ACCA vs. ACA: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Difference

There are numerous ways to pursue your career aspirations, so it’s vital to think about which qualifications would best support your chosen path while making career plans. Although the ACA and ACCA are both esteemed accounting certifications that can lead to a multitude of great job opportunities, there are also notable distinctions between the two.

 In what way, therefore, do these paths differ? To help you understand the key differences between the two qualifications, we put together a guide on ACCA and ACA courses. The information that we have compiled will help you in choosing which course to take, even if the pay for ACA and ACCA-qualified accountants may differ depending on a number of circumstances.

 ACA (ICAEW) vs ACCA – A Quick Introduction

The ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) is a great choice seeking excellence in management accounting, auditing, accounting, taxation, etc. can receive assistance from. On the other hand, the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) provides a comprehensive understanding of accounting, reporting, tax compliance, and financial management. Both the ACA and ACCA are well-known internationally and offer a variety of job opportunities. ACA is more suitable for individuals who want to work in auditing and accounting. On the other hand, ACCA provides prospects for people who want to work in corporate business, financial management, taxation, management accounting, or the financial services sector.

Understanding the Difference Between ACA and ACCA

 Knowing the key differences between the ACCA and ACA will help you make an informed choice if you’re unsure whether to obtain one of them.

Eligibility criteria

Five secondary school diplomas are the minimal prerequisite for admission to the ACCA qualification. This comprises two A-Levels at grades A* through C and three GCSEs or the equivalent at grades 4 through 9. It is required that you receive two GCSEs in math and English. Although completing a university education prior to applying to this course is not required, earning a degree from an ACCA-accredited institution may result in some exam exemptions.

As an alternative, there are other ways to get qualified for the ACA. Relevant degrees, GCSEs, A levels, and Scottish Qualification Certificates (SQCs) are accepted by ICAEW. It is necessary that you get a training agreement with an ICAEW-authorized training employer prior to registering for the ACA qualification.

Course Duration 

Students must complete all exam components for the ACCA within ten years of their first exam result being successful. However, the certification course normally takes three to four years for students to finish. Candidates have three years to complete the ACA qualification.

Exam schedules

Additional exam entry dates for the ACA qualification are offered all year. For instance, students who are taking certificate-level exams can finish them whenever they want. Professional-level tests typically take place over two days in March, June, September, and December, while advanced-level exams, depending on your option, take place over two days in July or November. In contrast, exams for those obtaining the ACCA qualification are administered across four days between March and June.


The ACCA certification may set you back anywhere from £1,200 to £2,000. The ACCA primary registration charge is £89, and additional payments for exams, annual subscriptions, and exemptions are also included in this price. Exam fees vary depending on when you register, which is the cause of the cost variance.

The number of courses you finish determines how much the ACA qualification costs. The price points for advanced and certificate levels vary from £72 to £175. The course’s case study component is £267.


Students must pass a maximum of 13 tests in addition to the professional skills and ethics module to earn the ACCA certificate. Depending on your background and credentials, you may be exempt from some of these tests or need to take them all. Completing three years of practical experience in a relevant role that allows you to work while you study is another requirement of the course. This almost three-year experience equates to 450 hours of work.

Students must also finish a 450-day relevant work experience component as part of ICAEW. The organization requests that students finish this program under the supervision of an authorized training principal or employer. Usually, this work experience lasts between three and five years. Students take fifteen exam modules covering the professional, advanced, and certificate levels of the course in conjunction with the work experience component.

Final Thoughts 

Aspirants have access to fulfilling job opportunities through both ACCA and ACA. To pick one over the other, though, could be daunting. It is important to consider popular questions like “ACCA vs. ACA salary” and “ACCA vs. ACA difficulty” before making a decision. 

You can get one step closer to being an ACCA-certified professional with Mirchawala’s Hub of Accountancy. In an effort to facilitate all-encompassing skill development, Mirchawala’s offers faculty mentoring, interactive online classes, and individualized study plans. The curriculum is distinctive since it provides 100% placement assistance, one-on-one guidance, and an 90% pass rate.

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