ACCA stands for Association of Certified Chartered Accountant is a Chartered Accountant degree which is given by Association of Chartered Accountant with headquarters situated at London. The role of Work is related to inspection of accounting services to the public, private entities
CPA US course stands for Certified Public Accountant and the degree is provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The field of work is related to license to accounting services to the public. To maintain the law and procedure these specialized degree holders are required to guide individuals, Small and mid-size firms and MNCs. When pertinent question arises which course, are you planning to do further, ACCA certification or US CPA exam? Will you be aiming to do both in the future? If you are confused about your plans just have a look in this article.
1.What is ACCA?
The ACCA or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a body that recognizes the qualification of a CA. ACCA is a global body based in Glasgow UK which works in the interest of the public to ensure that the chartered accountants work according to the principles-based and ensures that the regulations set are properly followed.
The ACCA offers the certification in chartered accountancy and the exam known as ACCA is most recognized in the commonwealth countries. The degree was given with the intention to give protection.
The ACCA Exam consists of 14 papers and emphasis is given on the core values of integrity, accountability, diversity, and innovations, etc. The degree is accepted globally across 180 countries. The Degree has its own reputation of one hundred years and the professionals have provided services to more than 7500 employers across a different field. The 3 important steps of ACCA are applied knowledge (Diploma), Applied Skills (Advance Diploma) and essentials.
Both ACCA and CPA US course are highly qualified Accounting courses designed for professionals who are interested in making a career in Accounting, Taxation, Auditing, and Finance.
2.What is CPA US course?
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) holds the Certified Public Accountant (CPA US course) exam which is recognized across the globe for its competence. The AICPA is the largest accounting body in the world and anyone who wishes to work in the US or has to work with US-based clients requires taking the examination held by the AICPA. 55 states in the US have been granted the license to conduct the CPA certified exams. Each state has its own licensing requirements and pattern of the exam as none of them is controlled by any centralized body.
CPA US course can also choose any stream in Finance Field starting from Management Accounting, Financial Analyst, Auditing, Taxation, Finance Controlling, etc. The course itself includes Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination organized by AICPA and after the exam is passed there are certain procedures which include certain ethics and the candidates have to abide by the regulatory framework guided by the respective governing body.
The professionals are entitled to Audit for Federal and State levels and can act as consultants who could guide several business houses and can act as consultants of several small and mid-size firms, for tax and audit purposes also.
Practical benefits of US CPA course – Becoming a CPA US in India is an aspiration for many finance professionals and accountants. Most CPAs agree that becoming a US CPA completely transformed their career. Please follow the link for further reading.
3. CPA US course vs ACCA: Application & Qualification
The most significant differences between ACCA and CPA are in the qualifications and the application processes.
3.1 CPA US course
For US CPA course candidates must have a minimum of a 4-year bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree to get a US CPA license. Almost all jurisdictions require CPAs to have at least 150 credit hours of higher education, equivalent to 5 years of full-time study (or a US master’s degree).
Before you can even sign up to take the exam, your state board will review your educational background. Then, once you are approved for the exam and receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS), you are on your own to get prepared. It is to be noted that the US CPA exam is a “qualifying exam,” not a “program.” In programs such as the ACCA and CIMA, you can get textbooks from the exam administrator, follow a syllabus, and study accordingly. CPA State Boards do not provide any courses or study materials for the US CPA Exam. In addition to passing the US CPA Exam (and an ethics exam in some states), candidates must also have 150 hours of education and at least one year of qualified experience.
The ACCA entry level is much lower than the CPA US course. Plus, the ACCA has two entry points depending on your education and experience. The ACCA labels these levels as “ACCA Foundations in Accountancy” and the “ACCA Qualification” level.
The foundation level is for people who are new to accountancy and don’t have an education threshold. It’s also the best place to start for people working in finance but who don’t have adequate education levels or qualifications to apply for higher-level positions. The exams at the Foundations level test your understanding of basic accounting principles. Basically, the ACCA feels that you should have mastered these topics before going for the ACCA Qualification exams.
