ACCA vs ACA: What's the Difference? - ZELL Education

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      ACCA vs ACA: What’s the Difference?

      Are you an accounting enthusiast considering which career path will yield the best results? Well, you are not alone, as most aspirants have difficulty figuring out what will be best for a secure future full of exciting opportunities. 

      ACCA and ACA are two of the most talked about accounting courses with global acceptance. Both of them come with a host of advantages, similarities, and dissimilarities that you should consider before you make a choice.

      If you are looking for answers to ACCA vs ACA salary, ACCA vs ACA difficulty, and other aspects of the two courses, then you are at the right place. Read on to learn more. 

      What is ACCA?

      If you are unable to decide if ACCA is better than ACA, we have made a list of all the features of ACCA, its advantages, and eligibility so that choosing one over the other becomes easier.
      The ACCA qualification is the finance industry’s top accounting credential. Students who complete the ACCA course acquire the skills and competency they need to excel in the accounting field and steer their organisations into the future.
      The ACCA career path has enormous scope worldwide. It is recognised in more than 180 countries, including Singapore, Canada, and the UAE.
      In addition, the ACCA course has several entry points which make it viable for candidates from various backgrounds and competencies. Students of finance or even working finance professionals can take up this course.


      Listed below are the eligibility criteria for the ACCA course:

      • ACCA aspirants must complete their 10th grade examinations. 
      • Aspirants must secure a minimum of 65% in mathematics, accountancy, and English and at least 50% in other subjects. 
      • Aspirants who do not fulfil the conditions mentioned above can opt for the ACCA course via the Foundation in Accountancy (FIA) route. 

      If you want to take up ACCA, don’t forget to check out our blog on the best ACCA books you must read for reference.

      Why Pursue ACCA?

      There are several benefits of pursuing an ACCA course. Some of the advantages you will be exposed to are listed below:

      • The ACCA qualification is recognised in as many as 180+ countries, making you employable in almost any part of the world. No matter where you go, you will never have a dearth of job opportunities.
      • The exams are conducted in quarterly sessions, and certain exams are also conducted on demand. This gives you the freedom to complete all the levels of exams at your own pace.
      • ACCA-qualified professionals are in demand globally because of their ability to advance their organisations via strategic thinking, technical proficiency, and professional values.
      • You gain a thorough understanding of accounting and financial topics through ACCA. Additionally, an ACCA course will help you stay current on all new tax law developments and accounting industry standards and regulations.

      Check out our blog “7 Reasons to do an ACCA Course: Why do ACCA? if you want detailed insights into why you should do an ACCA certification.

      What is ACA?

      ACA is one of the most cutting-edge professional development programmes offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. Candidates must go through three levels of exams to be an ACA. Additionally, they need 450 days of practical work experience.
      The ACA qualification helps individuals strengthen their technical and administrative abilities and capacity for sound decision-making. The ACA qualification can significantly broaden the employment scope for professionals and expose them to exciting salary packages.

      ACA Course Details


      Here are the eligibility criteria for taking the ACA course:

      • Candidates must have an accredited college or university degree in the UK or Ireland, as well as GCSEs, A levels, and Scottish Qualification Certificates. 
      • For overseas students, entry can also be based on professional accounting degrees

      Why Pursue ACA?

      • Whether the market is booming or in a slump, having the ACA certificate will guarantee that you are qualified to manage various financial operations within any business.
      • The ICAEW offers adequate post-qualification support, a one-of-a-kind gesture. This allows students to improve themselves continually and stay at the top of their professions.
      • Graduates from a finance background as school graduates can obtain the ACA qualification.
      • Most professional courses fail to provide you with a technical understanding and a practical approach. But an ACA qualification gives both. 

      ACCA vs ACA: Key Differences

      Is ACA better than ACCA? Or is ACCA the better choice? These questions come to every finance aspirant’s mind all the time. 

      The table below summarises the key differences between ACCA and ACA:

      Point of comparison ACCA ACA
      Organising body ACCA is conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Institute, United Kingdom.  ACA is conducted by the Institute of Charted Accountants of England and Wales. It is the acronym for Associated Chartered Accountant. 
      Levels The ACCA has three levels of exams:

      Applied Knowledge 

      Applied Skills

      Essentials exam and Options exams

      The Applied Knowledge paper comprises three exams, and the Applied Skills paper has six. There are two Essentials exams and four Options exams.  

      The ACA includes three levels: 




      The Certificate and Professional levels each have six exams, while the Advanced level has three exams in total.

      Duration The duration of this course is 3-4 years.  The course duration is 3 years. 
      Syllabus Key areas covered by the ACCA syllabus are:


      Financial Reporting

      Financial Management

      Accounting and Auditing

      Ethical and Professional Standards

      Some of the main areas covered in the ACA syllabus are:

      Financial Accounting & Reporting

      Corporate Reporting

      Business & Finance

      Management Information

      Business Planning 

      Audit and Assurance


      Business Strategy

      Job roles Some of the job roles that ACCA qualified candidates get offered are:

      Financial Accountant

      Financial Controller


      Tax Consultant

      Some typical job roles after ACA qualification are:

      Forensic Accountant

      Business Analyst 

      Internal Auditor

      Finance Manager

      Read more about Career options after ACCA.

      Wrapping up

      Both ACCA and ACA expose aspirants to rewarding career opportunities. However, it might be overwhelming to choose one over the other. Questions like “ACCA vs ACA salary” or “ACCA vs ACA difficulty” are common and essential to address before making a decision.

      With Zell Education, you can take a step closer to realising your dreams of becoming a certified ACCA. Through individualised study programmes, interactive online classes, and faculty coaching, Zell attempts to enable comprehensive skill development. The curriculum stands out due to its 80% pass rate, one-on-one mentorship, and 100% placement help.


      What’s the difference between ACCA and ACA?
      ACA offers in-depth knowledge in financial management, tax compliance, and accounting and reporting. On the other hand, ACCA helps candidates gain expertise in global accounting, auditing, and taxation, among others.

      Can I do both ACCA and ACA?
      Yes. Since there are several entry points to both these courses, you can pursue both these qualifications.

      Is ACA tougher than CA?
      It is difficult to draw comparisons on which one is tougher. However, an ACA qualification can be completed in three years, whereas people take several years to complete CA.

      Is ACA the hardest?
      The ACA exam is undoubtedly challenging. It is one of India’s top 10 most difficult exams.


      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

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