ACCA vs CA: Salary, Difficulty, Cost, Career Opportunities, etc.

In this blog, we’re diving deep into the realms of ACCA and CA. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, an accounting enthusiast, or a professional seeking advancement, understanding these certifications is crucial.

But here’s the catch: While both ACCA and CA are prestigious, they have unique paths and opportunities. From global recognition, exam structures, to career prospects – there’s a lot to consider!

So, let’s embark on this informative journey together. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of which path aligns best with your career aspirations.

Get ready to unravel the mysteries of ACCA and CA!

Overview of ACCA

The ACCA qualification is a leading international accountancy course, renowned for its rigorous standards and global prestige.

It offers a comprehensive curriculum in finance and accounting, appealing to a wide range of professionals and students aiming for a successful career in these fields.

To learn more about ACCA, you may read – ACCA Course Details: Exam Pattern, Fees, Duration, Syllabus etc.

Overview of CA

The Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification is a prestigious and highly respected professional designation in the field of accounting and finance. Recognized globally, it is especially prominent in countries like the UK, India, Canada, and Australia.

This qualification is tailored for those aiming to excel in accounting, audit, taxation, and business consultancy.

Eligibility and Educational Requirements for ACCA and CA

Understanding the eligibility criteria and educational pathways for ACCA and CA is crucial for anyone considering a career in accounting or finance.

These requirements set the foundation for your journey towards becoming a qualified accountant.

Eligibility Criteria Students can start after secondary education (A-Levels, High School Diploma, or equivalent).

In India:
10+2 with minimum 65% in two subjects including English and Mathematics/Accounts, and over 50% in others.
Generally requires completion of secondary education with a focus on commerce or similar subjects.

In India:
Must pass class 12 from a recognised school with 50%.

Educational Pathway
Three levels:
– Applied Knowledge,
– Applied Skills, and
– Strategic Professional.

Exemptions available for bachelor’s/master’s degree holders in relevant subjects.
Three stages:
– Foundational course,
– Intermediate course, and
– Final course.

Articleship for practical experience. Exemptions possible for commerce/business graduates.

Comparative Analysis

Both ACCA and CA offer unique pathways to becoming qualified accounting professionals.

While ACCA provides a more flexible and internationally oriented route,

CA focuses on in-depth training within the specific accounting standards and practices of a country.

Exam Structure and Content

Understanding the exam structure and the subjects covered is crucial for anyone considering ACCA or CA, as it directly impacts the learning path and preparation strategies.

Qualification ACCA CA
Exam StructureThree levels:
– Applied Knowledge (3 exams),
– Applied Skills (6 exams), and
– Strategic Professional (Essentials – 2 exams, Options – 2 out of 4 exams).

Three stages:
– Foundation (basic accounting knowledge),
– Intermediate (2 groups of 4 papers each), and
– Final (advanced knowledge, 2 groups of 4 papers each).
Core Subjects and Electives. Covers basic accounting principles to advanced strategic management.

Electives in Strategic Professional level for specialisation in areas like advanced taxation, audit and assurance, or financial management.
Wide range of topics including advanced accounting, financial management, taxation, auditing, and corporate laws.

Electives in the Final stage for areas like risk management, international taxation, or strategic cost management.

Comparative Analysis

  • Flexibility: ACCA offers more flexibility in exam scheduling and order, whereas CA has a more structured and sequential approach.
  • Specialization: Both qualifications offer electives for specialization, but ACCA provides these options earlier in the course.
  • Global vs. Local Focus: ACCA exams have a global perspective, suitable for international accounting practices, while CA exams are more tailored to the specific country’s accounting standards and regulations.

Duration and Flexibility


Time Required to Complete
Typically 3 to 4 years, but varies based on prior qualifications and exemptions.Generally 5 years, including practical training or articleship.
Flexibility in Exam Scheduling and Completion RatesHigh flexibility with exams available four times a year and up to 10 years to complete all exams.

Suitable for balancing work and study.
Less flexible, with exams conducted twice a year.

Offers a structured approach beneficial for steady progression.

Comparative Analysis

  • ACCA is more flexible in terms of exam scheduling and completion time, making it suitable for students who need to juggle professional work or other commitments.
  • CA, on the other hand, while less flexible in scheduling, offers a structured pathway that can benefit students who prefer a more consistent and steady progression.

Global Recognition and Mobility

QualificationACCA CA
Geographic Recognition and AcceptanceWidely accepted in over 180 countries.

Known for its alignment with international accounting standards.
Highly respected but more country-specific.

Recognition varies abroad.
Opportunities for International Career MobilityExcellent opportunities for international career mobility.

Members can work in various countries, with diverse career options in different sectors.
Good opportunities within the country of certification.

