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What Accounting Qualification Should I Obtain - CPA, ACCA, or CA?

The field of accounting is like a sea that is always filled with plenty of new opportunities and is always in demand. It is the backbone of all the entities, and building a career in the field of accounting is always a wise decision. The next question that would pop up in your mind would be, which accounting qualification? Should I pursue a CPA? Or an ACCA or a CA?

Let us now understand the CPA course details

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and is one of the highest credentials available in the accounting domain. The major advantage for all the CPA aspirants is that CPA is a globally recognized course and is administered by the AICPA, which stands for American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is the world’s largest accounting body.

The best part about pursuing a CPA is that you are just four papers away and can complete the entire course within 18 months. If you study dedicatedly and are fully focused, then you can also complete the course within 12 months. However, it is not just about completing the papers but more about passing with flying colors. Let us now have a look at the CPA course details:

The CPA course consists of just four papers which are:

  1. Financial Accounting and Reporting, which is also known as FAR 
  2. Auditing and Attestation (AUD) 
  3. Regulation (REG)
  4. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC

What is a US CPA Course (Certified Public Accountant)?

Eligibility:

To be eligible for the CPA course and examination, it is mandatory to be a postgraduate, preferably in Commerce. One must also have a look at the below eligibility criteria:

  1. Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  2. Member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants in India 
  3. Member of the Company Secretaries in India 
  4. Master of Commerce 
  5. MBA

Students who have completed Indian CA and B.com are also eligible in a few of the states in the US. However, it may vary from state to state. For more details and information, you can contact our counselors who would be more than happy to guide you at each step.

Now since you have a better understanding of what CPA is all about, let us now also have a look into the ACCA course details like the ACCA course full form. What is the ACCA course and ACCA course duration

ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, which is again a globally recognized certification offered by the ACCA itself, the most forward-thinking accountancy body situated in the UK. ACCA is the number one choice for most of the students worldwide as it provides the students with a lot of flexibility and resources, which help in the successful completion of the ACCA papers. The ACCA course has a total of 13 papers and one ethics module that needs to be completed before getting the final professional certification.

The entire course is divided into a total of three levels, which are the Knowledge level, Skills level, and Professional level.

The subjects covered under the Knowledge level are:

  1. Business and Technology 
  2. Management Accounting 
  3. Financial Accounting 

The subjects covered under the Skills level are:

  1. Corporate and Business Law
  2. Performance Management 
  3. Taxation
  4. Financial Reporting
  5. Audit and Assurance
  6. Financial Management 

The subjects covered under the Professional level are:

  1. Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  2. Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

These two are compulsory papers. There are four optional papers available, out of which it is mandatory to opt for two papers, which are as follows:

  1. Advanced Financial Management 
  2. Advanced Performance Management
  3. Advanced Taxation
  4. Advanced Audit and Assurance

What is an ACCA Course (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)?

The students may also be eligible for certain exemptions which may depend on the previous qualifications obtained. To know how many exemptions may be awarded to you, you can get in touch with our counselors. The ACCA course duration is between one-three years, depending on the exemptions granted to you.

Now that you have a better understanding of the ACCA course, let us now see a comparative analysis of all three courses:

Title 

CPA 

ACCA 

CA 

Professional body 

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants 

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants 

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India 

Exams 

4 papers 

13 papers & a module 

19 papers in total 

Eligibility 

Post-graduation is mandatory 

10+2 

10+2 

Duration 

12-15 months 

2-3 years 

5-6 years 

Levels 

One level with just four papers 

Knowledge level, Skills level and, Professional level 

CPT, IPCC, CA Final 

Now, since we have a better understanding of all three courses, let’s now address the elephant in the room, which is what accounting qualification should I obtain?

Well, the answer to this depends on your career goals. If you have completed your graduation and post-graduation, and wish to acquire an international certification that can be completed in a short period, then the best option to consider would be US CPA.

If you wish to build a career in the field of accounting and finance and wish to work for international companies, then it’s best to go for the ACCA course. The ACCA course provides a lot of flexibility as compared to CA. The pass rate is comparatively much higher in ACCA in comparison to CA.

If you are someone who wants to work for Indian companies, only then it’s best to consider the option of CA. Even though it’s considered the highest qualification in India, the only limitation here is that the competition is very high, and the pass rate is low as compared to ACCA and other international courses. There is also no fixed time frame within which you can complete your CA examination.

Since every country has its market, it’s up to you now to decide which market you wish to serve. Are you now ready to kickstart your career in the field of accounting?