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ACCA

I was hoping to know if I could take an ACCA course without going to university, and if so where should I apply for this qualification?
I'm thinking about taking a gap year before going into an accountancy course in university and I was told completing an ACCA qualification would be very beneficial. Is it possible to complete in under a year?
Original post by moonhrt
I was hoping to know if I could take an ACCA course without going to university, and if so where should I apply for this qualification?
I'm thinking about taking a gap year before going into an accountancy course in university and I was told completing an ACCA qualification would be very beneficial. Is it possible to complete in under a year?


Yes you can do ACCA without going to uni. The standard entry requirements are to have passes at A Level (see the following: https://www.accaglobal.com/lk/en/qualifications/glance/acca/minimum-entrance.html)

Should you have zero qualifications for any random reasons, you can even go into ACCA without any qualifications. See the following qualifications that you can take which will provide you exemptions for ACCA modules: https://www.accaglobal.com/lk/en/qualifications/glance/foundation-level/overview.html

Should you do ACCA before you go for a degree in accounting?
I really don't recommend it. The first year of your degree would go through the same, if not similar, material as you would in the first few modules of the ACCA qualification. In essense, your degree should offer you exemptions for the ACCA qualification. Doing an ACCA qualification (or starting ACCA) then doing an accounting degree would only double your workload for no apparent reason. See the following for what exemptions you can get with your accounting qualification: https://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en/help/exemptions-calculator.html

Is it possible to complete ACCA within a year?
The ACCA consists of 13 exams, and the complete qualification would be the equivalent of a master's degree. The first 9 modules would be the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. Completing your accounting degree would at most offer you 9 exemptions at most. The last 4 modules are said to be very challenging. Most candidates require more than one attempt on at least one module through their studies.
In fact, if you have an ACCA, you would even be qualified to lecture university students in accounting.
There are then 4 exam cycles a year. and whilst there is no specific limit to how many exams you can take at one time, doing 3+ exams in one sitting takes a toll on you. The typical student would take 2 modules at a time at most, and it would normally take them roughly 2 years to complete the qualification.
I don't know what sort of super accounting genius you think you are, but if you're confident in doing a whole ACCA qualification within a year, go for it.

Strictly speaking, there isn't that much in accounting that you need in terms of qualifications. If you're trying to look for things that would boost your application, then you can look at:

AAT Level 4 in Accounting https://www.aat.org.uk/qualifications-and-courses/accounting/level-4-diploma-professional-accounting
Whilst the qualification would provide you exemptions for ACCA modules, and essentially repeating some of the same material in the fist 2 years of your degree, the point is you can become a qualified bookkeeper with this qualification. In which case, you can going into a job or start a business in bookkeeping if you have sufficient experience. It's also an entry level qualification for jobs in accounting firms and accounting roles should people decide not to go to university (an alternative to ACCA's entry level qualifications)

IAB certifications https://www.iab.org.uk/bookkeeping-qualifications/
IAB is an alternative to AAT for bookkeeping, but their qualifications require you to go through all Level 1-3 or 4 in order to qualify. It's not as widely known as AAT and it doesn't offer exemptions for ACCA modules (but they offer exemptions for FIA qualifications from ACCA). Each level can take over 100 hours of study at a time (some as high as 330, so the equivalent of an A Level).

ICB https://www.bookkeepers.org.uk/Study--Qualifications/Current-Qualifications, https://www.bookkeepers.org.uk/Membership
ICB is an alternative bookkeeping body. Like IAB, it provides no exemptions for any qualifications with ACCA (in fact only the institution by name is recognised by ACCA). It is significantly quicker to qualify to become a bookkeeper with ICB than IAB though, but I would prefer going with AAT

Sage certification https://www.sagequalifications.com/shop?rvdsfpfr=7%3D36%257C
Whilst I hold a strong bias against Sage, it's a nationally recognised bookkeeping software and it's supported by a number of accounting bodies, including ACCA. Holding a certificate can help with bookkeeping knowledge, even though it's strictly not necessary.

Xero certification https://www.xero.com/uk/partner-toolkit/get-certified/
I personally have a strong preference for Xero over Sage in terms of bookkeeping software, so I am biased in this respect. However, the certification is not endorsed by most accounting firms, and Xero is an American company.

Quickbooks certification https://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/training-certification/certification/
Quickbooks is not commonly used in the UK, but it's a popular brand for bookkeeping in the US considering it's a US company. Again, it's not endorsed by any of the accounting bodies

MOS certification https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/browse/?type=mos&levels=advanced, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/microsoft-office-specialist-expert-2019/, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/mos-excel-expert-2019/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE9-1D2FmDs
Microsoft Office's qualifications are not necessary for accounting roles, but having it as a qualification can demonstrate that you are capable of using commonly used Office software like Excel to a proficient level. Personally, I regard these as overkill, but you can do them if you wish. These would be the highest official and regonised qualifications that you can get in Microsoft Office in the world.

ICDL https://icdleurope.org/icdl-programmes/
ICDL is the new term for the former ECDL. It's essentially a certification that shows you're competent in computing, and it's recognised throughout the country. However, I wouldn't regard it to be a good substitute for MOS certifications although it covers some of the basic elements in Office. In fact, if I put a MOS specialist with an ICDL in a room and get them to showcase what they know about Office, MOS would come out on top every time. Having said that it's a cheaper way to show to employers that you're competent in using Office. Like MOS though, it's not necessary for the job. If you want the ICDL, you're either looking at Workforce or Professional programs, with Professional being preferred.

CIOT https://www.tax.org.uk/adit/why-adit, https://assets-eu-01.kc-usercontent.com/220a4c02-94bf-019b-9bac-51cdc7bf0d99/2f74871d-fa5d-44a3-a479-9d6d769567e7/ADIT%20Prospectus%20%282022%29.pdf
CIOT is the UK's tax body in terms of certifications. The highest qualification that you can get for UK tax is the CTA. There are a myriad of ways to get into tax, but 4 are most common, with completing ACCA being one of them. This is a bit far off at the moment, but you're eligible to look into it if you complete the ATT, which is mentioned below.
On the other hand, there's the ADIT certification which is for international taxation (or tax in multiple countries). There are no entry requirements as far as I know, and it can help your CV stand out like a sore thumb if tax is something you're considering getting into. I don't know how long each module will take, but it's a worthwhile investment of time and effort if you're interested.

ATT https://www.att.org.uk/our-qualifications/att-qualification, https://www.att.org.uk/sites/default/files/ATT-Prospectus-2022.pdf, https://www.att.org.uk/att-cta-tax-pathway
ATT is the equivalent of AAT but specifically for tax (junior qualification). The content that you would cover here would be the same as what you would cover in ACCA if you maxed out on all the tax modules. If you're adamant on getting into tax, the ATT would provide you with a shortcut onto the CTA qualification.



If you have specific questions, let me know.
Original post by moonhrt
I was hoping to know if I could take an ACCA course without going to university, and if so where should I apply for this qualification?
I'm thinking about taking a gap year before going into an accountancy course in university and I was told completing an ACCA qualification would be very beneficial. Is it possible to complete in under a year?

As above - there is no benefit in taking ACCA courses before studying accounting at university. It would not be in any way beneficial to do so. By all means look at the free online tuition courses if that interests you.

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