Everything You Need To Know About ACCA Course

What is ACCA?

ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is a globally recognized body for professional accountants with its headquarter in London, United Kingdom. Spread in about 179 countries, ACCA has a bandwidth of more than 544000 students all around the globe.

The Structure of ACCA

ACCA is segregated into 3 stages:

1. Applied Knowledge Level

This is the entry-level where students learn about the basic fundamentals of Accounting. This stage acts as a foundation for the next two stages. The knowledge learned at this level assists a student while pursuing the advanced level of the same subjects in the levels that follow.

This level comprises of 3 subjects:

  • AB – Accountant in Business
  • MA – Management Accounting
  • FA – Financial Accounting

2. Applied Skills Level

This is the second level after the Applied Knowledge Level. This level tests more advanced levels of subjects. Here, the students get introduced to the subjects that deal with the knowledge required in the corporate world

This level comprises of 6 subjects:

  • LW – Corporate and Business Law
  • PM – Performance Management
  • TX – Taxation
  • FR – Financial Reporting
  • AA – Auditing and Assurance
  • FM – Financial Management

3. Strategic Professional Level

This is the final level clearing which a student qualifies as an ACCA. Students are required to study 4 papers at this level. Two papers are compulsory while the remaining two are to be selected out of four available.

This level is again divided into 2 further parts:

(i) Essential (Compulsory) – Both the subjects mentioned below are compulsory:

  • SBL – Strategic Business Leader
  • SBR – Strategic Business Reporting

(ii) Options – Students have the option to study any 2 subjects out of the 4 mentioned below:

  • AFM – Advanced Financial Management
  • APM – Advanced Performance Management
  • ATX – Advanced Taxation
  • AAA – Advanced Auditing and Assurance

Exemptions are also available for the students of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) depending upon their level of qualification (Foundation, Intermediate, and Final).

After clearing all the papers, students are required to complete the Ethics and Professional Skills module and 36 months' of articleship training.

Mode of Conduct

1. Applied Knowledge Level

On-demand Computer-Based Examinations are available for all the 3 papers at this level.

2. Applied Skills Level

On-demand Computer-Based Examinations are available for the first paper at this level – LW – Corporate and Business Law. 

Session Computer-Based Examinations are available for the rest of the 5 papers at this level.

3. Strategic Professional Level

The exams for this level are offered 4 times a year in the months of:

  • March,
  • June,
  • September, and
  • December

as paper-based exams and computer-based exams.

An ACCA does not have signing authority in India. Which means an ACCA can not sign Audit Reports or practice in India by setting up their own firm.

However, a qualified ACCA or a member of ACCA holds the signing authorities in other countries like the United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, Singapore etc.

They also have the option to join Big Four Companies (EY, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC) that are spread worldwide, provided a candidate has required knowledge-base and skills and has completed their 36 months' training from a reputed company.

This implies that if a person is willing to work outside India, ACCA would be a great option for them. With an ACCA degree, one can aspire to set up their own firm outside India.

Students can opt to take exams for one paper at a time (Unlike CA, CS, CMA etc where students are required to take exams Group-wise or Module-wise).

Exams are held 4 times a year globally.

Scope of ACCA

Course Expansion

Established in 1904, ACCA has been gradually expanding ever since. As time passed, the features of this course also kept expanding. The number of countries conducting the ACCA examinations is also increasing with a rise in the number of candidates.

Emerging Career

The courses like CA, CS, CMA, CFA, and MBA are pretty common in the stream of Accounting. However, it is only recently that a career out of ACCA is also emerging in a country like India. The intriguing part of this course is its global presence and hence, global job opportunities.

Spreading Awareness

In recent days where we all want degrees that allow us to get a job as soon as possible, ACCA stands out to be a better alternative in comparison to other similar courses.

Where it takes around 5 years to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, one can be an ACCA in as early as 2 years’ time.

It is because of this course’s exclusive features that people are suggesting its pursuance. Moreover, its availability in India is allowing the candidates to enrol in this course. People are becoming more and more aware of ACCA.

