Acca UK Vs CPA Canada - Which One Should I Choose?


ACCA and CPA are two of the most popular global certifications for students and working professionals offered by different globally recognized accounting bodies which are ACCA and AICPA respectively. Candidates willing to build a career in Accounting and Finance are often riddled with the question of which one they should go for, given that both certifications are professional credentials and highly valued. 
In this blog on "ACCA UK vs CPA Canada", lets learn about the two certifications in detail and find out the differences in the various aspects while pursuing either certification. Let us first take a look at what each certification has to offer.

What is ACCA UK?

ACCA is a professional certification offered by the official body of the same name - the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is headquartered in London, so you can easily determine that this certification is based in the UK. As an ACCA UK certificate holder, you will work to provide your expertise in accounting services and can get your hands on lucrative accounting jobs in MNCs and other top companies.

What is CPA Canada?

Chartered Professional Accountant is provided by CPA Canada and other associate accounting bodies depending on the region within Canada. Licensed CPA Canada professionals also specialize in accounting and are hired by mid-sized organizations and multinational companies.

ACCA UK vs CPA Canada Requirements

One of the first things of comparison in ACCA UK vs CPA Canada is the eligibility criteria requirements.

ACCA UK Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria that ACCA candidates need to fulfill to pursue ACCA UK are given as follows:
  • The candidates who complete the 10th standard can enroll in the ACCA course.
  • Candidates must complete 10+2 as a minimum required qualification.
  • Candidates require a minimum of 65% in Accounts or Mathematics and English in their class 12 board exams.
  • Candidates should have scored 50% in their other subjects.

CPA Canada Eligibility Criteria

Overall, candidates need to fulfill four categories of eligibility criteria to be eligible to apply for the CPA Canada exam. Let's take a look at them one by one.
  1. Educational Requirements
To fulfill the educational criterion, candidates need to acquire 150 credit hours of coursework, including 30 credit hours of accounting, out of which 24 credit hours have to be above the introductory level. The following specializations have to be studied during the relevant course hour:
  • Auditing (excluding internal auditing)
  • Financial Accounting
  • Tax
  • Management & Cost Accounting
Apart from the above-mentioned topics, candidates also need to be well acquainted with the Professional Ethics of CPAs.
Alternatively, for candidates who score 620 on their GMAT test and hold a graduation degree with 30 credit hours of coursework in finance & accounting, the additional work experience may not be required to fulfill the 150 credit hour criteria.
  1. Experience
Candidates must acquire at least two years of work experience in the relevant fields at a public accounting firm, a government organization, or an individual business.
  1. Exam
Candidates need to clear CPA PEP along with the CPA Common Final Exam (CFE), which can be completed within two years of registering.
  1. Extra Requirements
As the CPA Canada exam is localized within different regions of Canada, candidates may be required to fulfill additional criteria requirements as specified by the Accounting body of the state in which they would like to practice.
Now that you know the prerequisites of ACCA UK vs CPA Canada requirements, let's move on to the next important section: the ACCA UK vs CPA Canada exam format and the syllabus.

ACCA UK vs CPA Canada Syllabus

Knowing the ACCA UK vs CPA Canada exam syllabus will help you learn what you would need to study for the ACCA UK and CPA Canada exams. 

ACCA UK Syllabus

The ACCA UK exam syllabus comprises 13 exams which are divided into three sections:
Fundamental (Applied Knowledge & Applied Skills) and Professional Level
Applied Knowledge
  • Business & Technology (BT)
  • Management Accounting (MA)
  • Financial Accounting (FA)
Applied Skills
  • Corporate and Business Law (LW)
  • Performance Management (PM)
  • Taxation (TX)
  • Financial Reporting (FR)
  • Audit and Assurance (AA)
  • Financial Management (FM)
Strategic Professional Level
  • Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  • Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
  • Four Additional Exam Options (AFM, APM, ATX, AAA)

CPA Canada Syllabus

The CPA Canada exam is basically divided into four sections:
  • Core - 1 and 2
  • Electives - 1 and 2
  • Capstone 1
  • Capstone 2l
  • Common Final Exam (CFE)
Let's take a deeper look at the inclusions of each part.
This part consists of six integrated core competency areas, which include the following:
1. Financial Reporting
2. Strategy and Governance
3. Management Accounting
4. Audit and Assurance
5. Finance
6. Taxation
This part of the CPA PEP exam consists of two compulsory elective subjects, which candidates need to choose from enlisted options. Candidates choose any two modules:
  1. Assurance
  2. Performance Management
  3. Taxation
  4. Finance
Candidates who have knowledge or experience in Public Accounting must choose the following topics:
  • Assurance
  • Taxation
Capstones 1 and 2 focus on developing the practical knowledge and skills of candidates, which they have acquired throughout the CPA exam. Capstone 1 module includes testing of leadership and professional skills along with the integration of competencies. The capstone 2 module focuses on developing case writing skills and helping candidates prepare for the CFE.

ACCA UK vs CPA Canada - Exam Pattern

Learning about the ACCA UK vs CPA Canada exam format is as important as knowing about their syllabus. This will help you understand how you should approach the CPA exam. 

ACCA UK Exam Format

In the ACCA UK exam, the Fundamental Level subjects are divided into two: Knowledge and Skills. The Knowledge module consists of 3 papers; the rest belong to the Skills module.
Similarly, Professional Level subjects are also divided into two parts: Essentials and Optionals. Papers P1, P2, and P3 belong to the Essentials module, and the rest belong to the Optionals module. Candidates need to pass all three Essential module papers, and they need at least a 50% score on each individual paper to pass. Among the four Optionals module subjects, only two are to be completed by the candidates.
Apart from these two exam levels, candidates must also clear the Professional Ethics Module to become ACCA-certified.

