ACCA Vs CPA : Difference & Which is Better Career Option?

Is Association of Chartered Certified Accountants better than CPA? Who earns more ACCA or CPA? Can I do ACCA and CPA together? There are plenty of questions that come into mind when you think about choosing a course between ACCA and CPA. While Certified Public Accountant (CPA) makes you the Chartered Accountant of the US, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course makes you a global Chartered Accountant. This means you can practice Chartered Accountancy in 180 different countries. Before we get into the differences, there are some similarities between the two courses that you should take note of before you make your final decision. 

If becoming a Chartered Accountant is what you’ve been aiming for, with these two courses you can fulfil your dream, as they both allow you to practice Chartered Accountancy overseas. Additionally, these two courses hold immense prestige in the world of accountancy. Professionals with this degree are welcomed into the corporate world with interesting job opportunities and impressive salary packages. However, to know more about the differences between these two accounting courses, here’s a detailed differentiation between ACCA vs CPA in India.

Is ACCA Harder than CPA?


A question that’s often asked by several students; the toughness of the syllabus along with the number of papers that one needs to appear for, really makes a difference. While both the courses are tough to clear in their places, here are some differentiating factors that help us understand which course might be easier to take up and clear.

Differentiators ACCA US CPA
Duration 6 to 24 months 12 to 18 months
Number of Papers 15 papers 4 papers
Maximum Exemptions 9 No exemptions
Passing Rate 40 to 50% AUD – 52%, BEC – 65%, FAR – 50%, REG – 62%

Looking at these numbers you may think that both these papers are equally tough, however, there’s a possibility to complete US CPA in a shorter period of time due to the number of papers that you need to appear for. In both these courses, the professionals are well versed with IFRS which is the international accounting standard. ACCA Course has about 16 subjective exams and US CPA Course has all 4 objective-based examinations.

What has Better Scope ACCA or US CPA?

When it comes to better scope in career for ACCA or CPA, both these courses are globally recognised and add value to your accounting career. As per certain renowned universities, US CPA is considered to be more prestigious than ACCA as the entry requirement for CPA is equivalent to a master’s degree with stringent work experience that needs to be showcased. But when it comes to scope, here are parameters that you should take a look at.

Differentiators ACCA US CPA
Global Acceptance 180 countries Recognised in the US and anywhere with US regional offices
Audit Can audit in several countries except the US and India Audit for Federal and State levels in the US
Job Roles Financial Accountant

Management Accountant

Corporate Treasurer

Financial Controller

Finance Manager

Corporate Controller

Public Accounting

Tax Examiner

Business System Analyst

Forensic Services

Salary INR 5lpa to 16lpa $38,000 to $90,000

Average Salary of an ACCA professional 


Average salary of a US CPA in the US


Top employers of ACCA and US CPA?

From the above comparison, your weighing scales must probably be favouring ACCA due to the opportunities and high salary package it has to offer. But, we’d recommend you hold on just for a bit and check out the top hiring firms for these two professions and then make your final decision. Since it’s going to be the decision of a lifetime, it’s best to consider all parameters. So here’s another interesting comparison of the companies that might require your skillset after you choose any of these courses. And what they are willing to offer. 

Top Hiring firms for ACCA


Top Hiring firms for US CPA


What are the Eligibility Criteria for ACCA and US CPA?

Now that you’ve got a fair idea of the job opportunities, scope, salary and other details of the ACCA, it’s time to consider how difficult would it be to take up these courses. And by that, we mean considering the ACCA eligibility criteria. Here are some of the eligibility requirements you need to fulfil before you can qualify as an ACCA or US CPA professional.

Requirements ACCA US CPA
Documents Students should have qualified for their 10+2 examinations with an aggregate of 65% in Mathematics / Accounts and English, and a minimum of 50% in other subjects.  You will require 120 credits to appear for the CPA examination and 150 credits to achieve the certification and title.
Students’ degree Students who have just cleared their class 10 examinations, or do not qualify as per the aforementioned criteria, can still register for the ACCA qualification via Foundation in Accountancy (FIA) route.  You can also appear for the CPA exam if you are an international CPA candidate from India and a first division graduate in any three-year commerce degree from a NAAC-A-rated university. 
Work experience 36 months 2000 hours( covered in a minimum of 2 years)

Which course is better, ACCA or US CPA?

Both the accounting courses Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Accountant of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) are equally important in their own places. While US CPA is a USA based Couse, ACCA is a UK based course and will enable you to get better opportunities in that country. So based on your learning, opportunity, growth, work and living preferences, you should make a choice that suits you the best. And no matter what course you choose, we at Zell Education would be there to guide you.

The ACCA qualification is recognised in over 180 countries including Canada, Singapore, and Australia. If you’ve made the decision to become a global CA and are contemplating your next move, we can help you take a step forward. Check out our Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course to learn more.

The US CPA qualification is recognised worldwide and can open doors to opportunities in Europe, Asia and North America. If you are an accounting professional looking to boost your career or just curious to learn about the course, we suggest you check out our Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course to learn more.

What are my career opportunities after CPA?

Opportunities exist in all areas of the business world including accounting, auditing, corporate finance, financial advisory, investment banking, corporate governance, tax, IT, etc.

Can I do US CPA if I'm in my first year?

Unfortunately, being a graduate is the minimum requirement for pursuing US CPA.

Is it worth doing ACCA if I'm a CA?

Yes it is worth doing ACCA after CA, as you will get an additional professional qualification that is globally recognized. In addition fully qualified CAs will get exempted from the first 9 ACCA papers

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