If you’re passing the ACCA exam after CPA, you probably already have this level of knowledge. If you have more experience and/or education, you can start at the ACCA Qualification level.
The ACCA’s exact requirements state that you can begin at this level “as long as you have 3 GCSEs and 2 A Levels in 5 separate subjects including maths and English.” Basically, this means you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, if you only have a high school diploma, you can begin the ACCA Qualification exams if you pass the ACCA Advanced Placement Examination. This test analyzes your proficiency in the material that appears in the ACCA Foundations of Accountancy program.
Unlike the US CPA, once candidates are registered, ACCA takes an active role in preparing you for the exam by providing study guides and sample exam papers. They also maintain a database of ACCA Approved Learning Partners. In addition to passing all papers for the ACCA Qualification, candidates must also take the Ethics and Professional Skills module. Additionally, they need to gain 3 years of appropriate work experience before calling themselves ACCA-certified.
4. CPA US course vs ACCA: Exam Content and Format
The ACCA Qualification has several smaller exams to pass, called “papers.” The ACCA exam is divided into 13 papers as follows:
- 1. Accountant in Business
- 2. Management Accounting
- 3. Financial Accounting
- 1. Corporate and Business Law
- 2. Performance Management
- 3. Taxation
- 4. Financial Reporting
- 5. Audit and Assurance
- 6. Financial Management
- 7.Strategic Professional – Essentials
- 8. Strategic Business Leader
- 9.Strategic Business Reporting
Strategic Professional – Options (complete 2)
- 1. Advanced Financial Management
- 2. Advanced Performance Management
- 3. Advanced Taxation
- 4. Advanced Audit and Assurance
Candidates can apply to waive some papers based on their education levels. Or, they can take the “Certified Accounting Technician Qualification” assessment to waive some papers according to practical experience.
However, please note that you can only receive a maximum of nine exemptions for the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills papers. Plus, you cannot receive any exemptions for the Strategic Professional portions. So, all candidates must sit for those papers. If you think you might qualify for any exemptions, you can use this tool from ACCA Global to find out. Some—but not all—papers are computerized. Furthermore, the exam is offered four times a year at more than 500 testing centres worldwide.
4.2 CPA US course
The US CPA Exam has 4 parts:
- 1. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
- 2. Auditing & Attestation (AUD),
- 3. Regulation (REG),
- 4. Business Environment & Concepts (BEC).
The exam is 100% computerized consisting of multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations (similar to case studies). BEC has an additional section for written responses or short essays called Written Communications.
Grading is mainly computerized, even for written communications. You can choose to take the 4 parts separately, 2 at a time, or even 4 at the same time. Although you had to wait for specific “CPA testing windows” in the past, you can now sit for the exam any time during the year. You take the exam at Prometric testing centres, which are located throughout the US and several other countries including India.
US CPA Exam 2021 – New Updates In 2020, the US CPA exam in India had few changes; the most prominent change was the introduction of the CARES Act to the REG section effective in Q4 2020. In 2021, the US CPA Exam will undergo additional changes, mainly to the AUD & BEC sections, with minor revisions to the remaining two sections – FAR & REG….continue reading
5. CPA US course vs ACCA: How Much Time You Need To Pass?
Given the number of papers to pass, candidates generally need 3 to 4 years to complete all papers and become ACCA members. Candidates can sit for the papers during four exam sessions held each year.
However, candidates can only take four exams per session and a max of eight papers in a year. So, in theory, you could pass all papers in 2 years. But because of logistics issues, most need 3-4 years. Plus, candidates need 3 years of work experience before receiving their ACCA credentials.
5.2 CPA US course
Most candidates aim to pass the US CPA exam within 12 to 18 months. After all, once candidates pass the first of their 4 US CPA Exam sections, they must pass the other 3 within 18 months. Candidates who have the time and commitment to study can take all exam parts in one go.