International mobility possible, especially with additional certifications or experience in international standards.

Comparative Analysis

  • ACCA is ideally suited for those seeking global opportunities and international exposure in their accounting career.
  • CA is more focused on in-depth expertise in specific national accounting practices, with potential for international mobility with additional efforts.

To learn more about career prospects and salaries for an ACCA across the globe, read – ACCA Salaries Internationally – US, UK, UAE, Canada, Australia, etc.

Salary Prospects

Average Salary Range (India)₹4 lakh to ₹7 lakh per annum for freshers;

up to ₹35 lakh for experienced professionals​​​​​
Around ₹9 lakh to ₹12 lakh per annum for average;

exceeds ₹20 lakhs for experienced professionals​​​​​
Experience/Specialization ImpactHigher earnings with specialization;

increases with seniority
Senior roles command higher salaries;

dependent on experience
Regional VariationsSalaries vary globally, often higher in developed economiesHigher within countries of certification, especially where CA is in high demand

Comparative Analysis

Both ACCA and CA qualifications lead to promising salary prospects, with ACCA offering more consistent global ranges and CA potentially yielding higher earnings in specific countries. Salary levels are influenced by experience, specialization, and regional economic factors.

The choice should be based on personal career goals, with an understanding of the long-term opportunities each qualification provides.

To learn more about the jobs, salaries, etc. for an ACCA in India, read – ACCA Jobs, Salary, Job Opportunities, Fresher Salary etc. in India

Career Opportunities and Specializations

QualificationACCA CA
Career Paths and Job RolesRoles include Auditor, Tax Advisor, Management Accountant, Financial Analyst, CFO.

Global job market access.
Roles include Chartered Accountant, Audit Manager, Tax Consultant, Financial Controller, Business Advisor.

Strong focus within country of certification.
Industry Sectors and SpecialisationsOpportunities in public practice, corporate sectors, non-profits.

Specialisations in financial management, tax, audit and assurance, business consultancy.
Sought after in accounting firms, corporate finance, management consultancy, public sector.

Specialisations in taxation, audit, business advisory, risk management.

Comparative Analysis

  • ACCA offers broad international job prospects and diverse roles across various sectors, suited for those seeking global exposure.
  • CA provides a strong foundation for high-profile roles within the country of certification, with potential international opportunities through additional qualifications.

To discover some courses to do after CA which would boost your career, read – Top 10 Courses to do After CA to Boost Your Career

Popular Course in this category
ACCA Prep Course
85% Passing Rate | 1200+ Hours of Material | Pass Assurance

Future Demand and Prospects

QualificationFuture DemandCareer Prospects
ACCAHigh demand anticipated due to global financial standards understanding.

Increasing need in the globalised business environment.
Diverse roles in finance like audit, financial consultancy.

Skills relevant to evolving business practices and technologies.
CAStrong demand expected, especially in countries where it’s a cornerstone of the financial sector.

Growth in audit, taxation, and financial management.
Key positions in firms, growth in financial services, management consulting.

Indispensable for local business operations and compliance.

Comparative Analysis

The future security of ACCA and CA depends on your career goals:

  • ACCA offers a globally recognized qualification, ideal for those seeking international career opportunities and versatility in accounting.
  • CA is highly regarded in specific countries, perfect for those focused on specialized roles in national markets.

Both are secure and respected, but your choice should align with whether you prefer a global or localised accounting career. Adaptability to evolving market needs and continuous learning are key in both paths.

Cost and Investment

Qualification ACCACA
Costs InvolvedCosts vary by exemptions, country, and study mode.

The approximate minimum cost could be ₹2,30,000
Costs depend on country, exam attempts, and study method.

The approximate minimum cost could be ₹75,000
Return on Investment and Long-term Career Benefits
High global recognition leading to well-paying jobs worldwide.

Enhances career mobility and potential for higher salaries, especially in international roles and senior positions.
Significant ROI in countries where CA is highly valued.

Leads to high-profile roles in accounting and finance, with strong long-term prospects and salary benefits in the country of certification.


  • ACCA may involve higher initial costs, especially for international students, but offers broader global job opportunities and potentially higher earnings in the international market.
  • CA might be more cost-effective within the country of certification but is generally more focused on the national job market.

To understand the ROI on pursuing ACCA and whether it is worth pursuing, read – Is ACCA Worth It?

Professional Development and Networking

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Requirements Requires CPD completion annually, with flexibility in learning activities to suit professional needs.
CPD requirements vary by country but generally include attending seminars, workshops, and educational events to maintain competence.
Networking Opportunities and Professional CommunitiesExtensive global networking through events, conferences, and online forums.

Access to a vast international community of professionals.
Strong networking within the country of certification through member events, local chapters, and professional groups, especially in audit, tax, and corporate finance sectors.

