Commerce as a subject offers a wide range of opportunities, and sometimes it becomes challenging to choose a plan for the future. In that case, it becomes necessary to do thorough research regarding the potential career paths you can choose based on your strengths and interests. Even then, it is natural to have fear and be confused regarding the future. Are you too in that point of life where you are overwhelmed with the number of choices available and have difficulty singling out the one that would work the best for you? Don’t worry; we are here to help you out. After all, the urge to be better is a driving force behind making decisions for the future.
Our focus in this article will be on the ACCA examination, which offers a great opportunity and a lucrative career post-completion.
What is ACCA?
ACCA, or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is a global body for professional accountants worldwide, just like ICAI is the Indian body for CAs of India. ACCA conducts examinations to induct young professionals into accountancy globally. Once you qualify for the exam, you become a Global Chartered Accountant and an ACCA member. You are eligible to practice in most countries across the world once you qualify for the exam.
What are the career prospects after ACCA?
Before deciding upon whether or not to go for this particular course, it is necessary to know the options and opportunities possible after that. The demand for accountants is increasing every day. This implies that the prospects of a Chartered or a global Chartered Accountant are on the rise too. According to the Times of India, there has been a 37% increase in the demand for CAs. Several MNCs, including the big four consulting companies, hire Chartered Certified Accountants in consulting, finance and taxation with attractive packages. If you prefer to be self-employed, you can also offer consultancy services through your firm.
Eligibility for ACCA
You have to be more than 18 years old and should have qualified for the higher secondary exams with at least 65% in Mathematics/Accounts as well as English, and 50% in other subjects. Commerce graduates, as well as CAs, can appear for the examination as well. You will be offered exemptions from specific papers depending upon your prior knowledge.
How to become a ACCA Certified Accountant?
There are a total of 13 exams to be cleared divided into 3 broad levels- Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Strategic Professional.
1. Applied Knowledge – The First Level
These exams prepare students for the initial foray into the world of finance and techniques in accounting. You can take these exams any time of the year according to your will. These are also known as on-demand exams. You just have to contact the centre offering on-demand exams and pay the required amount to book your preferred day of the exam. Commerce graduates, CA IPCC, and the CAs are generally exempted from these exams. However, if you appear for the exams straight out of senior secondary high school, you will be required to give all 3 Applied Knowledge exams. These computer-based exams have a duration of 3 hours. A total of 50 questions each have to be answered for 100 marks in total. You need to score at least 50% in each exam to clear the first level.
The four exams which come under the Applied Knowledge Level-
- Accountant in Business (AB)
- Financial Accounting (FA)
- Management Accounting (MA)
2. Applied Skills – The Second Level
They are conducted every March, June, September, and December. These exams are designed to test the candidate’s existing knowledge. They check the candidate’s understanding in the field of finance and accounting and ascertain whether you have the expertise needed to be an accountant in different industries. The papers here are divided into two sections with a mix of MCQs and scenario-based questions. The exam duration is 3 hours, and the passing percentage is 50.
The exams which come under Applied Skills Level are-
- Corporate and Business Law (LW)
- Taxation (TX)
- Financial Reporting (FR)
- Performance Management (PM)
- Financial Management (FM)
- Audit and Assurance (AA)
Commerce graduates are exempted from attempting Corporate and Business Law exams. CA IPCC is exempted from appearing for Taxation and, Audit and Assurance exams. If you are a CA, you can skip these exams altogether and directly proceed to the next level.
These 9 papers of knowledge and skills come under the category of fundamental combined.
3. Strategic Professional – The Third Level
These exams prepare you more extensively for the career you will have in the future. These examinations will prepare you for leadership positions and help you specialize in the field that best suits your job. You will have to complete 2 essential exams and choose the other 2 out of the 4 options available.
- Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
- Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
Choose 2 out of these 4:
- Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
- Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)
- Advanced Taxation (ATX)
- Advanced Performance Management (APM)
The importance of having practical experience-
Being excellent in theoretical know-how of the subject is not the only requirement for any field these days. It is equally, if not more important, to know how to apply the knowledge in real life. For this reason, a minimum of 36 months of work experience is needed to qualify as an ACCA member. Practical experience in a relevant industry or field helps you enhance your confidence and knowledge as you work with experienced and like-minded people.
Some tips for cracking the examination-
As there are 13 papers in total to be completed, it is natural to feel a bit burdened while preparing for the same. The key to cracking competitive exams like these is patience and consistency. You should study regularly and have a proper aim in mind. You must take a step-by-step approach and focus on each of the 3 levels. A thorough understanding of the syllabus and question pattern is necessary and expected. Exams test not only your intelligence but also your rigour and grit. Being focused and calm during the exams will help you ace them.
Here’s what a ACCA earns on average-
Being an ACCA-certified Chartered Accountant can get you an average salary of INR 8 lpa in India, although it varies depending on your skills and experience. This figure can significantly improve if you take a job abroad. The ACCA finalists get an average salary of EUR 30,700 annually. It is important to consider the cost of living in these countries before selecting the country you wish to settle in.
We hope this article has provided you with some insights regarding the ACCA. Global Chartered Accountant is one of the many career paths you can choose for your future. There is no doubt that the opportunities offered by this exam are many. You must do an in-depth analysis of many other alternate professions before you make the final call. You should also look into whether your career goals and aspirations align with what this profession offers. We are confident that you will make the right choice and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
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 our Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course to learn more. To advance your portfolio and build professional skills, try Zell Education’s interactive courses that offer flexible training timings. Get in touch at +91 7208885600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can the exams be taken in any order?
There are 3 levels of the exam. You can proceed to the next level once you have cleared the previous levels. However, it is possible to take exams of a particular level in any order.
How many times can one appear for the exam?
There are a total of 4 exam cycles in a year. You take up to 4 exams during each cycle and a maximum of 8 different exams in a single calendar year.
What is the 7-year rule in ACCA?
According to the 7-year rule, if you pass one of the Strategic Professional exams, you have 7 years to pass all the papers of the Strategic Professional exams and hence finish with all the 13 papers of the exam and become a certified Global Chartered Accountant.