Chemhistorian
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Hi,

I'm considering entering accountancy after I graduate (expecting a 2:1 but there's of course the possibility of a 2:2).

What is the difference between the ACCA qualifications and the ICAEW qualifications? Is one 'better' than the other?

If I come out with a 2:2 I would consider doing the CFAB with ICAEW - is there an ACCA equivelant? (is it better?)

Thanks for any advice!
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M1011
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First off, make your life easier and just get a 2.1!

Both the ACA and the ACCA are solid qualifications, so don't stress too much about which you do. Where you get your training/experience is likely to impact your career far more than which of the chartered accountancy qualifications you study IMO, so focus on that.
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Classical Liberal
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ACA is more highly regarded, largely because you have to have a training contract with an accountancy firm to do it. For an ACCA you don't need to work in an accountancy firm.
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M1011
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
ACA is more highly regarded, largely because you have to have a training contract with an accountancy firm to do it. For an ACCA you don't need to work in an accountancy firm.
So will someone in a small accounting firm taking the ACA be automatically more highly regarded than someone taking the ACCA at a FTSE 100? Of course not! It's all relative to where you train, focus firstly on where you want to work and gain your experience IMO. Don't fuss too much about which letters you get.

That said ACA is more widely considered to be the better of the two, but the position is always going to be a bigger factor.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by M1011)
So will someone in a small accounting firm taking the ACA be automatically more highly regarded than someone taking the ACCA at a FTSE 100? Of course not! It's all relative to where you train, focus firstly on where you want to work and gain your experience IMO. Don't fuss too much about which letters you get.

That said ACA is more widely considered to be the better of the two, but the position is always going to be a bigger factor.
I think the person with an ACA from a small accounting firm may well be more highly regarded within the accounting profession.

The whole idea of the ACA is that it is hard to be a good accountant without genuine on the job training. A person who trained a small accountancy firm that offers ACA contracts is probably going to know a lot about business and accounting - arguably more so that somebody who works in accounts for a FTSE 100 company.
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M1011
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
I think the person with an ACA from a small accounting firm may well be more highly regarded within the accounting profession.

The whole idea of the ACA is that it is hard to be a good accountant without genuine on the job training. A person who trained a small accountancy firm that offers ACA contracts is probably going to know a lot about business and accounting - arguably more so that somebody who works in accounts for a FTSE 100 company.
Well we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
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monk_keys
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I think the 'which qualification is better?' issue is a debate that exists solely on a few internet forums fuelled by paranoid graduates. I wouldn't be surprised if it was created by mods purely to create traffic.


Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Don't worry about the qualification.
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Tokyoround
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
I think the person with an ACA from a small accounting firm may well be more highly regarded within the accounting profession.

The whole idea of the ACA is that it is hard to be a good accountant without genuine on the job training. A person who trained a small accountancy firm that offers ACA contracts is probably going to know a lot about business and accounting - arguably more so that somebody who works in accounts for a FTSE 100 company.
So the person who worked in a practice will know more about businesses than the person who actually worked in a business? Right, makes perfect sense.
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AW1983
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The ICAEW has been taking a pounding to its reputation for years and is generally perceived to be equal to ACCA nowadays. I say perceived because as a non-accountant it doesn't really matter to me if the people in the Financial Reporting dept are ICAEW, ACCA or, hell, even CIMA as long as they're competent; my opinion seems to be quite widely held within financial services.

My recommendation is to do the qualification that best fits your personal circumstances. It is not particularly difficult to dual qualify at the end if you have to.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by Tokyoround)
So the person who worked in a practice will know more about businesses than the person who actually worked in a business? Right, makes perfect sense.
Small accountancy firms are still businesses of their own right - with exposure to a wide range of small businesses.They still have win clients and work with businesses. I think that working in that kind of environment may well give you more exposure to business than being in accounts working for a firm like GSK. One of the benefits of working in a small firm is that it gives you a wider exposure to the business.

I mean, do people who work in HR or IT for FTSE 100 companies have a good idea about the business issues facing their companies or how clients are won or goods are sold? Why wouldn't the same logic apply to some new recruit working in accounts?
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AW1983
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This is a stupid argument really. Students in practice and in industry will both get a lot of 'business' experience, whatever that means. Students in industry will tend to start in one small area, like accounts receivable and then slowly build up their exposure to the wider accounting function. Students in practice will probably get a broader overview, especially if they are in an area like audit. They will also get wider exposure as they become more responsible for managing their work (e.g. budgeting).

The real difference is that someone in 'industry' will tend to have a more detailed knowledge of one type of business whereas someone in practice will probably have a more generalist exposure to several businesses. This can be an advantage (e.g. accountant in the tourism industry, good candidate for broader business role in the tourism industry) and a disadvantage (e.g. accountant in the tourism industry, trying to get into an investment banking accounting role).

PS: People talk about 'business' when they can't articulate between disciplines such as management, accounting, compliance, law, marketing etc. Saying exposure to business is a bit like saying 'exposure to transport' because you take a train to work (not very descriptive). Saying you have such exposure thus makes it very transparent that you're not entirely sure what you're talking about...
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safier
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Not which because acca is not chartered
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AW_1983
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
ACA is more highly regarded, largely because you have to have a training contract with an accountancy firm to do it. For an ACCA you don't need to work in an accountancy firm.
(Original post by Classical Liberal)
I think the person with an ACA from a small accounting firm may well be more highly regarded within the accounting profession.

The whole idea of the ACA is that it is hard to be a good accountant without genuine on the job training. A person who trained a small accountancy firm that offers ACA contracts is probably going to know a lot about business and accounting - arguably more so that somebody who works in accounts for a FTSE 100 company.
This theory is extremely flawed because there are a lot of experiences that an accountant in a FTSE 100 company will get that someone in a small accountancy practice will not. Someone in a small accountancy practice will typically work for clients who have one legal entity in one jurisdiction, many of whom are too small to even require an audit. The accounting will be very simple as a result.

In contrast, someone working for a FTSE 100 firm will get experience of the following:

1) Listing rules;
2) Transfer pricing;
3) Consolidations including across jurisdictions;
4) Conflicts of laws (potentially);
5) Much more complex budgets and supply chains if they work in management accounting.

Experiences in these areas significantly improve someone's employability whether they are ACCA, ICAEW or CIMA qualified. Or even hypothetically CIPFA for that matter!
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