As I learned recently; ACCA was designed to target accountants in industry as opposed to in a practice environment, this qualification is more geared towards financial accounting, Audit and Tax.
This qualification has a good global reach, I would say that their reach globally is currently slightly better than ACA, CIMA and CIPFA.
Whilst it’s no secret that back in the day this was seen as a poor version of the ACA, the ACCA has done well to get their qualification respected and now you can walk into pretty much any company with your ACCA qualification.
As an ACCA student I can say competition with CIMA has both helped and hurt the qualification.
A area where it definitely helped was is computer based exams (CBE), quite frankly it was sickening how flipping long it took for the ACCA to provide more exam dates and CBE’s in general, it still pisses me off to no end that their flipping exams are still during month end, by now weekend exam options should be a thing, how does a freaking accounting qualification ensure their exams are always during flipping month end!!! This is beyond stupid and extremely frustrating for both students and employers.
I am still annoyed how far behind ACCA is with flexibility of their exams and the timing, CIMA have Pearson ACCA have… a pain in the backside system.
In trying to compete with CIMA and the overall trend in the market place they have added some CIMA style papers into the qualification which quite frankly just don’t belong here; I have noticed that some employers AND recruiters are specifically asking for CIMA candidates especially in roles that are more on the analytical side of finance, a large investment bank has started to their graduates on CIMA as part of their Graduate program, ACCA have lost the battle of the hearts & minds when it comes to analytical and quite frankly the fun side of accounting.
I feel with CIMA it is easier to transfer into financial services and out of the dry accounting roles (with some work) which opens up a lot of opportunities.
It’s better ACCA remains it’s focus on Financial reporting and auditing, the tax bit is OK but if I want tax advice I am going to a CTA qualified tax expert not the necessarily ACCA guy.
All exams are available to sit via CBE, the level split out is below.
ACCA – professional qualification 13 exams:
- Applied knowledge: 3 exams (on demand CBE sittings)
- Applied skills: 6 exams (1 exam on demand, the other 5 are CBE which can be sat quarterly, Mar, June, Sep, Dec)
- Strategic professional essentials: 2 exams (CBE exams which can be sat every quarter)
- Strategic professional options: 2 exams (CBE exams which can be sat every quarter)