Career Possibility

Since ACCA is a globally recognized course, it opens doors for a huge number of possibilities offering a number of career paths.

After qualifying as an ACCA, one can choose to perform any of the below-mentioned roles:

  1. Accountant - An Accountant records, classifies, analyses, manages, and maintains financial transactions and compares them with other periods to improve the functioning of an organization.
  2. Accounts Payable/Receivable - The job is to maintain the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable section of Accounting.
  3. Assistant Accountant - An Assistant Accountant supports the senior Accountant and collaborates with various teams to work on extensive projects.
  4. Management Accountant - A Management Accountant advises managers about the financial implications of business decisions to aid growth and profit. Their responsibilities include preparing reports, budgets, commentaries and financial statements.
  5. Tax Accountant - A Tax Accountant is responsible for analysing fiscal matters and preparing, submitting and managing tax statements and returns for businesses and clients.
  6. Trainee Accountant - A Trainee Accountant carries out daily activities that helps him understand the business situation in a deeper sense.
  7. Financial Accountant - A Financial Accountant is responsible for running the accounting and financial activities of an organisation. They analyse the economic stability of the company. After this analysis, they inform the relevant departments of the company about where they can make amendments in order to improve their performance.
  8. Forensic Accountant - Forensic Accountants track fraudulent activities in the field of Accountancy. It is their duty to employ their knowledge and skills that helps in a smooth conduct of business.
  9. Fund Accountant - Fund Accountants are required to keep all the aspects of fund accounts in order for the organizations they work for. Their work includes creating financial reports, controlling transactions and tracking yields and interest.
  10. Group Accountant - Group Accountants manage the corporate month-end Accounting processes. They prepare the monthly management reports that provide a benchmark for upcoming months and also helps in comparing a month to another.
  11. Book-keeper - A Bookkeeper is required to maintain the books of Accounts in an organization.
  12. Business Adviser - A Business Adviser assists clients with advisory services. He advocates them while starting a new business and thereafter during the growth of the same business.
  13. Business Analyst - A Business Analyst is required to analyse the business situation and come up with solutions to problems that arise in day-to-day business activities.
  14. Financial Analyst - A Financial Analyst analyses the financial aspects that require analysis of time and place of issuance and utilisation of money.
  15. Financial Planning and Analysis - The role here is to plan and analyse the financial requirements of an organization.
  16. Finance Business Partner - A Finance Business Partner works closely with a particular business unit creating an active partnership with both, Operations and Management.
  17. Finance Director - the Finance Director of an organization Provide financial advice and guidance to the company's managers and staff to enable them to achieve their objectives.
  18. Finance Manager - A Financial Manager decides how much money is needed and when it is needed. He also decides how to to use the available funds, and how to get the required financing.
  19. Credit Control Manager - A Credit Control Manager controls the process of payment for the organisation's services or products and makes sure that payments are received promptly and efficiently.
  20. Risk Manager - The role of a Risk Manager is to communicate risk policies and processes for an organisation.
  21. Funds Manager - It is the responsibility of Fund Managers to make sure that accurate accounting records are kept for investment funds.
  22. Financial Controller - A Financial Controller is in charge of ensuring that all accounting distributions are properly made and accounted for.
  23. Auditor - An Auditor is required to ensure that all the statements made by a company are true and fair to the best of their knowledge.
  24. Internal Auditor - An Internal Auditor is required to give an unbiased assurance that there are no ongoing fraudulent activities in an organization.
  25. Insolvency Practitioner - Insolvency Practitioner as the name suggests, assists during the Insolvency and thereafter liquidation of a company.
  26. Compliance/Government Officer - They ensure that a company complies with its outside regulatory and legal requirements along with internal policies and bylaws.
  27. Treasurer - A Treasurer manages and oversees the management of the financial aspects of an organization.
  28. Chief Financial Officer - The financial actions of a company are managed by a CFO or Chief Financial Officer.

Thus, there is a vast variety of career opportunities for candidates pursuing ACCA.