Comparative Analysis

  • ACCA offers a more globally oriented networking community and flexible CPD requirements suitable for a diverse range of career paths in accounting.
  • CA provides robust networking and CPD opportunities within the national context, ideal for those focused on developing a career in specific country-based accounting practices.


Factors Influencing Difficulty– Comprehensive coverage of a wide range of topics in finance and accounting.
– Flexibility in exam scheduling allows for self-paced study, which can influence preparation effectiveness.
– Global standards and practices included in the syllabus might present a challenge for those more familiar with country-specific accounting practices.
– Intensive focus on country-specific accounting standards and practices.
– Structured exam schedules and mandatory practical training (articleship) that demands significant time and effort.
– High emphasis on detailed understanding of local tax laws, auditing standards, and financial regulations.
Perceived Level of DifficultyGenerally perceived as challenging due to the breadth of topics covered and the depth of knowledge required.

The flexibility in study and exam scheduling can either mitigate or increase difficulty depending on the individual’s discipline and time management skills.
Often perceived as very challenging, particularly due to the rigorous requirements for practical training and the depth of knowledge required in country-specific accounting practices.

The structured nature of the course and exams may add to the perceived difficulty.

Comparative Analysis

Both ACCA and CA demand significant effort, commitment, and understanding of complex accounting topics.

ACCA’s challenge lies in its broad scope and the need for self-guided study, while CA’s difficulty is rooted in its depth of country-specific content and structured training requirements.

While CA is generally considered to be more difficult, the choice between the two should be based on individual career goals, learning preferences, and professional aspirations rather than solely on perceived difficulty.

To get a better insight into the difficulty of ACCA, read – Is ACCA Difficult?

Final Comparison and Decision Making

Choosing between ACCA and CA is a significant decision for any aspiring accounting professional. Below is a side-by-side comparison of key features to help clarify the differences:

Global RecognitionHighly recognized internationallyRecognized mainly in the country of certification
FlexibilityFlexible exam schedules and study optionsMore structured with mandatory practical training
Exam StructureBroad syllabus with global accounting standardsFocused on country-specific accounting standards
Career OpportunitiesDiverse international opportunitiesStrong in specific markets, especially in audit and tax
SpecializationsVariety of roles in finance and accountingSpecialized roles in local financial practices
Salary Prospects (India)₹4 lakh to ₹7 lakh for freshers; up to ₹35 lakh for experienced₹9 lakh to ₹12 lakh average; exceeds ₹20 lakhs for experienced
Professional DevelopmentContinuous learning with a global perspectiveEmphasis on local financial regulations and practices

Tips for Choosing the Right Certification:

  • Align with Career Goals:
    • If you aspire to work in various countries or global firms, ACCA offers the flexibility and international recognition you need.
    • For a career focused on specific national accounting practices, particularly if you aim to work in audit and taxation within a certain country, CA is more suitable.
  • Consider Personal Circumstances:
    • Think about your current situation, including your ability to commit to a structured program (CA) or prefer the flexibility of self-paced study (ACCA).
  • Evaluate Long-Term Prospects:
    • Both qualifications offer strong long-term prospects, but in different contexts. Consider where you see the greatest potential for growth and fulfillment.
  • Financial Investment and ROI:
    • Weigh the costs against the potential earnings and career opportunities each qualification can bring.


Choosing between ACCA and CA is more than just a decision about an accounting qualification; it’s about shaping your future career path.

With ACCA, you’re looking at a passport to global opportunities, ideal if you dream of an international career spanning multiple countries and sectors. It’s about flexibility, adaptability, and a broad understanding of global financial standards.

On the other hand, CA offers a deep dive into the accounting practices of a specific country. It’s perfect if you’re aiming for specialized expertise and a strong position in your local market. It’s about depth, structure, and mastering the nuances of local financial regulations.

So, what’s the verdict? It all boils down to your personal career goals, where you see yourself in the future, and how you want to shape your professional journey. Whether it’s the global stage with ACCA or the specialized depth of CA, your choice will pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in accounting.

Remember, both paths hold great promise and prestige – the key is to choose the one that aligns best with your aspirations and vision for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between ACCA and CA?

ACCA is globally recognized and offers flexibility and a broad view of global accounting practices. CA is more focused on specific country’s accounting standards and practices, offering depth in local financial regulations.

Which qualification is better for a career in audit and taxation?

CA is often preferred for audit and taxation roles within the country of certification due to its focus on local accounting standards. ACCA also covers these areas but from a global perspective.

Can I switch from CA to ACCA or vice versa?

Yes, it’s possible to switch between these qualifications. However, you may need to meet specific entry requirements and may receive exemptions based on your completed studies.

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