents and students take into consideration while pursuing any course is the fee structure. Let us have a look at the fee structure for CA and ACCA courses.
For ACCA, the fee is somewhere between 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakhs and when it comes to CA, it is one lakh or even less than that. That means CA is going to cost you less if you are thinking too much about the course fee.
Pros of ACCA over CA:
Have a look at the advantages that you will be able to enjoy if you pursue ACCA:
- Most of the students dream about making a career in the international market. If you also want to work abroad then ACCA is a great choice. This course is popular in almost 180 countries across the globe, whereas CA is accepted just in India only.
- This is a flexible course that many students love to attempt. You will be able to take one exam at a time without any worries in ACCA. That gives you more scope to clear the exam. But when it comes to CA, you will have to attempt one group or level of exams at a time. If you don’t clear even one paper from that group, then you will have to reattempt all the papers from that particular group.
- You will be able to learn about international law as part of the course that gives you more scope for a career in foreign countries.
- The paper exemption is possible with ACCA, which may not be possible with CA. You can exempt a certain number of papers if you are having a BCOM, MCOM, or CA degree. If you have cleared your CA final, then you will have to give just four papers and you will be able to complete your ACCA program.
- You can complete the course in two to three years and that will help you in starting your career faster than you can expect.
- The pass percentage of ACCA is at least 40 percent to 50 percent every year and that means this course is easy when compared to CA program. You will be able to clean all the exams faster.
Pros of CA over ACCA:
Have a look at the advantages that you will be able to enjoy if you pursue CA:
- It is perfect for those who wish to make a good career in India only. You will have a lot of job offers from Indian companies.
- When comparing ACCA and CA, CA is based more on Indian law, whereas ACCA is more on global law. So, if you wish to make a career in India, then do not go for ACCA. CA is a great choice.
- There is a lot of demand for CA professionals and as the pass percentage is very low every year if you can clear all the exams, then you will be able to find yourself in a very good position.
- Chartered Accountant is one of the most respected professions in India. You will become a master in many aspects related to accounting, taxation, finance, audits, and other things.
- Even when it comes to the fee structure, it does not cost you too high like the ACCA program. CA can be completed with one lakh amount.
When it comes to career opportunities, both are two different courses and hence the job offers will differ. If you are completing your CA, then you will be able to make a career just in India as this course is not recognized well in other parts of the world. In India, ACCA certified professionals will have fewer job opportunities compared to CA. That is due to the signing authority. A CA holder can sign the audit report, which is not authorized to an ACCA holder.
But an ACCA certified professional will be able to find a job in any country as it is internationally recognized. You will know CA and also the UK law, IFRS and FAAP as well. That makes you unique and highly in demand.
Which is better for you – ACCA or CA?
If you look at all the information provided so far, then you will understand that each course has its characteristics. That is one of the main reasons why these two are the most popular courses for commerce and finance students. But when it comes to choosing between these two courses, you will have to ask yourself.
Like we already discussed, CA is going to be a bit tough than the ACCA course. That is due to its course structure and exam structure as well. You will have to clear a group of exams at a time, otherwise, you will have to reattempt the entire group. This can be very time taking and you also have a time limit for the completion of the course.
The subjects of both courses are tough, but with ACCA you can attempt one exam at a time and that makes it a bit easy. All you need to do is think about the career you wish to have for yourself in the future. You can go for ACCA even after completion of CA.
So, now you will have to make your call and take the right decision. It is about your life and your career, and hence it should you and only you who should make the choice. Consider all the pros and cons of each and pick one between CA and ACCA.
Rahul Kumar is a passionate educator, writer, and subject matter expert in the field of education and professional development. As an author on CoursesXpert, Rahul Kumar’s articles cover a wide range of topics, from various courses, educational and career guidance.