ACCA VS CFA

January 21, 2022
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Whilst, ACCA and CFA are globally recognized qualifications, ACCA is geared more towards accountancy and finance while CFA is more or less all about portfolio management and the processes surrounding it (equity research, fixed income research, economics etc.).

CFA helps to make a career in equity research and investment banking on the other hand if one like to get into accounting or audit, ACCA may be pursued. If one is interested in gaining diverse knowledge in qualifications like studying financial, cost & management accounting with a taste of tax and law plus management better choice is to go for ACCA.

If you are specifically interested in dealing with complex financial scenarios and the number game attracts you then go for CFA. But first, you have to do Bachelors to become eligible for CFA.

Well, one can pursue ACCA from the first year of the undergraduate course itself, for CFA, at least in the final year of the undergraduate course is necessary to pursue it. For ACCA, any government proof is valid, however, for CFA, only Passport is accepted as a valid proof of identity.

One can pursue both ACCA and CFA together or doing one course at a time, this will enhance CV even more.. The cost of completion of both the courses is almost same. You want to become a chartered accountants and work almost anywhere in the world? Pursue ACCA. It’ll give you a broad knowledge of what happens in the finance industry altogether.

Want to take your investment banking skills to the next level? Work in top tier investment firms? Then pursue CFA. CFA however requires a certain number of years of working experience and also, if things like stocks, debentures and derivatives makes you tick. It’s equally rewarding as well.

CFA is more inclined towards the finance and drill down to all the facets of the Finance domain whereas ACCA is more inclined towards Accounting, Taxation and ancillary work related to them.

You can find some overlapping in syllabus at initial level but at the end they will prepare you for totally different working area.

A Chartered Financial Analyst mostly has expertise in making investment decisions. This expertise lies in different investment instruments and maintaining a portfolio for his clients. The CFA certification is considered the gold standard in this domain. On the other hand, ACCA is a global accounting with its presence in more than 180 countries. There is a huge network of ACCA professionals all around the world and you can get employed anywhere in the world.

However, it might be true that being a CFA professional might fetch you better salaries as you start your career. However, after this step, your career progression would decide your roles and salaries.

The question is objective. While, in some cases, CFA might seem better than ACCA, it is not possible to make an assertive statement.

  Now a quick comparison between the two:
  • Recognition- CFA is recognised in all 206 countries as it is one of the best finance courses in the world. ACCA is one of the oldest and best accounting course with recognition in 170+ countries ( as they claim on their website) it comes with certain limitations which are due to varying accounting and tax laws in different countries. Also ACCA is not accepted in USA. CFA is accepted in UK.
  • Scope - As mentioned above ACCA work profile include jobs related to mostly accounting and auditing, in the coming years with advanced technology and automation the accounting jobs are at risk and same is the case for some of the auditing jobs. CFA on the other hand gives you the ability to take better investment decisions both for the business and for an individual investor, even with automation or any upcoming technology, humans will be needed to take the final call.
  • Salary - Backward looking jobs (accounting/ book keeping) pay the least, Second highest pay is in the jobs wherein you work for the present (operations manager) and then comes the forward looking jobs ( General manager/CEO/MD/ Investment advisor) with the highest pay.
 

So choice is based on one’s professional goals in the long run. So all in all we find CFA a better course to do but for someone who is interested in both fields one can go with a combo (ACCA + CFA).

However, CFA is more suited for experienced finance professionals looking to specialize in a certain area. In contrast, ACCA is best for entry-or mid-level professionals looking to widen their career horizons while acquiring useful accounting. Contact us for detailed information and combination of courses available to do after or during graduation.


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