On popular demand I have been told to draw similarities and conclusions. I have read many articles regarding this topic and to tell you the truth, I was hesitant to write this. Now that I’ve decided to write this, will give you my honest opinion on this topic.
Firstly I don’t think these two qualifications are similar except for the fact that they both qualify you as accountants.
Comparing the Syllabus
The CA syllabus is still largely knowledge driven with a lot of impetus on remembering tax laws, accounting standards and Companies Act.
The ACCA syllabus is completely application driven refraining from directly asking you to quote a tax law or accounting standard. However, application driven means you must know how to apply any tax law or accounting standard in any given scenario.
Comparing the Examination Marking
Studying the CA syllabus is a challenging task however what makes this even more challenging is the grouping system. Meaning if you pass a subject in a group but fail another and you don’t reach a certain group average marking, you fail the entire group.
Here is where ACCA is liberal. ACCA allows you to pass one subject at a time as long as you achieve 50 percent of the marks. ACCA changed this in their learning curve over the years. They also had a group system in the past.
Comparing the Practical Experience
The CA institute expects an affiliate to complete 36 months of training in a registered accounting firm and also a student can do 24 months training in an accounting firm and do the balance 12 months in industry.
ACCA expects an affiliate to complete 36 months of practical training in a RELEVANT ROLE. They must also achieve 9 performance objectives which must be verified by their supervisor. (Refer my PER article)
I have met several ACCA students and affiliates who raise their hands when I ask ” You took up ACCA because you were told it’s easier than CA right?”
I always believe that half knowledge is dangerous. I believe the methodology of examining makes ACCA practical to pass.
However you must understand that due to the nature of application based exams you are assumed to have the following:
A) A decent understanding of the English language. Don’t get me wrong. Your vocabulary isn’t important. However, the questions are drafted in a certain way and your language skills determine your understanding of the scenario and the requirements.
B) Effective communication skills – if your an auditor and writing a letter to the board. Everyone has the knowledge. However you must display your communication skills by choosing the right communication channel, understanding the knowledge level of the party being communicated.
C) Excellent analysis skills – every scenario isn’t straight forward. Sometimes a lot of information is given in a particular scenario but you need to analyse which information is relevant and then apply the right technique to devise an answer.
We as Indians have the habit to get our numbers absolutely correct. However, in the ACCA syllabus this will only get you half the marks. The balance marks are for interpretation skills.
It is preparing you for the real world and trust me if you go through the pain you will be ready for the world.
Pour in with your comments if any.