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Is it worth doing both the ACCA and ACA?

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all doing well!

I recently received an offer for a graduate role at an accounting firm. The firm provides ACA training and it’s a 3 year course. I started my ACCA journey 2 years ago and sat an exam plus structured my undergraduate course in such a way that I would receive the maximum number of exemptions.

I am hoping to graduate in 6 months time and I’m aiming to have completed 9 exams of the ACCA. After talking to a few people I’ve come to understand that the ACA can be very intense and if one fails they can be let go. Although I would like to be more optimistic about my chances of successfully completing the ACA I also want to ensure I have a back up plan in case it doesn’t work out.

So I am planning on sitting 3 ACCA exams in September 2023, and if I pass them I would only have one remaining which I could complete if my ACA doesn’t work out.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this plan? I understand it may come across as a waste of time particularly if I successfully complete the ACA, however maybe if I have a back up plan ready it could help with taking off some pressure from my shoulders.

Thanks a lot,
ACA has 6 multiple choice Computer Based Exams in Accounting, Management Information, Principles of Taxation, Business, Finance and Technology, Law and Assurance, they are very straightforward to pass with at least half marks or more. :smile:

Then you can move onto the Professional Level papers which are held in March, June, September and December, so you can maximise your success, but most study 3 papers in one sitting: Business Strategy and Technology, Tax Compliance, Tax: Business Planning and Audit and Assurance, Financial Management and Financial Accounting and Reporting. The pass mark is just 55% for all the papers, and most people pass first time.

Then you only have the Corporate Reporting, Strategic Business Management and Case Study papers to be sat together in one session. :wink:

ACCA has a less spectacular reputation and is not as respected as the ICAEW ACA qualifcation.

Moreover, ACA ICAEW Chartered Accountants can earn £200,000 or so after 5 years or so and ACCAs are lucky to hit £70,000+ :s-smilie:

You should definitely do the 3 papers of ACCA in September, but you also will have studied the same topics in ICAEW ACA with a significant overlap in topics.

Some ACA training firms study all 6 CERTIFICATE MODULES in 3 months ie January and February, then 3 papers of PROFESSIONAL LEVEL in March, and then another 3 papers of PROFESSIONAL LEVEL in June, and then finally ready for 3 ADVANCED LEVEL papers in November. Completing it in less than a year. :smile:

I would suggest you focus on the ACA ICAEW, also www.acamasters.com is recommended for your success. :wink:

Are you training with a top 20 firm in London? :s-smilie:
Original post by thegeek888

Moreover, ACA ICAEW Chartered Accountants can earn £200,000 or so after 5 years or so and ACCAs are lucky to hit £70,000+ :s-smilie:


how does this compare with Oxford Computer Science, Law or E&M?
Original post by user91234
how does this compare with Oxford Computer Science, Law or E&M?

Oxford Computer Science has a very high employment rate like Cambridge and Imperial. With a salary of £50,000 starting and rising to £250,000 for Cybersecurity and Data Science roles and much more for CEO roles.

Lawyers earn a lot in the City of London, especially in the Magic Circle firms. £2,000,000 a year as partner is expected and for Barristers as well. :wink: But it is very stressful with long hours.

Economics & Management, leads to rapid progression to Management roles, so again, £55,000 to £70,000 or more starting is to be expected.

I personally am going to do a Law degree at one of Cambridge, LSE, UCL, KCL or SOAS. As well as complete the ICAEW ACA in 12 months. So I will become a Lawyer, Accountant and Tax Adviser. But not sure if I will do an MBA yet. :s-smilie:

I would stick to doing ACA ICAEW, because 80% of FTSE 100 CEOs are ICAEW qualified and the salaries are extremely high in Dubai and especially in China. :smile:

ICAEW is very easy, with 6 Multiple Choice Papers in the Certificate Level:

JANUARY & FEBRUARY
Accounting
Management Information
Principles of Taxation
Business, Finance and Technology
Law
Assurance

MARCH

Financial Accounting and Reporting (IFRS)
Financial Management
Audit and Assurance

JUNE

Business Strategy and Technology
Tax: Business Planning
Tax Compliance

NOVEMBER

Corporate Reporting
Strategic Business Management
Case Study

So in 1 year you can be qualified, then 3 years of work experience, and then you can command £70,000 to £100,000+ and after 5 years £150,000 to £200,000+ and millions with stock options on the board of a FTSE or NASDAQ or NYSE company. :wink:
Original post by thegeek888
Oxford Computer Science has a very high employment rate like Cambridge and Imperial. With a salary of £50,000 starting and rising to £250,000 for Cybersecurity and Data Science roles and much more for CEO roles.

