ACCA vs CS

Difference Between ACCA and CS

The full form of ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and after obtaining this degree a student can pursue his career in multinational companies or an Indian company working for offshore clients while CS stands for Company Secretary and the individuals with this degree can work as legal experts, chief advisor, corporate planner, and executive secretary.

Gone are the days when crunching numbers was a career for the nerds. Today accounting professionals are all about glamorous and powerful figures at the helm of a company under their accounting skills. And if reading this has got you tempted, please take a minute to read about the different exams, cost, and advantages of pursuing a career in this field.

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What is ACCA?

The ACCA or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a body that recognizes the qualification of a CA. ACCA is a global body based in Glasgow, UK, which works in the interest of the public to ensure that the chartered accountants work according to the principles-based and ensures that the regulations set are properly followed.

The ACCA offers the certification in chartered accountancy, and the exam known as ACCA is most recognized in the commonwealth countries.

What is CS?

A Company Secretary is an important accounting designation in a company. A CS in a company is the mediator between the board of directors, shareholders, government, and other agencies. The CS has the required expertise in legal matters, securities law, capital market, and corporate governance to regulate a company according to the compliances charted out.

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India” (ICSI)-a premier National Professional body, offers the course for Company Secretaryship. The professional body set up by the Act of Parliament imparts the course through Distance Learning. Also, it provides the “Course Material” for all the subjects at the time of Registration. It also provides the option for Optional Oral Coaching classes enabling the students to attain the designation of Company Secretary.

ACCA vs CS Infographics

Let’s see the top differences between ACCA vs CS, along with infographics.

ACCA-vs-CS-info

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Educational Requirement

ACCACS
You need to be a high school pass out to appear for the examination. In case of a higher degree, you can request yourself to be exempted from papers you have already studied for at the fundamental level.Students who wish to join the CS course after passing out high school or 10+2 requires undergoing three stages of the Company Secretary Course while a graduate student would have to undergo two stages. The three stages of the Company Secretaries Course are

  • Foundation Program
  • Executive Program
  • Professional Program
The ACCA provides study material in the form of guide books and sample papers for the students to follow. The organization is involved in the preparing process and provides a list of ACCA approved Learning Partners to ensure you come out with flying colors in the exam.The ICSI Associations provides the study material for the course to every candidate at the time of the registration. The institution also provides the option of Oral Coaching Classes to benefit the students.
You need to give 14 papers, divided in the following format—9 papers of the Fundamental Level and 5 papers of the Professional Level.  The question papers are divided into three patterns of questions, objective type, longer type, and case studies.A candidate requires to successfully clear 18 papers divided into three programs to attain the CS designation. The Foundation Program has four papers, and the Executive Program has six, while the Professional Program comprises of ten papers. In addition to this, a student is required to undergo 15 months of training after passing the executive or professional program.

ACCA vs. CS Comparative Table

SectionACCA CS
Organizing BodyThe exams are organized by the  Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK.The exams are organized by the   Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), India.
PatternThe course consists of 3 levels

  • Applied Knowledge
  • Applied Skills
  • Strategic Professional (Essentials and Options)
The course consists of 3 levels

  • Level I: Foundation course (only for undergraduates)
  • Level II: Executive program
  • Level III: Professional program
Duration of CourseAlthough candidates are required to complete the course in 10 years from passing the first exam, most candidates complete the course in a span of 3 to 4 years.A candidate can complete all the levels in a span of 2 to 3 years.
SyllabusSome of the main subjects that are covered during the entire course are

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

  • Basic Economics & Business Environment
  • Tax Laws
  • General & Commercial Laws
  • Company Law
  • Banking & Insurance – Law & Practice
  • Economic Labour & Industrial Laws
Exam feesThe cost of the course varies in the range of £1,200 to £2,000, which includes an annual subscription of £112, a registration fee of £89, and exam fees. The cost includes fees for exempted exams. The exam fees vary depending on the time of registration.The cost of the course varies in the range of $400 to $500, which includes course fees and exam fees. The ICAI members and commerce graduates enjoy some exemptions.
JobsSome of the common profiles include

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

  • Chief Advisor to Board
  • Executive Secretary to MD/ CEO
  • Strategic Manager
  • Corporate Planner
DifficultyThe exams are quite difficult as indicated by historical pass rates of only ~30% in some of the subjects. During March 2020, the pass rates for the Applied Knowledge exams were in the range of 65% to 82%, while that for the Strategic Professional (Options) exams were in the range of 32% to 44%.The exams are quite difficult as indicated by historical pass rates of only ~30% in some of the subjects. During March 2020, the pass rates for the Applied Knowledge exams were in the range of 65% to 82%, while that for the Strategic Professional (Options) exams were in the range of 32% to 44%.
Exam DateThe exams for ACCA take place in the months of March, June, and December every year. The upcoming exams for the year 2021 will take place between Mar 01-05 and June 07-11.The exams for CS take place in the months of June and December every year. The upcoming exams for the year 2021 will begin on June 01.

Why Pursue ACCA?

ACCA certificate holders are recognized all around the world. ACCA exams can be attempted twice in a year with 400+ locations to choose from worldwide, making it easy for a candidate to give the exam from a nearby location. An ACCA holder is not required to be practically trained under experienced accountants and is ready to start his career after completing his course. Thus he does not lose out time on internships and jumps the practical grinding from the very beginning.

ACCA registration is a much simpler process and is more cost-effective. ACCA prepares you for both financial and management roles, making it easier for you to choose careers in different sectors and industries. Employers recognize ACCA’s qualification. Students who have passed out ACCA are known for their quality and excellence, making it easy for employers to rely on their ability and knowledge while hiring them.

Why pursue CS?

CS is a great option for students who have already graduated or are pursuing law. Most often, a simultaneous attempt to clear both are seen as it enhances a great deal of value for a candidate in the corporate market. A CS does not require crunching too many numbers as it is more theoretical and therefore suits students from varied courses.

A CS can be termed as the chief compliance of a company, and hence this designation is associated with prestige and a great deal of job satisfaction. The opportunity to shine in the future is immense due to the prospects it offers and the demand for such trained people in the market.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to ACCA vs. CS. Here we discuss the top differences between ACCA and CS along with infographics and a comparative table. You may also have a look at the following articles –

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Joseph says

    Great and helpful article. This article has cleared all mu doubts and confusion. Thanks for sharing this article. Can you tell me the dates for ACCA exam held this here that is for the year 2017?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks and I am glad you liked this article. You can take a look at this article here I have mentioned the dates for ACCA exam 2017 and also the registration process. Hope this helps you.

  2. Priya says

    Good comparison between ACCA and CS. Quiet useful for accounting professionals. Would like to tell me what skills and studies are required for ACCA. Any tips to study?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for the note. To know the skills and study plan for for ACCA, you can read this article – ACCA exam guide. This is a comprehensive guide which will help you to get the grip and clear understanding of ACCA course. I hope this will help you to clear all your doubts and helps you make an informed decision. Happy Learning!!

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