ACCA vs CA: The Ultimate Breakdown of Fees, Duration, Difficulty, and Salary

ACCA vs CA blog cover

ACCA vs CA :

Aspiring students often need help deciding which qualifications to pursue to advance their careers in the dynamic financial and accounting sectors.

Indian Chartered Accountancy (CA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) are prestigious qualifications in the financial world. While CA has a very strong Indian presence & recognition, ACCA has a very strong global presence. Choosing between ACCA and CA becomes a pivotal decision during a person’s professional journey.

To know more, check out the video below:

Overview

ACCA

ACCA is a professional qualification focusing on accounting, finance, and business management. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a UK-based professional body headquartered in London. ACCA is recognised globally, having 247,000 members and 526,000 students in more than 181 countries.

CA

CA (Chartered Accountant): Nationally recognised qualification controlled by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), with over 3.93 lac active members.

Job Roles: Unveiling the Destinations

ACCA

ACCA’s broad curriculum opens doors to many roles across accounting, finance, and business. You could work in

  • Accounting
  • Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Internal & Statutory Auditing
  • International Tax
  • Advisory
  • Management Consulting
  • Risk
  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • ESG Consulting and many more.

The versatility of ACCA empowers you to explore diverse paths, choosing the one that resonates with your unique strengths and interests. The average salary for a fresher ACCA professional is 6 to 7 lacs.

ACCA vs CA

CA

CA (India): Offers thorough expertise in Indian financial regulations, making you a valuable asset for roles such as –

  • Statutory & Internal Auditor
  • Tax Auditor
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Finance Controller/Head of Finance
  • Cost Accountant
  • Investment Banker
  • Financial Analyst and many more.

The prestige associated with the CA makes you a highly sought-after professional in the competitive world of finance. The average salary for a fresher CA is 8 to 10 lacs.

Eligibility

ACCA

ACCA offers flexible entry points –

  • After Grade 10/ 12: Start your journey early with foundation-level courses.
  • Graduation (B.Com/M.Com): Build upon your existing knowledge with exemptions based on your degree.
  • CA Inter/Final: Leverage your CA studies for even more exemptions (up to 9 Exemptions)
  • After CMA: Up to 9 Exemptions

Completing the ACCA exams typically takes 2.5-3 years, depending on your study pace and prior qualifications.

CA

CA (India): Requires passing the rigorous Chartered Accountancy Foundation Course entrance exam.

To qualify for the CA Foundation, students must pass class 12 from a recognised school with a minimum of 50%.

For CA Intermediate Eligibility, students must pass the Foundation exam and their bachelor’s degree. Students taking the Direct Entry route must complete graduation, and the entry point will be CA Intermediate.

Completing the CA exams typically takes around 5 years.

Subjects & Syllabus

ACCA Subjects

Knowledge Level

  1. Business and Technology (BT)
  2. Management Accounting (MA)
  3. Financial Accounting (FA)

Skill Level

  1. Corporate and Business Law (LW)
  2. Performance Management (PM)
  3. Taxation (TX)
  4. Financial Reporting (FR)
  5. Audit and Assurance (AA)
  6. Financial Management (FM)

Professional Level

Essential Papers

  1. Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  2. Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

Optional Papers (any 2)

  1. Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
  2. Advanced Performance Management (APM)
  3. Advanced Taxation (ATX)
  4. Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)

CA Subjects

CA exam is divided into three levels,
1. Foundation:

  • Paper 1: Accounting
  • Paper 2: Business Laws
  • Paper 3: Quantitative Aptitude
  • Paper 4: Business Economics

2. Intermediate:
Group 1:

  • Paper 1: Advanced Accounting
  • Paper 2: Corporate and Other Laws (Part 1 & 2)
  • Paper 3 (A&B): Taxation: Income-tax law, Taxation: Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Group 2:

  • Paper 4: Cost and Management Accounting
  • Paper 5: Auditing and Ethics
  • Paper 6 (A): Financial Management
  • Paper 6 (B): Strategic Management

3. FINAL COURSE
Group 1:

  • Paper 1: Financial Reporting
  • Paper 2: Advanced Financial Management
  • Paper 3: Advanced Auditing, Assurance and Professional Ethics

Group 2:

  • Paper 4: Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
  • Paper 5: Indirect Tax Laws – Part-I: Goods and Services Tax, Part-II: Customs & FTP
  • Paper 6: Integrated Business Solutions (Multidisciplinary Case Study with Strategic Management)

Exam Structure

ACCA

The exams are computer-based and consist of 13 exams (Fewer papers in case you are eligible for exemptions) divided into three levels (as explained above).