Lawyers earn a lot in the City of London, especially in the Magic Circle firms. £2,000,000 a year as partner is expected and for Barristers as well. :wink: But it is very stressful with long hours.

Economics & Management, leads to rapid progression to Management roles, so again, £55,000 to £70,000 or more starting is to be expected.

I personally am going to do a Law degree at one of Cambridge, LSE, UCL, KCL or SOAS. As well as complete the ICAEW ACA in 12 months. So I will become a Lawyer, Accountant and Tax Adviser. But not sure if I will do an MBA yet. :s-smilie:

I would stick to doing ACA ICAEW, because 80% of FTSE 100 CEOs are ICAEW qualified and the salaries are extremely high in Dubai and especially in China. :smile:

ICAEW is very easy, with 6 Multiple Choice Papers in the Certificate Level:

JANUARY & FEBRUARY
Accounting
Management Information
Principles of Taxation
Business, Finance and Technology
Law
Assurance

MARCH

Financial Accounting and Reporting (IFRS)
Financial Management
Audit and Assurance

JUNE

Business Strategy and Technology
Tax: Business Planning
Tax Compliance

NOVEMBER

Corporate Reporting
Strategic Business Management
Case Study

So in 1 year you can be qualified, then 3 years of work experience, and then you can command £70,000 to £100,000+ and after 5 years £150,000 to £200,000+ and millions with stock options on the board of a FTSE or NASDAQ or NYSE company. :wink:


those numbers of ICAEW and Law look unreal. But good for you if that's the case in reality.
Original post by user91234
those numbers of ICAEW and Law look unreal. But good for you if that's the case in reality.

the numbers for ICAEW should be taken with a pinch of salt.....
Zero reason to do ACCA if you have ACA, there is no more prestige to be gained
Original post by DhruvG
Hey everyone, I hope you’re all doing well!

I recently received an offer for a graduate role at an accounting firm. The firm provides ACA training and it’s a 3 year course. I started my ACCA journey 2 years ago and sat an exam plus structured my undergraduate course in such a way that I would receive the maximum number of exemptions.

I am hoping to graduate in 6 months time and I’m aiming to have completed 9 exams of the ACCA. After talking to a few people I’ve come to understand that the ACA can be very intense and if one fails they can be let go. Although I would like to be more optimistic about my chances of successfully completing the ACA I also want to ensure I have a back up plan in case it doesn’t work out.

So I am planning on sitting 3 ACCA exams in September 2023, and if I pass them I would only have one remaining which I could complete if my ACA doesn’t work out.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this plan? I understand it may come across as a waste of time particularly if I successfully complete the ACA, however maybe if I have a back up plan ready it could help with taking off some pressure from my shoulders.

Thanks a lot,

Is my understanding correct? You graduate June/ July - start a contract in Sept/ Oct for ACA?

You are considering taking 3 ACCA exams (meaning studying and sitting the exams) during the summer?

If so I don't think this is well advised:

- taking 3 professional level exams in 3 to 4 months would be very tough - probably a lot tougher coming from a related degree rather than having sat the ACCA papers for the lower level courses.

- I struggle to see a good enough reason to do so. If public accounting doesn't suit you you can always revert to ACCA.

- You should enjoy the summer! Sit in the sun, go camping, cycle across the country. Enjoy some downtime. Big accounting can be tough,
Original post by ajj2000
the numbers for ICAEW should be taken with a pinch of salt.....

You should look at job adverts online: You will find a lot of the salaries are in the £50,000 - £100,000 range, and from there on, it involves bonuses, car, stock options and flexible working. But with 5 years experience, £150,000 to £200,000 is not out of the question as a CEO or MD. :wink:

Also, Tax has a lot of shortages in staff, even the Big 4 struggle to fill all their Tax positions. Perhaps, it is because you could be dealing with at least 10 different client cases in a typical working day?! :s-smilie: However, Tax Partners, get paid £250,000 - £750,000+ a year. :wink: lol
Original post by thegeek888
Lawyers earn a lot in the City of London, especially in the Magic Circle firms. £2,000,000 a year as partner is expected and for Barristers as well. :wink: But it is very stressful with long hours.


