Which one is Better for Your Career: CPA (USA) or ACCA?

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CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) may spring to mind if you are an accountant seeking a prominent qualification. However, many of the students have queries concerning the ACCA to CPA transition. Should you pursue ACCA or CPA? What if you have ACCA yet require the services of a CPA? Is it worthwhile to pursue ACCA after CPA?

What is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)?

A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, is a prestigious certificate conferred by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This certificate may be obtained by passing the CPA Examination and completing specific educational and experience criteria. Different countries throughout the world have qualifications similar to the CPA, such as the CA designation in the UK. The US CPA is one of the most distinguished qualifications in accounting and finance.

What is ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)?

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, or ACCA, is a renowned global professional accounting organization that was created in 1904 and provides the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification to students interested in a career in finance. Individuals who are Chartered Certified Accountants must be members of the ACCA and must also follow certain additional rules, such as holding liability insurance and possessing a practice certificate.

Organization Structure

US CPA

The CPA license is awarded by each of the 55 jurisdictions in the United States, particularly by the state board of accountancy in each state and US territory. There is no centralized agency, and each state's CPA test and licensure criteria vary slightly. Furthermore, two professional organizations, the AICPA and the NASBA, provide particular assistance to the jurisdictions. However, it is up to each state to have its own rules. As a result, the cumbersome application procedure frequently confuses and frustrates international candidates.

ACCA

The ACCA exam is conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, which is centered in the United Kingdom. It functions as a single entity and has a significantly easier application procedure.

In general, international applicants regard the certification as a multinational for financial professionals. In fact, several Commonwealth countries hold ACCA in great reverence.

Exam Content and Format

CPA

These four components are covered in detail in the US CPA examination content:

  1. Auditing & Attestation (AUD)

  2. Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)

  3. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)

  4. Regulation (REG)

One must pass each of the 4 sections during the allotted 18-month exam timeframe in order to become a CPA. The four-hour Uniform examination parts each address a separate subset of business and finance-related subjects and ideas.

The CPA exam is entirely computerized, and it is divided up into testlets for each component. These testlets are made up of a number of multiple-choice questions and a number of task-based simulations. The exam also includes written communication testlets.

One may opt to take the 4 parts individually, in pairs, or even all at once. Previously one had to wait for a specific CPA test window but now you can take the CPA exam at any Prometric location and at any time within the first two months of the quarter.

ACCA

The following subjects are covered by ACCA at the knowledge and professional level:

  • Financial Reporting

  • Auditing

  • Cost and Management Accounting, Financial and Performance Management etc.,

  • Taxation

  • Ethics and other relevant theories

  • Law

13 papers total, divided into 9 papers for the Fundamental Level and 4 papers for the Professional Level, as stated previously. Candidates may also request a partial or whole waiver of the required exams, but only at the Fundamental Level. Basically, you must first pass the four FIA (Foundation in Accounts) exams (papers) to earn an entry-level qualification before moving on to the 13 ACCA papers.

About four times a year, this specific test is administered.

Duration & Passing Criteria

CPA USA

In most cases, applicants must pass the CPA USA exam within 12 to 18 months, but if you are really dedicated and confident about this, you can choose to take all four exam sections at once, which will be an amazing accomplishment. In this situation, the course would be finished in three to six months. For the CPA exams, a passing score of 75% is required.

ACCA

Given that there are many papers in the ACCA course and that these tests are only offered twice a year, applicants often finish all of the papers and become members of the ACCA in approximately 4 years, which is significantly longer than the CPA. For the ACCA papers, a passing grade of 50% is required.

Job Description

CPA

A CPA's duties include providing public accounting and finance services. The title of CPA is highly regarded and well recognized on an international level. Both big and small public accounting businesses will employ CPAs. A Certified Public Accountant is a dependable financial counselor that works hard to assist numerous people, companies, and other organizations in achieving their financial objectives. Corporate and private accountants are exempt from needing a CPA license, but public accountants who operate independently or for businesses that offer accounting services to others must have one.

CPAs have expertise in various areas, including:

  • Financial Analysis

  • Tax accounting

  • Management Accounting

  • Information Technology Auditing

  • Internal Auditing

ACCA

For ACCA professionals, there are several job choices accessible. A management consultant, financial planner, and other professions are all open to ACCAs. Their duties include inspecting the accounting services provided by both public and private companies. International accounting standards are typically another topic they cover. Before the inspection, they must have the certification. The ACCA may establish its presence internationally in the fields of finance, controlling, and financial analysis in addition to auditing, taxation, etc.

Why Should a Person Opt for ACCA?

Your ability to pursue professions in many industries will be aided by the ACCA certification, which qualifies you for both financial and managerial responsibilities. Since the survey was conducted in the UK, it is likely that an ACCA cannot operate their own auditing company outside of the UK even if they are unquestionably well-known around the world. However, ACCA experts from outside the UK can effectively complete an auditing engagement there.

Even though there are many papers and lengthy tests required for the ACCA degree, there are more than 300 sites available worldwide, making it simple for candidates to choose the closest testing site. Exams may be taken twice a year. In contrast to CPA, the ACCA test can be taken as soon as a student has finished their tenth grade.

Why Should a Person Become A CPA?

Since the Uniform CPA examination is the highest certification a CA (Chartered Accountant) may earn, a CPA is an extremely respected certificate. The CPA earns a legitimate license that enables them to successfully start practicing in the USA. Additionally, they benefit from working for giant corporations, public accounting divisions, and numerous respected American MNCs.

Obtaining a CPA license indicates a dedication to the field and frequently recognizes individuals for management and leadership roles. Comparing the CPA to the ACCA, which is computer-based, the CPA is more straightforward and practical. Due to their ability to handle a variety of specialized tasks, such as international financial reporting, tax consulting services, business, and management, as well as information technology, CPAs are multi-talented experts.

CONCLUSION

Both ACCA and CPA are quite well-known on a global level. The decision between the two credentials must be made after careful consideration of a variety of factors, including one's future intentions, background, professional interests, jurisdiction, preferred countries, and many more. The choice is entirely up to the person, but reading this article will help them fully comprehend both options so they can make a more well-informed choice. When it comes to a certain qualification or another, and even state-wise, requirements may change in different instances.