The ACCA designation (i.e., Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a professional qualification you may want to obtain if you’re considering accountancy as a career.
Why become an ACCA professional? What are the ACCA eligibility requirements, and what must you do to obtain the ACCA designation? This article will discuss these and more, so read on.
Why Obtain the ACCA Qualification
ACCA is your ticket to a thriving career as an accounting professional.
1. Go Global
The ACCA qualification gives you access to local and international career opportunities. ACCA has over 247,000 members in 181 countries; its global recognition will let you work anywhere.
2. Be the Cream of the Crop
Having ACCA on your resume is like having a VIP badge. ACCA professionals have a reputation for having the perfect mix of strategic thinking, technical know-how and professional values.
Employers know about ACCA and prefer ACCA professionals. According to ACCA Global Talent Trends Survey 2023, ACCA has a net promoter score of +50.9. Eighty-seven percent of employers also report being satisfied with ACCA.
3. Get the Best Support
The ACCA membership organization gives ample support to its members. Aside from actively promoting the credibility of the ACCA designation among employers globally, it provides ACCA members with a searchable directory of ACCA-approved employers and a handy list of continuing professional development (CPD) resources.
Those preparing for the ACCA qualification exams can access learning resources, including examiner tips, practice tests and specimen exams. There are also resources for honing English and math skills.
The best way to prepare for the ACCA exams is to take a dedicated ACCA course from a learning provider that can give you all the resources and information you need to pass your ACCA exams, including onsite and online tuition, review classes, mock exams, a reviewer kit, a study planner guide, a study group, and personalized tutor support, among many other benefits.
4. Progress at Your Own Pace
ACCA has multiple exam testing dates. There’s at least one set per quarter, and some are even available on demand. You’re free to schedule your exams according to your availability and convenience, and you can take as much time as you need on the applied knowledge and applied skills exams.
Note, however, that while you can learn at your own pace and schedule your exams at your convenience, ACCA has a time limit for strategic professional exams. You have seven years from passing your first strategic professional exam to pass three more.
5. Network Like a Pro
Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? As an ACCA member, you’re part of a massive global network of accounting professionals with whom you can form lasting, real-world connections wherever you go.
6. Prove Your Mettle
Earning the ACCA designation is one surefire way of showcasing your determination as an accounting professional. The world knows what it takes to get an ACCA: 13 exams, a comprehensive ethics and professional skills module and at least three years of practical and relevant experience.
7. Boost Your Confidence
The field of accountancy can be competitive. Having the ACCA qualification under your belt gives you a significant edge over other candidates.
Completing the first nine fundamental ACCA levels is akin to having an accounting degree. Attaining the four strategic professional levels is similar to completing a master’s degree. Add to that the ethics and professional module and the three years of relevant work experience, and you can see that the ACCA rigorous qualification process instills subject matter and professional accounting mastery in its members.
This mastery will give you confidence about your competitiveness in the job market.
8. Gain Access to Other Professional Qualifications
ACCA members typically benefit from expedited pathways in other professional qualifications. For instance, an ACCA member can become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) by taking one exam (the CIA challenge exam) instead of three CIA exams. Alternatively, they can take all three CIA exams but forgo the program’s educational and professional experience requirements.
School leavers with at least three general certificates of secondary education (GCSE) passes and two Advanced (A) levels, each in a distinct subject and at least two of which are math and English, may start studying for the ACCA qualification. If you did not take GCSE and A-level exams, ACCA specifies equivalent education credentials on its website.
For instance, applicants from the United Arab Emirates must present a university diploma to be eligible for entry into the ACCA program. Meanwhile, those from the United States must have a high school diploma plus a grade of three or higher in the advanced placement examination (APE) for at least three subjects.
How to Become an ACCA Member
If you satisfy the minimum entry requirement, you can register for the ACCA program.
1. Register for ACCA qualification.
Create a profile on the ACCA website and upload the documents proving you meet the qualification’s minimum entry requirements. You’ll need to pay certain fees.
2. Pass the nine fundamental exams.
Sit for and pass these nine exams.
- Applied Knowledge Exams: Business technology, management accounting, and financial accounting
- Applied Skills Exams: Corporate and business law, performance management, taxation, financial reporting, audit and assurance, and financial management
3. Complete the ethics and professional skills module.
This module has 10 units, each helping you learn a specific skill (e.g., data analytics, commercial awareness, leadership) and, of course, ethics and professionalism. After completing all units, you must take the module assessment.
4. Pass the strategic professional exams.
You need to pass four strategic professional level exams: two are essential exams, while two are from a list of optional exams.
- Strategic Professional Essential Exams: Strategic business leader and strategic business reporting
- Strategic Professional Optional Exams (choose two): Advanced financial management, advanced performance management, advanced taxation, and advanced audit and assurance
You have seven years after passing the first strategic professional exam to pass three more strategic professional exams.
5. Accomplish your practical experience requirement.
If you have relevant, practical experience in accountancy, gather your supporting documents and log them in your ACCA applicant profile. You may gain work experience before you register for the ACCA exams, while you’re completing your exams or even after you have completed all exams and even the ethics and professional skills module.
6. Complete all your requirements.
You must upload all supporting documents as and when they become available. Submit your application for assessment once you have completed all requirements.
Become an ACCA Accounting Professional
If you want to become an accounting professional, consider becoming an ACCA member. The ACCA designation is your gateway to a thriving international accountancy career.