Each level offers flexibility, allowing you to progress at your own pace and conquer sections individually. ACCA exam happens 4 times a year:

  • March
  • June
  • September
  • December

CA

The Chartered Accountancy (CA) exams are in pen-and-paper format & happen twice a year:

  • May
  • November

Passing Rates

ACCA

Overall: The average pass rate for ACCA exams typically ranges from 40% to 50%, depending on the specific paper and level.

Breakdown by level:

  • Knowledge level: 70-75% pass rate
  • Skills level: 40-50% pass rate
  • Professional level: 40-50% pass rate

CA

The overall pass rates of the Chartered Accountancy (CA) exams in India are considerably low & remain challenging.

Breakdown by level:

  • CA Foundation: Pass percentage typically ranges from 20% to 25%
  • CA Intermediate: Pass percentage varies between 10% to 15%
  • CA Final: Pass Percentage varies between 8 % to 12 %.

Pass Criteria

ACCA

The minimum passing mark in each paper is 50%, with no negative marking. Each exam is independent; if you pass it, it is cleared for good. There is no concept of clearing Groups.

CA

To clear the exam, you must score at least 40% in each paper and 50% in each aggregate. You may have passed in an individual paper, but if you do not clear in the aggregate, you will have failed the group. Furthermore, if you fail 1 paper in a group, you have to appear for all the papers of that group on the next attempt

Breakdown by level: The pass rate varies slightly between levels:

  • Level I: 35-39% (most recent November 2023 exam was 35%)
  • Level II: 44-47% (most recent August 2023 exam was 44%)
  • Level III: 47-48% (most recent August 2023 exam was 47%)

ACCA PER

To qualify as an ACCA member, one has to complete 13 papers, complete an online ethics & professional skills module and the Practical Experience Requirement (PER). PER mandates 36 months of relevant work experience in accounting and finance, but the timing is entirely up to you. You can complete the PER before, during, or even after your ACCA studies. This allows you to tailor your experience to your career goals and personal circumstances.

CA Articleship

For CA aspirants in India, the 2 years mandatory articleship is an integral part of the journey. This hands-on experience comes after completing the CA Intermediate exam and before tackling the final stage.

Cost

Investing in a professional qualification like ACCA or CA requires a significant financial commitment due to various associated costs. These include registration and subscription fees, exam fees, study materials, and optional tuition and coaching fees.

ACCA

The estimated cost for pursuing ACCA, including all potential expenses, typically ranges from INR 3.5 to 4 lacs.

CA

The cost of pursuing a CA can vary between INR 3 to 3.5 lacs.

ACCA vs CA: Right Choice, Right Turn

Choosing between ACCA and CA isn’t about picking a winner; it’s about charting a course that aligns with your aspirations and career goals. Both qualifications are prestigious and demanding and open doors to diverse and rewarding paths in finance.

ACCA might be your compass for those seeking global mobility and focusing on international business & finance. Its flexible structure and global recognition make it ideal for aspiring business and finance professionals envisioning a career spanning borders.

CA might be your north star if your heart lies in the depths of local market complexities and in-depth statutory compliance. Its rigorous training and emphasis on Indian financial regulations equip you to excel within the unique landscape of the Indian market.

Ultimately, the choice rests with you. Consider your strengths, interests, and career aspirations. Research each qualification thoroughly, speak to professionals, and chart a course that leads to your ideal financial horizon. Remember, ACCA and CA are stepping stones to success – what matters most is the dedication and passion you bring to your journey.

ACCA + CA: Double the Power?

Combining the Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualifications presents a compelling proposition for aspiring accounting & finance professionals. While CA empowers you with deep Indian standards & regulations, ACCA gives you a complete global perspective to look at things. CA gives you the roots & ACCA gives you the wings to fly.

It is worth noting the fast-track routes the ACCA body offers CA students.

CA Inter Cleared Students are eligible for a minimum of 6 exemptions & Chartered Accountants are eligible for 9 exemptions, making your journey efficient & quicker.

Conclusion

Choosing between ACCA and CA is a personal decision hinged on your career aspirations and geographic preferences. Carefully weigh your options, assess your strengths, and don’t shy away from seeking guidance from professionals. Remember, both qualifications offer excellent career prospects, and ultimately, the choice you make today will pave the way for a fulfilling and rewarding journey in the dynamic world of finance.

Also read our blog on ACCA vs MBA & ACCA vs CFA

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