ACCA Vs. CA: Is it better to pursue ACCA or CA?

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With the job market scenario in India is fast-changing, having only a graduate degree is table stakes, putting you at par with everyone else. If a Bachelor’s degree is all that you have, you are unlikely to find a coveted position in a reputed organization. Today, students need to look for specialized professional courses beyond their graduation degree to be employable.

Chartered Accountancy (CA) courses are extremely popular particularly among individuals who want to build a career in accounting and finance. It is a profession that is held in high regard across India and the world. However, considering that the average pass percentage for CA exams is in single digits, it is difficult to get a CA degree. While extremely comprehensive and highly recognized, the CA course has an inflexible structure that makes it very challenging to pursue for those who want to work and study simultaneously. On the other hand, ACCA is a global chartered accountancy qualification that can open up opportunities in the Big 4 accounting firms as well as MNCs in India and globally.


ACCA Vs CA: Which is tough and better to pursue?

We frequently hear questions from students like "Is CA better than ACCA?", "How is ACCA different from CA??", "Which is better - CA or ACCA?" "Does ACCA has scope in India?", and most importantly "Why ACCA is better?" To answer these questions, we will now analyze the two most sought out qualifications available for graduates - CA and ACCA. While you are likely already to be aware of what is the CA course, we would need to start with a bit of an introduction to ACCA.


What is ACCA?

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or ACCA is an international professional accounting body with over 200,000 members. Recognized in over 186 countries, it has provided training to more than 400,000 students. With an increasing demand for ACCA qualifications in the international job market, more than 7000 employers worldwide, including 90% of Fortune 500 companies, employ ACCA qualified individuals.


Who can join ACCA?

Students can do the ACCA course after completing grade 10 of the CBSE, ICSE or state board. It is a little-known fact that, in addition to those pursuing graduation in Commerce (ACCA with B.Com or ACCA after BCom, BBA etc.,), students pursuing B.A. or B.Sc. can also qualify for ACCA. By pursuing an ACCA qualification while completing their graduation, students can have an ACCA degree by the time they graduate and directly enter the job market. The course structure is flexible enough for it to be taken up by mid-career employees in the finance or administrative domain.


About ACCA Curriculum & ACCA Exams

ACCA exam has 13 papers, comprising 4 levels:

  • Knowledge – 3 papers
  • Skills – 6 papers
  • Essentials – 2 papers
  • Options – 2 papers from 4

On completing the grades 10 or 12 board exam, students are eligible to enroll at the knowledge level.


ACCA Vs CA Comparison: The Difference between ACCA and CA:

When you’re planning to opt for ACCA coaching, it is important to understand the difference between CA and ACCA from the Indian context. To compare ACCA vs CA let us make a comparison chart to help you understand whether CA or ACCA is better for you on various points for your consideration:

