The First Step: What You Should Know about ACCA
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) was founded over a century ago in 1904. It is an international body that offers the qualification of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is spread across all over the world in about 173 countries. Qualification regarding accountancy, finance, and management are offered by the ACCA.
It has about 162,000 members and more than 428,000 students in all over the world. It is helping them to develop skills needed for being successful in accounting and business. There are over 8,500 employers approved by the ACCA that offer opportunities to the members and students.
Eight people founded the London Association of Accountants in 1904. At that time only two accountancy bodies were present. The London Association of Accountant was formed with the aim of providing a more open access to accountancy profession than the existing accountancy bodies. Over the years, it went through many mergers and collaborations. In 1984 it was granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation. Therefore, it changed its name to Chartered Association of Certified Accountants. Its name was again changed in 1996 to Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The ACCA offers a number of qualifications to meet the needs of professionals with varying requirements. These qualifications are briefly discussed below:
· ACCA Qualification:
It is the main qualification offered by the ACCA. It involves passing up to 14 exams. The detail of these exams is discussed below. You might have to pass lesser exams if you are granted exemptions from some of the exams. Along with passing the exams, you are required to have a supervised work experience of 3 years in a field relevant to accountancy. You are also required to go through an ethics module. This whole process takes up about three to four years on average. Ones you have met all of these three requirements, you are entitled to be the member of the ACCA.
The members can describe themselves Chartered Certified Accountants. It is a legally protected term. You can describe yourself as a Chartered Certified Accountant only if you have met all of the above requirements and you comply with the additional regulations of the ACCA.
The examinations for ACCA Qualification are held after every six months in June and December each year. All of the examinations are paper-based. The first three examinations (F1, F2, and F3) are also offered as a computer-based exam and they are held throughout the year.
The qualification is structured in two parts:
(i) Fundamental Level:
There are nine examinations in Fundamental Level and all of them are compulsory unless you are granted an exemption. This level provides you introductory and intermediate level skills in subjects like financial reporting, auditing, financial management, taxation, law, business management, and ethics.
(ii) Professional Level:
In the Professional Level there are total seven examinations. This level is designed to provide you advanced skills in the subjects you have learned in Fundamental level. First three of these examinations are compulsory. From the last four examinations, you are required to take 2 examinations of your choice. Thus you have to pass a total of five examinations of this level.
The entry requirements for ACCA Qualification include 3 GCSEs and 2 A Levels in 5 separate subjects including English and Mathematics. Any other equivalent qualification is also acceptable.
· Foundation Level Qualifications:
If you don't meet any of the entry requirements for ACCA Qualification, you can go for Foundation Level Qualifications. Foundation level qualifications are suitable for individuals who are working in accounting or finance but do not have any formal qualifications.
Foundation level qualifications include many certificates and diplomas. You can choose a certificate or diploma which best suits your requirements and which will help you in improving your skills needed for your existing job or for your promotion. These certificates and diplomas can also help you to be eligible for taking up the ACCA Qualification.
The paper based examinations for all of these foundation level qualifications are held in June and December of every year. On demand computer-based exams are also available throughout the year.
· Global MBA:
This is a post membership qualification. The entry requirement for this is that you should either be an ACCA member or you should have a minimum of three years managerial or professional work experience.
Work experience is not required for qualifying for Global MBA. But you need to have three years work experience for entry to this qualification if you are not an ACCA member.
You need to pass 2 examinations, 2 face-to-face workshops, and a number of assignments for getting Global MBA. If you are an ACCA member, this will take up about only 21 months.
· Certificate in International Financial Reporting:
This qualification is designed for professionals accountants and auditors who are qualified in national accounting and auditing standards. No work experience is required for entry to or qualification of this certificate.
Although no work experience is required for qualifying, this certificate is designed to accompany relevant work. You need to pass one online multiple-choice based assessment for qualification. Qualifying for this program needs only about 20 hours on average.
· Diploma in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR):
The professional auditors and accountants who are qualified in national accounting and auditing standards and are working in industry and practice, are eligible for this diploma.
Following people are also eligible for this diploma:
- Holder of 2 years of work experience and a relevant degree
- Holder of 3 years of work experience
- Holder of ACCA Affiliate status
- Holder of Certificate in International Financial Reporting and 2 years of work experience
You are required to pass one written exam for qualifying to this program. This takes up about three to six months.
· Certificate in International Financial Reporting:
This qualification is designed for accountants and auditors who are qualified in national auditing and accounting standards. Anyone working the field of auditing but not having a formal qualification can also be eligible for this certificate.
Although no work experience is required for qualifying for this certificate, it is designed to accompany relevant work. You are required to pass one online multiple-choice based assessment. It takes up about 25 hours on average.
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