Scope of ACCA in India

ACCA is becoming one of the most sought after courses among Indian students. Reason being the ample opportunities available in the country. More and more MNCs are being set up and since ACCA is a global curriculum, the demand for ACCAs is increasing as well.

Students are also finding ACCA to be opportunistic because of the following reasons-

  • Opportunity to settle and work abroad.
  • Global exposure and experience.
  • Flexibility to take exams for one paper at a time.
  • Availability of examinations 4 times a year.
  • Less time-consuming in comparison to other similar courses.

Global Industrial Position

ACCA is a renowned global profession. In recent years, ACCA has acquired a remarkable position in the Indian industry as well. The course of time has expanded its fame as more and more candidates are qualifying and getting job opportunities.

With increasing start-ups and businesses, we are witnessing a rise in employment opportunities for candidates in the field of ACCA. And thus, ACCA is at a position in the industry that shows it is going to be a more prominent course in the upcoming years.

Industries offering jobs for ACCA qualified students

Candidates pursuing ACCA can study without worrying about getting a job as there are a number of industries that open opportunistic doors for qualified ACCA:

  • Accounting
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Defence and Military
  • Digital
  • Education and Training
  • Energy / Utilities
  • Global Business Sources and Outsourcing
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • IT / Telecom
  • Legal
  • Leisure / Travel / Tourism
  • Management Consultancy
  • Manufacturing / Engineering
  • Media / Marketing
  • Not for Profit / Charity
  • Pharmaceutical / Medical
  • Property and Construction
  • Public Sector
  • Retail and FMCG
  • Transport and Logistics

Job Opportunities in India

With the growing awareness of ACCA in India, the job opportunities are also rising. With the right amount of skill-set and knowledge along with relevant experience, one can get jobs in big companies in India. 

Even though ACCA is a foreign course, that fact doesn’t make it any less relevant in India. The field and subject of study are aligned with Indian industrial norms. And hence, one need not worry about whether or not they’ll get a good-paying job after qualifying as an ACCA.

There are over 951 jobs in India itself for qualified ACCA.

Foreign Job Opportunities

Qualified ACCA can work not only in India but also outside India. ACCA being a globally recognized course, allows the members to work in a country of their choice. If a candidate possesses required knowledge and skills along with relevant experience, foreign companies would be more than willing to employ them.

Various roles and number of jobs available globally as of 19th December, 2020 for qualified ACCA:

  • Accountant - 17301
  • Accounts assistant - 691
  • Accounts payable/receivable - 1659
  • Assistant accountant - 226
  • Assistant management accountant - 84
  • Audit - 2810
  • Bookkeeper - 1420
  • Business analyst - 3565
  • CFO - 1441
  • Chief accountant - 47
  • Compliance/risk - 1416
  • Credit control - 312
  • Finance business partner - 264
  • Finance director - 472
  • Finance manager - 1045
  • Financial accountant - 724
  • Financial analyst - 2220
  • Financial controller - 444
  • Financial planning & analysis - 1242
  • Forensic accountant - 294
  • Fund accountant - 434
  • Group accountant - 55
  • Head of finance - 106
  • Internal audit - 489
  • Management accountant - 552
  • NED/Trustee - 12
  • Tax - 2421
  • Trainee accountant - 393
  • Treasury - 393
  • Tutor/Lecturer/Trainer - 16

Starting Salary

We get degrees in order to gain knowledge and a decent paying job. If the remuneration does not even cover the amount we have spent on education, then there is no point pursuing it.

In the case of ACCA, a candidate can rest assured that he will not be unemployed if he has all the required skill-set.

Coming on to the salary, the salary for an ACCA can range between Rs. 4 Lakhs to Rs. 16 Lakhs. Where the average salary is about Rs. 8 Lakhs.

The major determining factor is a candidate’s skills. A candidate decides his own salary by working accordingly. It also depends upon the type and size of a company a candidate is going for.

Value in the long run

A profession can pay a huge amount of salary but it would be of no use if it goes obsolete or irrelevant in the long run.

ACCA comprises tasks that will be needed as long as we make monetary transactions and perceive a need to record those transactions. And hence the industry will always need employees.

