CA vs ACCA - Which Course is Better? Detailed Comparison

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      CA vs ACCA – Which Course is Better? Detailed Comparison

      The most common question asked at the time of choosing the qualification is, ‘Should I pursue CA or ACCA? What is the difference between CA vs ACCA?

      Is ACCA better than CA?

      Is ACCA more difficult than CA?’

      The most common question asked at the time of choosing a qualification is, ‘Should I pursue ACCA vs CA in India? What is the difference between ACCA and CA? Is ACCA better than CA? What is the ACCA vs CA difficulty like?’ It’s time to find answers to all the ACCA and CA differences regarding salary, fees, difficulty, and duration are mentioned below as a summary, with the details of the differences mentioned further below:

      The ACCA and CA difference

      If becoming a Chartered Accountant is what you’ve been aiming for, with these two courses you can fulfill your dream, as they both allow you to practice Chartered Accountancy in India and 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 CA vs ACCA.

      acca vs ca

      What is ACCA Course

      The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course is a globally recognised with over 200,000 members and 600,000 students across 180+ countries. The ACCA qualification is considered the largest professional accounting qualification in the world. ACCA course is one of the most prestigious certifications in accounting and is preferred by many students who want to build a successful career abroad. This course is relevant in more than 180 countries.That’s 92 percent of the world!  The ACCA body also brings in more than 7,400 Approved Employers and 80 accountancy partnerships worldwide. In India, ACCA is said to be equivalent to CA and ACCA professionals are hired at the same salary in most companies such as PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, and BDO.

      Signing Authority

      Chartered Accountants (CA) have signing authority in India, with ICAI having the sole signing authority. ACCAs have signing authority in 90+ countries including UK, Dubai, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

      ACCA vs CA: Difficulty level

      If you consider the number of papers and the time taken to prepare for the exam CA seems like a tough option but that doesn’t mean that ACCA is easy and can be done easily. Just on the basis of passing percentage ACCA has a better passing rate than CA. But ACCA is recognized in 180 Countries, which gives you a wider and better career prospect and help you get global job opportunities.

      It is no surprise that the CA course is commonly considered to be harder than ACCA, considering the number of years, the number of papers, course levels and versatility of both courses. But, this is a completely subjective topic, and the results can differ from case to case.

      The flexibility in terms of tests and papers is one of the reasons why ACCA is slightly easier to handle than CA. Subjects are grouped together in CA. So, you will have to rewrite all the subjects in that group again if you fail a subject in that group. On the other hand, in ACCA, you will only have to retake the specific subject if you fail an exam and attempt as per your convenience.

      ACCA vs CA Syllabus

      Most of the subjects of CA and ACCA overlap, such as:

      • Accounting (IFRS vs Ind-AS)
      • Financial Management
      • Costing (called Performance Management in ACCA)
      • Audit & Assurance (International Standards vs Indian Standards)

      The primary difference between ACCA and CA is the Taxation subject – CA covers Indian tax and ACCA covers taxation of countries such as UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. We always suggest our students to opt for UK taxation as it is the closest to Indian taxation.

      ACCA vs CA: Exams Structure

      The primary difference between CA and ACCA exists in the exam structure.

      1. Group System

      ICAI insists we appear for exams in groups at the CA Foundation, IPCC and Final CA level. Most of these exams are split into Group 1 and Group 2, each comprising 4 exams. ACCA on the other hand enforces no such mandate. Students are allowed to appear for 1 exam at a time, upto 4 exams at a time – as per the student’s discretion.

      2. Aggregate System

      The reason why CA pass rates are so low compared to ACCA (40% globally) is due to the aggregate system. If a student fails any exam in CA by even 1 mark, the entire group is considered failed. The student has to re-appear for the entire group again. This makes it extremely difficult for CAs to clear the qualification.

      ACCAs have no such rule. If a student appears for 3 exams and fails 1, he is considered passed for the other 2. He can re-appear for the 1 he failed in with the next 2 papers. This allows students to pass these exams much faster.

