If you want to mark your career in the Global Accounting profession, you will be thinking of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or Certified Public Accountant. Both of them offer professional certification on Global Accountancy as the ACCA is more in the lines with the UK’s rules and regulations while CPA is of the USA.
ACCA, founded in 1904, in the United Kingdom, ACCA, is the oldest global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification. For CPA Exams, there is no centralized body. The license is granted by the 55 states of the United States. Because of the same, each state has a slightly different exam pattern.
Both professions are highly respected but come with certain differences. Here are the top 5 distinguishing factors of both the courses.
CPA: Minimum 4-year bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree to fulfill the 150 credit hours. It is equivalent to 5 Years in higher education.
ACCA: You should have 3 GCSEs and 2 A-Levels in 5 separate subjects, including Math and English. Most of the high school graduates find it easy to qualify. Also, if you have a bachelor’s degree in relevant subjects, you can avail the exemption benefit on part or all the papers at the fundamental level.
2. Study Material Support
CPA: The state board provides no study material. Candidate has to take the commercial review of the course and prepare for the exam on their own.
ACCA: Once you’re registered for the exam, ACCA helps the candidate with the study guides and sample paper. Along with it, they also authorize the ACCA Approved Learning Partners.
4. Exam Syllabus
CPA: It is a computer-based online exam comprised of MCQs. The exam has four parts:
- Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
- Audit & Attestation (AUD),
- Regulation (REG)
- Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)
There are total of 14 subjects available at three different levels:
|Knowledge Level||Skills Level||Professional Level|
|Accountant in Business||Corporate and Business Law||Strategic Business Reporting|
|Management Accounting||Performance Management||Strategic Business Leader.|
|Financial Accounting||Taxation||Advanced Financial Management|
|Financial Reporting||Advanced Performance Management|
|Audit and Assurance||Advances Taxation|
|Financial Management.||Advance Audit and Assurance|
An individual can also avail certain exemptions on the basis of their graduation level.
5. Time Required to Pass
Mostly candidates aim to clear the exam within 12 to 18 months.
It requires 3 to 4 years for the candidates to complete all papers and become an ACCA member.
Below is a summary of the few differences that’ll help you to decide which course you should opt for as per your requirements.
|Basis of Difference||ACCA||CPA|
|Recognition||Recognized in US and anywhere with US regional offices||Recognized in UK and commonwealth countries|
|Body||55 jurisdictions; complicated||One single entity; simple application|
|Entry||High entry barrier: master’s level||Low entry barrier: post-secondary|
|Time to appear||Exam offered in 10 months||Exam offered 4 times a year only|
|Exam Test Centers||US + 6 countries||170+ countries|
|Exam Modules||4 parts||14 papers|
|Time to Complete||12-18 months||3-4 years|
There are various Chartered Accountant Degrees across the globe, and comparing them on the same level would be not an accurate measure.
Both the professional degrees are based out of different countries, and in general, the chartered accountant degree is more country-specific. Hence, you need to look after your requirements and decide which field you should choose.