5 Myths that stop you from Pursuing ACCA

So, you came across an exciting professional degree- ACCA. You sat in front of your laptop and did some research, talked with people who are pursuing or have already passed it. Their response is positive. With its global recognition, it’s flexibility, the interesting syllabus and diverse career opportunities, this qualification just seems to fit your career objectives.

You think of pursuing it, but meanwhile, you start hearing about widespread myths and misconceptions about the ACCA qualification from different people and sources. You can’t escape it and now having second thoughts on whether you should pursue ACCA or not. We are inherently more susceptible to negative reviews than positive.

So, are these talks and fallacies that discourage you to finally land on your dream qualification and career real? Well, let’s find out.

Now that I have cleared all of my skills level exams, shortly worked in an audit-firm and contracted for internship in the capital market field, I can look back to say, ‘Yes, I made the right choice’. ACCA is in alignment with my career goals, opened the doors for endless possibilities in the broad arena of accounting, auditing, finance, and whatnot.
Based on my experience and knowledge, I have attempted to bust 5 of those myths that stop students from pursuing ACCA with actual reality to make it clear for you to decide.

MYTH #1
Since its UK-based degree, I will struggle to find Job in Nepal after ACCA. 
Or, I will have to settle or move abroad after completion.

REALITY: There is a huge scope of ACCA in Nepal. Many ACCA affiliates and members are working as mid and top-level managers with an attractive profile and salary in the big reputed organizations including the public service or government sector. The world becoming increasingly global makes ACCA even more lucrative qualification to pursue and the scope for ACCAs only seem to be going up. The fact that ACCA is UK-based Chartered Accountancy only opens the opportunities in abroad without hampering the scope and opportunity here in Nepal.

MYTH #2
ACCA is expensive.

REALITY: Fees of studying ACCA in Nepal ranges anywhere between 4-6 lakhs which is cheaper than other qualification like BBA and almost equal to other Chartered Accountancy qualification. On top of that, some colleges will even provide you with a scholarship. Honestly, the tuition fee is very affordable for one of the leading financial courses around the world. It’s more like an investment than an expense. Once you are qualified as ACCA, the payback of the amount one spends on pursing it is in around 1 year and the career growth is infinite. In short, it’s a worthy investment.

Myth#3
ACCA is an extremely tough course and I cannot pass it. 
Or, I need to study 14-16 hours daily to pass it.

REALITY: If you plan everything from the beginning, give few hours daily and use the resources wisely, it’s not that difficult at all. However, you cannot expect to pass by studying a night or a week before the exam. It becomes tough because people work hard in the wrong direction and are less aware of all the study resources, exam-style and examiner’s expectations. Small continuous effort and a good approach are all it takes.

Myth #4
ACCA is all about numbers. The profession is boring with no social life and friends

REALITY: This is not true. ACCA is a lot more than just numbers viz; analysis, client relationship, decision-making, implementing various strategic decisions, teamwork, presentations, going to various organizations for audit etc.
ACCA is anything but boring. The job roles are self-actualizing and since you have a lot of career options to choose from once you qualify, you can dive in the field that excites you. Furthermore, you can always have a good balance of personal and professional life. Also, with the increased network, you will never run short of friends.

Myth #5
I need management/commerce high-school degree to pursue ACCA.
Or, I am a Science or student from another stream, so, it is not for me.

REALITY: There is no specific high school degree requirement to pursue ACCA. You can be from management, science or any other stream and still pursue it.
Since the course structure starts from the foundation level, you will learn from the very basics ,therefore, no matter which stream you chose in +2, you will not face any difficulty at all.

Apart from these, some might say there are no good colleges. That’s again not true. There are some of the best ACCA colleges in Nepal with astonishing achievements like world rank 1st.

These myths are floating around on unreasonable grounds and make students reluctant to apply and land on their dream qualification. Don’t let these myths stop you from achieving your dream.