CPA Canada Exam Format

The CPA PEP (Professional Education Program) exam has been divided into three parts: MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions), TBS (Task-Based Simulations), & written communication tasks. They are collectively called "testlets." The CPA PEP exam comprises a series of modules culminating in the three-day Common Final Examination (CFE).
Candidates need to be thoroughly prepared as they are to be tested based on their skills and analytical knowledge of the concepts included in the syllabus.
CPA PEP consists of four modules:
  1. Core 1 & 2
  2. Electives 1 & 2
  3. Capstone 1
  4. Capstone 2
In the CPA PEP, candidates must follow the mentioned path of exam modules:
  • Core 1
  • Core 2
  • Electives 1&2 (in either order)
  • Capstone 1
  • Capstone 2
  • Common Final Examination (CFE)
Passing Criteria: The CPA PEP exam is graded on a scale of 0 to 99. To clear the CPA Canada certification exam and become a licensed CPA professional, candidates need to secure a score of 75 in each section of the exam; that is, candidates need to secure 75% marks overall in the CPA Canada exam.

ACCA UK vs CPA Canada Cost


The ACCA UK exam cost in India is divided into Exam Fees and Qualification Fees consisting of Registration Fee and Annual Subscription Fee.
Business & Technology (BT), Management Accounting (MA), and Financial Accounting (FA) are the on-demand CBEs (Computer-Based Exams). You can book them and their fees depend on in-house centers, ranging from INR 8,000 to INR 10,000.
Exam LevelExam Entry PeriodDecember 2022 (per exam)
LW, PM, TX, FR, AA, FMStandard129
Ethics & Professional SkillsStandard71
Check out the ACCA UK qualification fee and ACCA UK Exemption fee below.
ACCA UK Qualification CostFees
Initial Registration Fee30
Annual Subscription116
Re-registration (Reinstatement) fee89
Exemption FeeCost
Each Knowledge Exam Exempted84
Each Skill Exam Exempted111

CPA Canada Fees

Depending on when they take the CPA Canada exam, candidates need to pay different CPA Canada costs. There are two time periods- January-June and July-December. Let's take a look at the CPA course fee in detail.
  1. January to June
If candidates are registering between January 1 and June 30, the CPA exam fee break up is as follows:
Initial Administration Fee$125
Annual Student Registration Fee$600
Total Registration Fee before Taxes$725
Taxes on Annual Student Registration Fee$16.25
Taxes on Initial Administration Fee$78
  1. July to December
If candidates are registering between July 1 and December 31, candidates need to pay the following Registration fee and additional fee:
Initial Admission Fee$125
Annual Student Registration Fee$300
Total Registration Fee before Taxes$425
Taxes on Annual Student Registration Fee$16.25
Taxes on Initial Administration Fee$39
Total $480.25

ACCA UK vs CPA Canada: Comparison

Now that you know everything in detail, we have made a side-by-side comparison of ACCA UK vs CPA Canada for easy summarization.
ParticularsACCA UKCPA Canada
DefinitionCandidates that are ACCA UK certified are entitled to Auditing, taxation, Management Accounting, Handling accounts, etc.CPA Canada-approved public accounting credential for candidates who enroll in the CPA PEP, pass the CFE and fulfill the necessary education and experience requirements.
Accounting BodyAssociation of Chartered Accountants, LondonCPA Canada and the provincial/regional CPA bodies
Eligibility Criteria65% in Accounts or Maths & 50% in other subjects in the 12th-grade examEnroll for CPA PEP Pass the CFE 30 months of relevant practical experience
Exam FormatFundamental Level & Professional Level along with Professional Ethics ModuleCPA PEP exam questions including MCQs, TBSs, & Writing Case, Case studies
Professional Education Requirements3 years of PER is requiredRequired to complete CPA PEP (must be a graduate for admission to CPA PEP)
Time Duration18 - 24 months2 years
Exam Windows4 times a year - March, June, September, and December2 times a year - May & September


1. Can ACCA become CPA Canada?

If you are a standing member of ACCA UK, you are eligible to get admission to CPA Ontario under the umbrella of CPA Canada under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the two accounting bodies.

2. Is UK ACCA valid in Canada?

At present, UK ACCA is not recognized in Canada. However, candidates who have obtained this certification can become eligible to apply for the CPA Canada certification exam.

3. Is CPA better than ACCA?

ACCA UK works in the Advance Module of Finance, while CPA professionals work for the Regulator of business. If you are looking to expand a career in the Accountancy domain, it is better to go for ACCA.

4. Is CPA tougher than ACCA?

Going by the amount of effort and time required to obtain the CPA Canada, it can be said that the ACCA UK exam is easier to clear than the CPA Canada exam.

5. Who earns more CPA or ACCA?

Various factors affect the earning potential of candidates acquiring either CPA Canada or ACCA UK certification. An ACCA-certified individual can earn around $60,000, while CPA professionals can earn around $100,000.

6. Is CPA Recognised in the UK?

CPA Canada is recognized only in Canada, while ACCA UK is recognized in over 180 countries.


From this ACCA UK vs CPA Canada comparison, it is obvious that the ACCA UK certification requires fewer exam levels to be completed with a lesser time duration required to complete all of the levels of exams. If you are looking for an internationally recognized certification in Accountancy, ACCA and CPA USA are both excellent options.
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