Point of DiscussionACCACA
Professional BodyAssociation of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
Date of Formation30th November 19041st July 1949
How was it formed?ACCA traces its origin to 1904 later in 1974 it was granted as a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth IIA statutory body under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 enacted by Parliament.
PresenceOver 180 countries including India and a major presence in the UK.Over 25 Countries Major presence in India.
Course Areas of FocusReporting, Performance Management, Financial Management, International Auditing, Leadership, International Taxation, Corporate, and Business Law.Cost Management, Financial Management, Indian Corporate Laws, Indian Taxation, and Indian Reporting and Auditing.
EligibilityCompletion of Class 10Completion of Class 12 and finishing off 6 months of graduation.
Course Levels2 Levels Fundamental Level (2 separate Modules – Knowledge Module & Skill Module) Strategic Professional Level. In effect, it makes it 3 Levels.3 Levels CA Foundation (Common Proficiency Test – CPT) CA Intermediate (CA IPCC) CA Final (FC)
PapersTotal of 13 papers: Knowledge Level – 3 Papers Skills Level – 6 Papers Strategic Professional Level – 4 Papers (wherein 2 papers are compulsory and an option to select 2 out of 4 papers)Total of 20 Papers: CA Foundation – 4 Papers CA Intermediate – 8 Papers CA Final – 8 Papers (choice of 1 paper)
ArticleshipACCA has no requirement of Articleship, however, to become a Member of ACCA three years of relevant work experience in the finance and accounting domain is required.A compulsory 3 years of Articleship under a practicing chartered accountant is required. The guidelines for such Articleship is provided by ICAI.
Student Professional JourneyACCA Qualification has the following student Journey:- 1.      Registration 2.      Student – The duration taken to finish the exams 3.      Affiliate – The duration wherein exams are over and completing three years of work experience along with Ethics, Professional, and Skills Module. 4.      Associate Member – Once points 2 & 3 are completed. 5.      Fellow Member – After completion of 5 years of membership, the Associate Member shall be called as a Fellow Member.CA Qualification has the following student Journey:- 1.      Registration 2.      Student for Foundation – after 12th; student for Intermediate after Bcom. 3.      After completion of Intermediate – Compulsory Computer Training is Required. 4.      On parallel, mode articles have to be commenced. 5.      In the final 6 months of articles CA final exams to be written 6.      General Management & Communication Course to be completed 7.      Associate Member 8.      After 5 years of the member in practice or relevant approved experience Fellow Membership may be awarded.
Course FeesACCA course fee ranging from Rs. 60,000 to 1,50,000 depending on the eligibility based on earlier qualifications.CA course fee ranging from Rs. 75,000 to 1,00,000 depending on the eligibility based on Bcom or class 12.
Tuition fees / Training Fees – Charged by independent tuition providersRanging from 40,000 to 4,00,000Ranging from 50,000 to 500,000
Approved learning providersACCA body approves various learning providers to bring in authenticity and quality checks on the delivery mechanismICAI has no such approval process for tuition providers, hence there is no quality check available.
Independence on LearningACCA body does not carry out any learning activities, it is a mere examination body to test the performance of the student.ICAI conducts training as well as examination for its course, due to which it does not have an approved training provider mechanism.
FlexibilityACCA provides greater flexibility in terms of allowing students to write up to 4 exams every quarter and a maximum of 8 papers every year.CA has a rigid mechanism of examination wherein students will have to clear all the papers in the group of 4 papers minimum in every attempt. In case of failure of any one subject will entail the student to write the complete group at a minimum again. Students can get exemption in a paper by attaining a minimum mark of 60 out of 100.
Passing MarkEvery paper the student should attain 50%Every paper the student should attain 40% and in total in that group aggregate of 50% is required.
Exam BasisACCA exams in India: All the exams are computer-based exams wherein there is a mix of Multichoice questions and descriptive pattern in the examinationCA exams in India: All the exams are paper-based handwritten exams and majorly focused on descriptive examination.
Financials Signing Authority ACCA India members cannot sign audit reports, however various other assurance engagements can be carried out. In addition, an ACCA member has signing authority in over 90 countries globally.An ICAI member in India can apply for a Certificate of Practice and sign audit reports.   However, an Indian CA cannot practice in other parts of the world.
Approved EmployerACCA has over 7,500 approved employers globally. In India alone, there are over 200 approved employersICAI has no such activity of getting the CA course approved with employers.
Course SuitabilityACCA is more suited for students and learners who are seeking a professional career in an MNC and would be interested to work in non-Indian based Audit & Taxation. International Audit and Taxation and all other areas of finance are suitable.CA qualified shall be more suitable to cater to practice and job roles which require Indian based knowledge on Auditing, Taxation, and laws.
Mutual ExemptionACCA provides up to 9 paper exemption for CA qualified persons.CA does not provide any exemption for ACCA qualified persons.

ACCA Salary in India: Potential salary income post-qualification:

Since salaries and compensation packages depend on a variety of factors such as job experience, qualifications, etc., it cannot be generalized. However, in broad terms, usually, ACCA trainees earn slightly more than the CA counterparts in India, if they work for the Big 4 firms or MNCs. ACCA salary in India ranges from Rs. 4 to Rs. 14 lakhs per annum.

Key Matters for students for considering ACCA Course:

  • Immediately after 10 the student should take up the ACCA course and at this stage not even think of CA.
  • Learner looking for an international career in finance then ACCA is the option.
  • Any professional who has over 5 years of work experience then ACCA is the option as CA does not offer flexibility and the issues of articles will definitely hinder the professional growth of the professional.
  • Learners looking for MNC jobs and would want to strive for their career in a leadership role then should definitely consider ACCA. Research worldwide has proved that 5 out of 10 CFO’s are ACCA’s.
  • Learners who are interested in practice as a professional in the audit profession out of India.

Key Matters for students for considering CA Course:

  • Students who are looking to practice as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in India.
  • Learners looking for Indian based Audit and taxation roles then CA is the option for them.
  • Learners looking to work for Indian based companies and focus on Indian Corporate and Business laws then CA is the option.


Both ACCA and CA qualifications have their advantages, what matters are to take a long-term view of your career, consider your ultimate job goals and choose your course accordingly.

And if you’re looking for ACCA coaching online, sign up with us today.


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