Therefore, it has an assurance of surviving every situation without making students and members regret their decision of investing in this course.

In the coming years, ACCA will gain more popularity as and when the students realize its importance in today’s economy. And hence, it strongly holds its position in the long run.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, there is a huge scope of ACCA in the upcoming days. And the job opportunities are waiting for those who are willing to grab them.

Possibilities for Young Adults

With a healthy competition and decent passing percentage, ACCA makes it possible for young adults to start earning as soon as possible. In these difficult times where only the deserving candidates are employed, ACCA assists students in gaining that required knowledge and skills in the relevant field.

Foreign Exposure

With a global presence, ACCA unlocks the possibility to even travel abroad and work. The qualified ACCA working in foreign countries gain a new perspective about the functioning of an organization in different parts of the world. This adds on to their experience which they can utilize in their own country and contribute to the economy of India.


ACCA comprises a vast variety of students. Each and every candidate has their own reason behind pursuing this course like:

  • Good passing percentage in the course
  • Flexibility to take exams for 1 paper at a time
  • Option to take exams available 4 times a year
  • Availability of Exemptions for students at varying stages of CA qualification
  • Less time-consuming in comparison to other similar courses
  • Huge variety of roles to perform
  • Global exposure
  • Option to settle outside India and work
  • Scope of learning business situation in different countries

Who should do ACCA?

ACCA is a great course for students aspiring to settle in a foreign country and work there, learning how a business functions in countries outside India.

A candidate who desires to start earning as early as possible, ACCA is for them as it is comparatively less time-consuming than the other popular courses that we know of.

If someone wants to have an additional degree along with courses like CA, CS, CMA, CFA, etc, ACCA is a good option as it plays a global impact on a candidate’s career.

Easy to join and switch in ACCA


The biggest advantage of pursuing ACCA is that one can easily join this course.

In simple terms, a student can join ACCA right after clearing their 12th standard and they don't even have to wait for joining a college as ACCA provides a Bachelor of Science degree as discussed in the upcoming point.

For a student clearing class 12th, they are required to take exams for all 13 papers along with Ethics and Professional Skills module and 3 years' articleship training.


Students can even shift from CA to ACCA.

For a student who has cleared CA IPCC or CA Intermediate, there is Exemptions in the following papers of ACCA:

  • AB - Accountant in Business
  • MA - Management Accounting
  • FA - Financial Accounting
  • TX - Taxation
  • AA - Auditing and Assurance

For a student who is pursuing CA IPCC or CA Intermediate, there is Exemptions in the following papers of ACCA:

  • AB - Accountant in Business
  • MA - Management Accounting
  • FA - Financial Accounting
  • TX - Taxation/ AA - Auditing and Assurance

For a qualified Chartered Accountant, there is Exemptions in the following papers of ACCA:

  • AB - Accountant in Business
  • MA - Management Accounting
  • FA - Financial Accounting
  • LW - Corporate and Business Law
  • PM - Performance Management
  • TX - Taxation
  • FR - Financial Reporting
  • AA - Auditing and Assurance
  • FM - Financial Management

There is a basic nominal fee for availing Exemptions in each paper.

These exemptions are available for a period of 5 years.

Special Feature

Last but not the least, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Applied Accounting is offered in association with Oxford Brookes University.

However, the point to be noted over here is that this degree is offered only after completing:

  • Fundamental Level of exam,
  • Ethics and Professional Skills module, and
  • Submitting a Research and Analysis Report.

After completing the above-mentioned points, one is rewarded with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree.

In conclusion, ACCA is a great course for students who are planning on settling abroad. There's a huge scope for ACCA both in India and outside India. The pay-scale is good and depends on the candidate’s own intelligence and ability to tackle every situation.

There's a high demand in the market for qualified ACCA. The job opportunities are brimming and allowing the ACCA members to start their career in this field. With a good passing percentage along with various features, ACCA is making its way among the most sought after courses in the country.

The global recognition allows the course to involve as many students as possible. This creates equal opportunities for people coming from all different kinds of backgrounds.

Written By

Prakriti Srivastava

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