CFA vs ACCA – Which Certification is Right for you?

CFA vs ACCA – Which Certification is Right for you? – To develop a career in finance, it has become almost a necessity to earn a relevant degree or credential for requisite knowledge and skills which can be useful in a specialized area of finance. There are a number of certification programs available for students,entry-level professionals as well as experienced professionals, designed to develop and validate specific capabilities for the benefit of finance professionals. CFA and ACCA are two such specialised certification programs of international repute. One one side CFA is all about Investment Management, ACCA is more into detailed accounting and auditing.
In the course of this article, we will provide detailed information on CFA and ACCA along with a discussion of their relative merits to help those interested to make an informed choice. The article is structured in the following manner;
  1. CFA vs ACCA Infographics
  2. What is CFA?
  3. What is ACCA?
  4. CFA vs ACCA Entry Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFA?
  6. Why pursue ACCA?

CFA vs ACCA Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA vs ACCA Infographics.

CFA vs ACCA infographics

What is CFA?

Offered by Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute, it is one of the most competitive financial credentials, widely considered the “gold standard” of financial analysis and investment management. It is undoubtedly one of the most rigorous certification programs in finance, which covers several key knowledge areas in finance making it best fit for those interested in developing a career as a financial analyst or in the field of investment banking. Although a MBA in Finance from one of the top institutes could be the preferred credentials for top investment banks, CFA Charter comes in a close second.

What is ACCA?

It is a highly valued credential offered by a global body for professional accountants, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), to help build key accounting skills and validate the capabilities of aspiring finance professionals. This is a multi-tier certification program primarily focused on knowledge areas related to accountancy, taxation and auditing. Though not on the same level as CFA in terms of reputation, it is a widely recognized credential which can help students or accounting professionals boost their career prospects significantly.

CFA vs ACCA Entry Requirements

For CFA You Need:

To qualify for CFA, a candidate should have a Bachelor’s Degree (or they should be in final year of Bachelor’s Degree) or 4 years of professional work experience or 4 years of higher education and professional work experience taken together.

For ACCA You Need:

To qualify for ACCA, one must have completed 10+2 from commerce stream, students pursuing graduation in commerce and those who have completed BA or B.Sc. with Foundation in Accountancy can qualify.

Why Pursue CFA?

Finance professionals involved in equity research, financial modeling, investment management and other areas can benefit a great deal by earning CFA Charter. It can help enhance career prospects by equipping them with expert knowledge of complex areas in finance and adding to their credibility in the eyes of industry-leading employers. For non-investment professionals as well it can prove to be of great advantage as a valued credential which brings along a lot of respectability and opens up new avenues of growth.

Why Pursue ACCA?

Partnering with more than 8,500 employers worldwide, ACCA opens up global work opportunities for students as well as professionals. Students and finance professionals interested in acquiring specialized knowledge of finance and accounting can opt for ACCA. Entry requirements are not as stringent as well. Its course curriculum covers accounting, taxation and auditing along with several other critical areas as well including law, business studies, financial management, financial reporting and professional and ethical standards.

Other Interesting Comparisons


CFA is a highly specialized credential, suited for finance professionals seeking to develop expert capabilities in areas related to financial analysis and equity research. However, ACCA is a broad-based accounting certification and is a better fit for students or professionals looking to advance their prospects as an accounting or auditing professional. Both of the credentials are globally acknowledged but CFA is miles ahead of ACCA in terms of its quality and value as a professional credential. CFA Charter is much more difficult to attain as compared to ACCA Qualification but it can be really worth it. However, CFA is more suited for experienced finance professionals who are looking to specialize in a certain area whereas ACCA is best for entry-or mid-level professionals looking to widen their career horizons while acquiring useful skills in accounting and auditing.

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