      Frequency of attempts

      CA examinations are held bi-annually in May and November. ACCA examinations are held quarterly in March, June, September and December.

      Internship/ Articleship

      CAs have to complete their articleship period of 3 years after passing IPCC Group 1 and have to complete their articleship before appearing for their Final CA exam. They have to work in a CA firm for most of their articleship.

      ACCAs can start their 3 year work experience before, during or after their exams. The start and end date is left upto the discretion of the students. ACCA students also do not have to mandatorily work in a CA firm, although we always suggest students to follow this. We also suggest that the student should ideally work under a CA or an ACCA (this is not mandatory again). We recommend students to start working towards the end of their Skill Level, but this is completely optional.

      After the 36 months work experience, students must complete their Performance Objectives and Ethics Module to achieve holistic experience as per the ACCA rules.

      ACCA vs CA Duration

      ACCA students on an average take 2-3 years to complete the qualification. Students clearing the exams along with the 3 year work experience complete ACCA within 3-4 years.

      CA students on an average take 6-8 years to complete the qualification. Students clearing the exam in their first attempt take 5 years including articleship.


      ICAI provides no exemptions to students pursuing CA. ACCA provides many exemptions, such as:

      Graduation: 4 exemptions of 13 ACCA exams

      IPCC passed + Graduate: 6 exemptions of 13 ACCA exams

      CA qualified: 9 exemptions of 13 ACCA exams

      You can calculate exemptions you would receive based on your academic background using the ACCA exemptions calculator.

      Companies Hiring for ACCA vs CA

      ACCA vs CA earn the same salary packages in companies that hire both qualifications. Qualified members earn salaries between ₹6 to 8 lacs per annum as freshers.

      While CAs are definitely hired in all companies across India, ACCAs are hired more in MNCs such as the Big 4 (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY), Grant Thornton, BDO, etc. ACCAs are also hired in companies such as Standard Chartered, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Maersk, ICICI Securities, Abans, etc.

      ACCAs are hired in profiles such as Accounting Advisory that deals with IFRS, Risk Advisory, Internal Audit, Statutory Audit, Forensic Audit, Mergers & Acquisitions, Valuations, etc.

      ACCA vs CA: Salary and Jobs

      While ACCA has a wider global reach as compared to CA, the salary one can achieve as an ACCA has more growth. CA on the other hand, has a great demand in India. Here is a glimpse into the average salary of ACCA and CIMA in India.

      Average ACCA Salary

      acca salary


      CA Salary in India 


      ACCA vs CA Fees

      CA would cost ₹2 to 2.5 lacs over the span of the course. And ACCA would cost ₹3.5 to 4.5 lacs depending on the GBP rate and exemptions you would be entitled to. However, their ROI is what you should be taking into consideration.

      ACCA with CA

      A lot of students that have completed CA or even partially completed CA (passed IPCC) can complete ACCA without wasting much time.

      IPCC complete + Graduate: 6 exemptions of 13 exams in ACCA

      Final CA complete: 9 exemptions of 13 exams in ACCA

      This would make it extremely easy for students to complete ACCA along with CA!

      IPCC students can complete 7 ACCA exams in 1 to 1.5 years along with their articleship.

      CA qualified members can complete 4 ACCA exams in 6 months along with their job and earn themselves an international and global certification with CA.

      The ACCA qualification is recognized 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 Zell Education’s Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course to learn more.


      Is ACCA or CA better?
      In terms of global scope and wider opportunities, ACCA is a better course to consider as it makes you a global CA.

      Which is harder, ACCA or CA?
      While both the courses are difficult to clear, the ACCA body is more flexible in terms of examinations, exemptions and mandatory work experience.

      Is ACCA equal to CA?
      Yes, in the accounting world, ACCA equals CA. However, ACCA is a more widely accepted course as compared to CA.


      Anant Bengani, brings expertise as a Chartered Accountant and a leading figure in finance and accounting education. He’s dedicated to empowering learners with the finest financial knowledge and skills.

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