In that case, you can complete the exams within 3 to 6 months. However, please note that this timeframe requires a substantial study commitment. If you might go this route, I suggest reading about how long it takes the pass the US CPA Exam.
How to surmount the US CPA exam – the integral steps |Uplift Pro :-The unified US CPA exam in India conducted by AICPA is the gateway to achieve the hallmark in public accounting in a global perspective. The strategic steps to pass the US CPA exam in India include…continue reading…..
6.CPA US course vs ACCA: Reciprocity and Exemptions
If someone is already a CPA, can they become an ACCA member? Well, ACCA is more generous in this regard — ACCA grants exemptions to AICPA members for several of the papers. If you are a holder of the US CPA credential, you are subsequently a member of the AICPA. Moreover, AICPA members may be able to skip the Foundations of Accountancy papers. You can check out the exemptions CPAs will receive who are interested in becoming ACCA members.
6.2 CPA US course
The US has mutual recognition agreements with 8 accounting bodies in the world. To gain a US CPA license, their members can take a simplified version of the US CPA exam known as the IQEX. However, please note that the ACCA is not among these 8 accounting bodies. Therefore, there is not an MOU for CPA, and ACCA and ACCA members do not qualify for CPA exemptions. So, if you hold an ACCA certification, you are MUST complete the CPA requirements, including 150 hours of college education (5 years).
Many ACCA members have passed the US CPA exam. However, since ACCA does not have a recognition agreement with either the National State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) or the AICPA, ACCA members with advanced degrees find it less challenging to qualify to sit for the US CPA Exam. ACCA members with master’s degrees or higher must also have a minimum number of accounting and business courses (this number will vary by jurisdiction, and there are 55 in the United States).ACCA members without advanced degrees will need to seek education from a degree-granting institution.
7. CPA US course vs ACCA: Which is Easier?
What test is tougher– ACCA or CPA? Honestly, that depends on what you consider to be tough. Is ACCA harder than the CPA? In some ways, yes. But in other ways, no. Deciding which one is tough – US CPA or ACCA – there are several factors to consider.
First, the CPA US course has fewer sections (4 exam sections vs 13 papers for the ACCA Qualification), but they are all hard. In fact, the US CPA pass rate hovers around 45-55%. Likewise, the ACCA estimates their mean pass rate is about 55%. However, CPA candidates can benefit from studying with a review course. Such review courses are now also available for ACCA.
8. CPA US course vs ACCA: Summary
- 1. Recognized in UK and commonwealth countries
- 2. One single entity with a simple application
- 3. Low entry barrier: post-secondary education needed
- 4. Exam only offered 4 times a year
- 5. 500+ testing centres across the globe
- 6. 13 papers
- 7. 3-4 years to complete.
8.2 CPA US course
- 1. Recognized in the US and anywhere with US regional offices
- 2. 55 jurisdictions with complex licensing requirements
- 3. High entry barrier: master’s level and/or 150 hours of higher education
- 4. Exam offered year-round
- 5. Exam sites in the US + multiple other countries
- 6. 4 parts
- 7. 12-18 months to complete exam, plus an additional 1+ years of work experience (more in some jurisdictions)
Coming to that inherent question, ACCA vs CPA… Which One Should I opt for ACCA vs CPA ? The US CPA is arguably the most prestigious accounting qualification.
The entry barrier is high with an equivalent of a master’s degree together with strict working experience requirements. Because of these stricter requirements, the CPA Exam itself has fewer parts than the ACCA — only 4 sections compared to 14 papers for the ACCA. Some jobs can only be performed by a CPA. For example, only CPAs can sign audit reports under the US GAAP standards. Besides, only CPAs can launch a CPA firm in the US. Therefore, the CPA title has distinct advantages if you are interested in public accounting in the United States or American firms.
For ACCA, the application process is much simpler, and the entry barrier is lower than the CPA. However, it takes years to complete the studies and obtain membership. While ACCA is globally recognized, it is not as highly regarded outside the UK and Commonwealth countries
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