ACCA allows exemptions to the students who have previously studied for relevant accountancy qualification. Exemption means that you will not have to study for and undertake exams of certain ACCA papers. Exemptions offer you the opportunity to start your ACCA qualification from the right level.
Exemptions from Knowledge Level papers (F1, F2, F3) and Skills Level papers (F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9) are available. Exemptions for Professional Level papers are not allowed. You must undertake exams for Professional Level papers.
You can be allowed exemption depending on your previous accountancy qualification. For example if you have studies accountancy in college, have membership with other accountancy bodies (such as Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales ICAEW) , have another certification from ACCA (for example CAT/FIA), have degree in accountancy or business studies from a university, or any other qualification that is relevant.
The number of exemptions will also depend on your previous qualifications. You can claim up to 9 exemptions. For example if you have passed CAT, you will be allowed exemption from three papers F1, F2, and F3. If you have a law degree, you will be allowed exemption from paper F4. If you have done MBA in Finance, you can be exempted from paper F9. The number of exemption will depend on the course content of your previous qualification.
Should the exemptions be claimed?
It is an important decision to make whether to claim ACCA exemptions or take the exams. You should take into consideration a couple of factors before deciding about this.
You should claim exemption, if you have recently achieved your qualification or if you have been working in the relevant field. If you have recently achieved you qualification or you are working in a relevant field, the topics and knowledge will be still be fresh in your mind.
If you achieved your qualification many years ago or you have not been working in a relevant field, you should avoid claiming exemptions. Due to passage of time you would have forgotten many of the topics. This is an important factor because many ACCA papers are based on previous topics and knowledge. These papers assume that you have already learned some topics and they test these topics on a more advanced level. Therefore you might have difficulty preparing for these advanced papers if you have claimed exemption. Studying for the exam, instead of claiming exemption, will refresh your knowledge and make sure that you are adequately prepared for higher level exams.
If you cannot decide whether to claim exemption, you should go through the past exam papers. Try to answer the questions and compare them with the model answers. If you feel that your answers are correct and you could pass the exam right now, you should claim the exemption. If you are not confident, you study for that paper.
Another factor to consider is cost. This factor can be significantly important if you are in financial difficulties. If you claim the exemption, you will save the cost of study material and any tuition or coaching fee. However you will still have to pay exemption fee to the ACCA. The exemption fee is equal to the exam fee of that paper.
Time is another important factor to consider. By claiming exemption, you will obviously be saving time. If you want to complete your ACCA qualification quickly, you should claim the exemptions.
How ACCA Exemptions can be Claimed?
For claiming exemptions, the first thing to do is to determine what exemptions you can claim. You can check this by visiting the ACCA website and going to "Exemption Enquiry". Ones you have determined what exemptions you can claim, you can claim the exemptions by sending the official proof of your qualification along with the registration form. The ACCA will assess your qualification and allow exemption if you are eligible.
As an official proof of your qualification, you can send award certificates or academic transcripts. The ACCA will not accept online print outs of academic transcripts. You will have to provide official documentation that has been signed and stamped by the awarding institute or body. If your documents are not in English language, you must get them officially translated before sending them to ACCA.
Exemptions are awarded only for qualifications from recognized institutions. This means that your qualification should be from an institute that is recognized by your local Ministry of Education. If you believe that your institute is recognize but it's not appearing in the ACCA's database, you should ask your institute to send copies of their documents to the ACCA for review.
If your institute does not give full opportunity to the ACCA to assess your qualification, you will not be allowed exemption against that qualification. However you can still claim exemption against some other qualification if it meets the requirements of the ACCA.
Claiming Registration After Registration
You can also claim exemption after you have been registered with the ACCA. If you achieve any qualification after registration, you can claim additional exemption if the qualification is eligible. If you are awarded an exemption, the ACCA will issue you a notification of exemption and your next exam entry form will reflect the additional exemptions.
You will have to apply for the exemptions at least 20 days before closing date of exam entry. The last date for the "early exam entry" entry is relevant for this purpose. It should be kept in mind that we are talking about "working" days.
As mentioned earlier, you will be required to pay exemption fee to the ACCA. You will have to pay exemption fee for the each exemption you claim. Exemption fee is equal to the early exam entry fee for the particular paper from which you are awarded exemption. You should pay your exemption fees on a timely basis. Fee for exemptions is charged at the early exam entry fee which is available at dates and fees page.