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ACCA After CA, How ACCA works for an Indian CA?

ACCA complements the CA course and is not a competition to the CA. In this topic you will get to understand how doing ACCA enhance the professional journey for CA’s by adding ACCA as a qualification which acts as an enhanced feather in their cap.

ACCA stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It was founded in 1904 to develop additional capacity in the accounting profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. The organization’s values are aligned to the needs of employers across all sectors and ACCA ensures that it prepares accountants for business.

The academic background of ACCA is highly focused on the fundamental aspects of accounting, reporting and business. Each subject of the professional level (last level) of ACCA has a complete focus on leadership and the strategic approach to the technical subject matter and links business with the requirement of leadership and strategy. Hence, doing ACCA after CA will benefit Indian accountants with extra curriculum knowledge of accounting, auditing, taxation, leadership, and strategy.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, viz. The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (Act No. XXXVIII of 1949) for to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. ICAI functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. It is the second-largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world, with a strong tradition of service to the Indian economy in public interest..

The affairs of the ICAI are managed by a Council, in accordance with the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. The Council comprises 40 members of whom 32 are elected by the Chartered Accountants. The remaining eight are nominated by the Central Government, generally representing the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and other stakeholders.

The Indian CA has an academic background that is completely focused on the key aspects of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation. The Chartered accountant course is highly reliant on the aspects of the domestic regulatory and compliance framework. Therefore, professions in audit and taxation in the country are dominated by CA professionals.

Where in CA course there are three levels of examination and three years of practical training commonly called articleship, CA students undergo rigorous practical work exposure towards the practical aspects of the theoretical course.

Unfortunately, the structure of the Indian CA course has an enormous amount of information overload wherein the students are required to remember a lot of concepts, information, tax laws, and other academic information to clear the examination successfully. Such an examination structure enables the student to gain technical skills and the following soft skills:

  • Multi-tasking
  • Memorising and recall
  • Information gathering
  • Hard work

However, in the current business world there are certain skills which are required by each and every finance professional in the world. The critical point to note is that CA as a course covers various aspects of Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Law, Costing and Finance there are also certain areas which the program lacks. Some of the important aspects which the Indian CA program lacks and that is where ACCA plays a major role for them to consider after CA are as follows:-

  • Strategy development
  • Leadership Management
  • Entrepreneurial Business thinking.
  • International professional outlook.
  • Communication.

Strategy Development: The CA course as it is focused on the aspects of Accounting, Auditing, Taxation and Law, however it lacks the aspects of understanding of strategy, long term thinking on business and overall development of business. Today a finance professional has to be capable of managing all the aspects of business and look at developing a long term strategic outlook for the organization. However the CA course has no focus on this particular aspect of exposure for CA students both theoretically and practically.

Leadership Management: Leadership skills and understanding of various aspects of a leaders quality is missing in the CA course. It does not cover the requirements of a leadership skill in a professional environment. During the articleship training of CA, the candidates have no exposure to the aspects of leadership that are required and provides a monotonous journey of carrying out mere vouching and verification of books of accounts.

Entrepreneurial Business Thinking: The term business for CA is just to look at it as a growing client, for CA there are certain professional restrictions in terms of carrying out a business due to which the entrepreneurial business spirit is never considered by a CA. It is imperative that for the overall growth of a professional entrepreneurial risk and determination is a definite must and an aspect of management needs to be involved.

Course Offering from ACCA for CAs

ACCA as mentioned earlier in my discussion that is an international finance course providing the benefits of business, accounting, and finance for the professional. This supports the professional from understanding various aspects of business, strategy and leadership which today is a must for a thorough finance professional, while the Indian CA course academically focuses on the aspects of Accounting, Auditing & Taxation, various aspects of business and strategy are totally ignored and not considered.

For the ACCA after CA there are 4 exams overall out of 13 exams, first 9 exams are exempted for qualified CAs and for CA Inter or CA IPCC Maximun of 6 ACCA paper exemption is possible along with a Bcom degree.

CA final completed attendies has to write only 4 exams in ACCA and these exams are:

  1. Two compulsory papers, namely:
  • Strategic Business Leader (SBL) – Consists of a 100-mark single case study question that covers all the various aspects of business, leadership, and strategy in a business environment. This paper enables an existing CA to gain additional skills in leadership, business, and strategy.
  • Strategic Business Reporting (SBR) – Consists of three questions covering 100 marks that test the knowledge of IFRS, its implementation, and computational requirements. In addition, it covers various aspects of the global reporting framework, including sustainability reporting, integrated reporting, human capital reporting, social and environmental reporting. This paper enables an existing CA to gain additional skills of IFRS, the global reporting framework, and reporting in business scenarios.

  1. Two optional papers from any four below:
  • Advanced Financial Management (AFM) – Three questions covering 100 marks. This paper is based upon the principles of the Strategic Financial Management (SFM) paper of the CA final exam. However, the level of examination and academic results of the ACCA paper is more strategic, in terms of decision-making in business environments. This paper is totally focused on financial management and covers strategic aspects on financial management. Some of the topics covered are Merger and Acquisition, treasury management, international finance, etc.
  • Advanced Performance Management (AFM) – Three questions covering 100 marks. This paper is based upon the principles of the Costing paper of the CA final exam. However, the level of examination and academic results of the ACCA paper is again more strategic in terms of decision-making in business environments, wherein the CA final exam is more linked to computational aspects. The complete paper has a strategic discussion on the topics rather than just solving problems. Unlike the CA exams, this goes one level above for the candidate to visualize the real organization dynamics and brings in the required strategic cost management aspects to the business.
  • Advanced Taxation UK (ATX) – Three questions covering 100 marks. This paper is based upon the taxation laws of the UK. It is recommended for those CA professionals who are working in the tax domain and are interested in working in taxation in the UK. Here there are over 32 variants of the paper-based in 32 different countries. Unfortunately, there is no Indian variant yet, but for an Indian, CA qualified it does not make sense to go for Advanced Taxation as aspects of taxation have been covered in detail.
  • Advanced Auditing & Assurance (AAA) – Three questions covering 100 marks. This paper is based upon the principles of international standards of auditing and focused on the needs of professionals in the audit domain. The questions are based upon real-life cases and cover the aspects of real-life scenarios. Therefore, a thorough understanding of auditing standards and their application is a must for attempting this paper. This paper covers how audits need to be conducted in various scenarios. In addition, it brings in the ethical requirements to be followed by auditors and envisions the role of auditors in a business environment.

The above exams provide an opportunity for Indian CA to get the skills of leadership, business, and strategy which were completely missing from the erstwhile CA course undertaken by them. This also enables Indian CAs to discover their entrepreneurial skills with the support of ACCA by taking the course after CA.

Considering all the above aspects of the examination and the structure of the course, obtaining an ACCA qualification is complementary to an Indian Chartered Accountant as it provides additional skill, knowledge, and global opportunities to an Indian CA to get a much better successful career journey in his life.

A qualified CA will have to spend an amount of Rs. 60,000 to 75,000 Fee to acquire ACCA qualification and get the additional recognition for their professional journey.

A lot of Indian CAs have the dilemma during selection of ACCA optional papers. Considering the aspects of knowledge and business, it is recommended that the papers of AFM and APM be taken up. This is since, in the cases of ATX and AAA, the learning for a CA professional would be limited. With regard to the compulsory papers, both are different for a CA professional and add a lot of value in their future professional career. Hence ACCA for an Indian CA will obviously benefit in acquiring better job prospects and salary.


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1 Comment

  1. varun sethupathi says:

    Thanks for sharing this info, keep posting

    Varun Sethupathi

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