Difference Between ACCA and ACA

ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountant) exam helps candidates gain expertise in management accounting, auditing, accounting, taxation, etc, whereas, ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) provides in-depth knowledge in financial management, tax compliance, and accounting and reporting.

Both ACA and ACCA are of international repute and provide multiple job opportunities. ACA is more suitable for people who would like to pursue their career in AuditingCareer In AuditingThe auditing career is full of challenges and growth potential for the aspirants. The top four job roles an individual can take up in this profession are an internal auditor, external auditor, information technology auditor or auditing more and Accounting, whereas, ACCA is more comprehensive, giving options for people who want to pursue a career in management accounting and financial management, and financial services.

While choosing between ACCA and ACA many students get confused about what to pick and what not to pursue. But there are things you should think about before deciding on these two marvellous career options.

First of all, before going into detail about these two courses, you need to make sure that you know your career goals are. So, if you don’t know, find it out. Start with your likes and dislikes. Finance is a huge domain and there are many options. Just because your friends are doing one and not doing another cannot be the reason for choosing one course over another.

As these two need a lot of patience, perseverance, and hard work, you can’t just choose one in a fluke. Take your time. Read about each of them (we’ve given all the details below). And then decide what suits you best.

People have different opinions. They also have different biases. Instead of asking other people what they think is the best option, read this, do your own research, find out what aligns with your career goals, and then go for the one that’s right for you. There’s no right answer for everyone.

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In this article, we will discuss the following –

  1. Infographics
  2. What is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants?
  3. What is an Associate Chartered Accountant?
  4. Key differences
  5. Why pursue ACCA?
  6. Why pursue ACA?

ACCA vs ACA Infographics

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ACCA vs ACA – Comparative Table

Certification Organised byThe exams are conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK.The exams are organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), UK.
PatternThe course is divided into 3 levels

• Applied Knowledge
• Applied Skills
• Strategic Professional (Essentials and Options)
The course is divided into 3 levels

• Certificate Level
• Professional Level
• Advanced Level
Duration of CourseThe candidates have to complete all the exams within 10 years from the first successful exam. However, candidates usually take 3 to 4 years to complete the course.A candidate can complete all the levels within a span of 3 years.
SyllabusSome of the main subjects that are covered during the entire course are

• Financial Management
• Financial Reporting
• Accounting & Auditing
• Taxation
• Ethical & Professional Standards
Some of the main subjects that are covered during the entire course are

• Accounting
• Business & Finance
• Management Information
• Business Strategy
• Business Planning (Taxation)
• Audit and Assurance
• Financial Accounting & Reporting
• Corporate Reporting
Exam FeesThe overall cost of the course lies in the range of £1,200 to £2,000, which includes a registration fee of £89, an annual subscription of £112 and exam fees as well as exemption fees. The spread in the overall cost is due to the huge variation in exam fees depending on the time of registration.The overall cost of ACA can be broken down into
Annual student fee – £180 +VAT
Exam fees

• Certificate Level – £72
• Professional Level – £103
• Advanced Level – £175
• Case Study – £267
JobsSome of the common profiles include

• Accountant
• Tax Manager
• Financial Consultant
• Internal Auditor
• Finance Manager
Some of the common profiles include

• Auditor
• Finance Manager
• Business Analyst
• Management Accountant
• Forensic Accountant
DifficultyIt is quite difficult as in some of the subjects only ~30% of the candidates are able to clear the exams. During March 2020, the pass rates for the Strategic Professional (Options) exams were in the range of 32% to 44%, while that for Applied Knowledge exams were high in the range of 65% to 82%.It is moderately difficult. During 2019, out of all the candidates who appeared for the Professional and the Advanced level exams, ~68% and ~73% of them passed all the exams.
Exam DateThe upcoming exam schedule for 2021

• Mar 01-05
• Jun 07-11
The upcoming exam schedule for 2021

• Certificate Level: Any time
• Professional Level: Mar 08-10, Jun 07-09, Sep 06-08, and Dec 06-08
• Advanced Level: Jul 19-21 and Nov 01-03

What is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants?

