What is the difference between CA and ACCA?

Chartered Accountancy (CA)

Chartered Accountancy is not a bachelor’s or master’s degree, rather it is a professional course. Chartered Accountancy is a gratifying career in various fields of business and finance. Individuals who pursue CA can follow many career paths including

  • Financial management
  • Analysis
  • Reporting
  • Taxation
  • Risk compliance
  • Control management
  • Auditing
  • Other specific roles in financial analysis such as investment analysis or fund management or private equity

It requires the study of accountancy, auditing, economics, taxation, corporate laws, corporate finance, and management systems. Chartered accountants can work in private as well as public sectors.

Skills required to become a CA

To become a CA, one needs to be motivated, consistent, have patience, possess analytical skills and numerical ability, and a deep sense of business and finance world. He/she should be determined in achieving his goals, should be willing to choose to his studies over his social life if needed.

CA in different countries

Many countries impose various rules and regulations on the qualification process of a CA.

  1. In Pakistan, you can start pursuing CA after completing intermediate/A- Levels. For that, you must obtain the membership of ICAP, a clear set of 21 papers along 4 levels of CA studies, and also complete your 3-year articles.
  2. In New Zealand, the promising accountant must have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree covering accounting and business topics. Then the candidates must complete a practical program and, finally, a CA program.
  3. In Canada, people wanting to become a CA must have an undergraduate degree with coursework in both business and accounting areas. Only then, they can enroll in a professional education program to qualify as Chartered Accountant.
  4. Becoming a CA in the USA requires a bachelor’s degree as well as additional schooling, after completing the professional course, they are known as CPA (Certified Public Accountant). The main variance between CPAs and CAs is that CA is the nomination used by majority of countries while CPA is only used by the United States. Around the World, the CPA acronym can refer to various types of professionals for accountant, like in Canada CPA is the acronym for a chartered professional accountant, while in Australia, a CPA is a certified practicing accountant.

Pros of CA

  • The fee structure of CA is comparatively affordable.
  • Attestation authority lies with CAs.
  • CA is highly in demand as compared to other accounting professionals.
  • CAs can always have more opportunities to work overseas, as it is recognized by a number of countries.

Cons of CA

  • The passing rate of CA is relatively low, it lies between 4-5%
  • It requires more time for completion.
  • Most of the time stipend during CA article ship is very low.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

ACCA was founded in 1904 and its headquarters are in London with a principal administrative office in Glasgow. ACCA is a global professional body working on issuing highly valued international modification in business. The organization has over half a million members and has students in 170 countries. The member states of the European Union and the United Nations have also recognized it.

ACCA Qualification:

To qualify as an ACCA, you have to clear 13 professional examinations and have 3 years of relevant accountancy and practical experience which you can achieve from working in any business sector. Examination are held 4 times in a year; in March, June, September, and December. ACCA professional qualification covers

  • Financial Statements
  • Management Accounting
  • Taxation
  • Law
  • Auditing
  • Business ethics
  • Business Communication.

 It appears to lack a regulatory authority but, it attempts to achieve this indirectly by affiliation with national regulatory and educational bodies.

Pros of ACCA

  • ACCA is globally recognized qualification which allows to work in 180 countries.
  • ACCA includes both management and accounting skills which means that it’s much easier to move between roles within the profession.
  • The duration of the course is less than other courses, this course could be completed within 2 years.
  • ACCA has a higher passing rate as compared to CA, the result can be seen as 40-50% internally.

Cons of ACCA

  • ACCA is global and not related to any country so local professionals would be preferred.
  • ACCA are not allowed to attest.
  • Exam fee is relatively expensive.
  • Lack of ACCA institutes in some countries.

Similarity and Difference between CA and ACCA

There are many similarities between the curriculum of both CA and ACCA, even the basis of the major subjects in these professional courses are the same. They have similar responsibilities and students experience the same amount of pressure in both of these courses. The major difference between them is that CA is a local qualification degree, whereas ACCA is worldwide professional degree.

CA qualification is different in different countries under country law and regulatory bodies like ICAP, ICAI, ICAEW in Pakistan, India, and England and wales. While ACCA qualification seems to be a consistent approach to learning among its many learning centers established within the countries in which it is established.

Chartered accountants who want to work in another country, will have to pass a certain test following the requirement of that particular country to work as a CA over there as certification does not generally guarantee compliance with the particular regulatory requirements of the concerned country. In this case, ACCA is at an advantage as it is a global qualification and an opportunity for students to prepare for eventual accreditation. Mostly in Middle East countries, CA is considered superior to ACCA while in Western countries CA is inferior to ACCA.


 People qualified with CA and ACCA have similar responsibilities and these professional qualifications support each other and also provide exemptions to its candidates. Qualified CA can also pursue ACCA easily and in less time by utilizing the exemptions provided to them as he will only have to clear 4 out of 13 papers.

The same is the case here as well, if a qualified CA also wants to pursue ACCA then he will be provided with 7 exemptions in CA. Also, a person can shift from CA to ACCA after completing CA inter, if he had a change of mind, he will be provided with exemptions over here as well.

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