Ujjwal Ghimire

baburam adhikari

CA, ACCA and CPA Misconception and Facts

“Chartered Accountant (CA)” is a very popular designation in Nepal and mostly in South Asia. However, most of us might be unaware that there are so many other designations in the world such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), Public Accountants (PA) which are similar to CA designation and persons having those designations perform similar works as those done by Chartered Accountants. To clarify the misconceptions and spread the awareness of facts about these designations and the qualifications, I, hereby, have made some common and distinguishing points about some popular professional accountancy qualifications and related designations around the world.

Common Responsibility:

Whether called CA, CPA or ACCA, they all are Professional Accountants or Public Accountants whose primary responsibility is to act in the best interest of the public. CA, ACCA or CPA is also the name given to the Qualification to become a Professional Accountant. There are many other names such as Public Accountant, General Accountants used to refer professional accountants in different countries.

Umbrella body:

These designations refer to the membership of professional accountancy bodies and those professional bodies are the member of an international body called IFAC (International Federation of Accountants), also known as the mother body of accountants.

Auditing Right:

All designations mentioned above have the Public Practice Right (what we understand as audit in general sense) in the country of their origin. However, for audit practice, the members need to hold a Certificate of Practice (or other similar certificate) awarded by their professional body. Gaining public practice rights in other foreign countries is only possible if there is a pathway. The pathway may exist as per the Mutual Recognition (bilateral) Agreement of the particular body with the local body or unilateral recognition/exemptions provided by body of the respective country.

Minimum requirement, different structure:­

The criteria for awarding membership and practicing certificate vary from body to body but in common, all designation at least requires completion of Specified Examination and Practical Experience. However, the structure of qualification, rules, subject matters, examination pattern, experience eligibility, etc. of each body are different.

Employers viewpoint

Employers who have at least little awareness about these designations treat them as Par. For reference, here are extracts of two vacancies:

Announced by WTO (World Trade Organization) for the Internal Auditor:
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS (Education):
An advanced University degree in Auditing, Accounting or other related fields with a financial orientation or a combination of a basic University degree with either a professional certification or proven professional expertise. A professional certification such as Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Chartered Accountant (ACCA/CA), or Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Announced by NRB (Nepal Rastra Bank) for Officer 3rd Level:Newspaper NRB Vacancy Post

Varied Recognition :

Though CA, CPA and ACCA are similar qualifications, in each country the value and recognition of one may supersede the other depending upon the market, market share of bodies, awareness amongst & preferences of employers, the legal status and the relationship with the national body, agreement with employers/govt. bodies/universities etc.

Awarding Bodies:

The most interesting fact is there is only one body (UK based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) providing ACCA qualification all around the world whereas CPA and CA qualifications are provided by local bodies in various countries (for eg. CPA qualification is provided by American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in USA and by CPA Australia in Australia, likewise, CA is provided by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in India and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan in Pakistan)

No. of bodies in a country:

In some country there is a sole body which provides its members right for statutory audit however interestingly in some countries, there are two or more than two bodies having access to such right. For instance, in the USA only AICPA is recognized for having statutory auditing rights whereas, in UK ACCA, Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) have public practice right.

CA, CPA and ACCA in Nepal:

In Nepal, large no. of CAs from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN) & Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), hundreds of ACCA members from ACCA, UK and very few CPAs from AICPA are working in industry and in practice. Only the members of ICAN have public practice right in Nepal. As of the date of publication of this article, there is no pathway for new members of ICAI and members of AICPA to get the membership of ICAN. However, ICAN has a mutual collaboration agreement with ACCA, UK which has provided a pathway for members of ACCA for ICAN membership and public practice right. CA education is imparted by coaching centers accredited by ICAN whereas ACCA qualification is imparted by the Approved Learning Providers of ACCA. No tuition providers exist for CPA qualification.

Misconception and facts about CA, ACCA and CPA –Written by Mr. Baburam Adhikari ACCA, a member of the education team of Seed Financial Academy