This isn't right. Clifford Chance announced earlier this year that its average drawing for full equity partners hit £2.04m, which was a new record. There is a difference between a partner and an equity partner, and not all equity partners are full equity partners. That's not to say that you cannot earn £2m as an equity partner in a Magic Circle firm; you plainly can. But your use of the word 'partner' and 'expected' gives the impression that far more people earn this sort of money than actually do. The same with barristers. There are barristers in London at the elite sets who earn that sort of money, but they are in a very small minority, even within London. That's not to say you cannot earn a very good living as a solicitor or barrister. You absolutely can, but if money is your motivation there are other careers and industries that have higher earning potential.
100k for a London aca at 35 is probably a achievable but that’s the higher end of things. Most companies don’t pay this and there are a lot of accountants and not that many ftse firms to be cfo of!
Original post by Crazy Jamie
This isn't right. Clifford Chance announced earlier this year that its average drawing for full equity partners hit £2.04m, which was a new record. There is a difference between a partner and an equity partner, and not all equity partners are full equity partners. That's not to say that you cannot earn £2m as an equity partner in a Magic Circle firm; you plainly can. But your use of the word 'partner' and 'expected' gives the impression that far more people earn this sort of money than actually do. The same with barristers. There are barristers in London at the elite sets who earn that sort of money, but they are in a very small minority, even within London. That's not to say you cannot earn a very good living as a solicitor or barrister. You absolutely can, but if money is your motivation there are other careers and industries that have higher earning potential.

Yes, you're absolutely right that not all Law Partners earn £2m+ but Barrister's do earn much more on average.

I would specialise in Taxation, so I can do both Accounting and Law. :wink: So it is possible to make £300,000+ per year. :smile: lol

If you look at IT jobs, 600,000 positions went unfilled in USA and 150,000 here in UK. So there is a lot of money to be made in IT as well. :biggrin:

https://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law-firms/law-firm-salaries-compared
Original post by Catherine1973
100k for a London aca at 35 is probably a achievable but that’s the higher end of things. Most companies don’t pay this and there are a lot of accountants and not that many ftse firms to be cfo of!

£70k for a ACA once qualified is possible as a a Manager with 2-3 years experience and within 5 years of being qualified £150,000+

Tax pays much more and you can see how many positions don't get filled each year on the Big 4 accounting firms careers websites?! :s-smilie: :frown:
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Crazy Jamie
This isn't right. Clifford Chance announced earlier this year that its average drawing for full equity partners hit £2.04m, which was a new record. There is a difference between a partner and an equity partner, and not all equity partners are full equity partners. That's not to say that you cannot earn £2m as an equity partner in a Magic Circle firm; you plainly can. But your use of the word 'partner' and 'expected' gives the impression that far more people earn this sort of money than actually do. The same with barristers. There are barristers in London at the elite sets who earn that sort of money, but they are in a very small minority, even within London. That's not to say you cannot earn a very good living as a solicitor or barrister. You absolutely can, but if money is your motivation there are other careers and industries that have higher earning potential.


Exactly, engineers and computer scientists earn more on average compared to solicitors and barristers
Original post by thegeek888
£70k for a ACA once qualified is possible as a a Manager with 2-3 years experience and within 5 years of being qualified £150,000+

Tax pays much more and you can see how many positions don't get filled each year on the Big 4 accounting firms careers websites?! :s-smilie: :frown:


It’s possible but very rare. If a job description states 2-3 years experience that’s usually the minimum requirement to be considered, and most of the time you could get people applying with 5, even 10 or more years of experience for high paying roles in London.
Original post by Dschingis_1
It’s possible but very rare. If a job description states 2-3 years experience that’s usually the minimum requirement to be considered, and most of the time you could get people applying with 5, even 10 or more years of experience for high paying roles in London.

Tax and IT in Big 4 are slightly different. Because you gain 3 years of experience whilst training to become an ACA-CTA joint pathway and hardly anyone wants to do Tax or IT as most opt for Consulting and Audit?! :s-smilie:

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