ACCA (official website) is one of the most sought after certifications you can choose to pursue. It is one of the fastest-growing accountancy professions in the world. Over 436,000 students have chosen to pursue ACCA and they are from 180 countries in the world. The best part of ACCA is its flexibility which allows its students to balance study and work very well. To study ACCA, you can choose not to do any class and can do your own self-study.

If you talk about comprehensiveness, ACCA fits the bill perfectly. It prepares the students for technical and management, both domains. Thus once the students complete their certification, they’re ready to join any reputed company and to handle the finance domain of that company with ease.

With ACCA you would be able to get an excellent education within a short budget. Moreover, it has a huge global presence and once you do it, you would be recognized as a world-class accountant. Even the top-notch companies prefer ACCA more than any other professionals from the finance domain.

What is an Associate Chartered Accountant?

ACAACAThe Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) offers an ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) course. There are three levels to the ACA examination, each comprising 15 modules and more is also very much recognized and sought after accountancy courses for students and professionals. It also has international recognition and many students who dream of joining Big 4 companies usually pursue ACA.

ACA also helps you create a delicate balance between your study and work so that you’re able to create a work-life balance and thrive as a professional. ACA doesn’t have only one entry route; rather it has several and it can be done even from Europe, the USA, and Asia.

ACA is also very cost-effective. Under a very small budget, you would be able to get a globally recognized degree and as a result, you would be treated as an expert in the accounting field. Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) has designed ACA in such a way that it has become a perfect blend of practical approach and technical knowledge. That’s the reason many students are getting interested to do this. ACA is also available from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. But if you want to do ACA, do it from ICAEW as it’s the most recognized and globally accepted.

Why Pursue ACCA?

There are several reasons for which you should pursue ACCA. Here are some of them –

  • It is more globally recognized and anywhere in the world, this qualification is valid. Thus if you need to change the country, you can still carry your qualification with you and you will still be employable.
  • ACCA is of much shorter duration, just 2 years. If you want to get a globally acclaimed qualification within a short stint of time, ACCA is for you.
  • The fee structure of ACCA is also very much reasonable. You don’t need to put yourself into debt to afford this qualification. Thus many students who can work a hard decision to join ACCA.
  • As ACCA is a more comprehensive course, it offers many job opportunities in different fields. You can choose to work in a financial services company, FMCG, Education Industry or Accounting firm.
  • Students feel that ACCA is much easier than any other course in Finance domain. First of all, even if you need to have 3 years of experience, you can have experience in the finance domain of any company. So, there’s no strict regulation to follow.

Why Pursue ACA?

  • Even if it’s one of the toughest exams in the world, you should pursue this course because, in the end, it pays you so well that you don’t regret working harder than ever. If you compare per annum salary with any other professional compensation, you will find that as an ACA you could get almost double or triple the salary other professionals are getting.
  • ACA offers you a practical approach along with technical knowledge which many professional courses fail to offer. Thus, it is treated as one of the most relevant finance courses in the world.
  • ACA offers a lot of post-qualification support which is not provided by any other institute or board of education. Thus students get to update themselves regularly and remain at the top of their profession all the time.


If you look at both ACCA vs ACA, they have advantages and disadvantages. Thus we cannot pinpoint the best option for you. Do your soul search and find out which aligns most with your career goals.

This has been a guide to ACCA vs ACA. Here we discuss the top 8 difference between ACCA and ACA careers, examination pattern, pass rates, fees, and job opportunities. If you wish to evaluate other financial certifications, you can also checkout –

Reader Interactions


  1. Rohit Jhawar says


    Do you help in preparation for ACA.



    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Rohit,

      Unfortunately not as of now.


  2. Syed Muhammad Haider Hussain says

    Great analysis again.
    ACCA if completed in first attempt take 2.5 yrs. This is considerd as fast speed. Completing it in 2 yrs is rare but extremely fast.
    To clear it with high grades one need to give 3 months/150+ hrs per paper.
    After ACCA we have to give 3-4 papers for getting ICAEW qualified.

    Acca affiliate

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Syed for the info.


    • Faruq Banna says

      Dear Haider does that mean after ACCA for completing ACA we require to complete 3-4 papers