ACCA vs CPA USA: Which is Better for Your Career?


A company's financial foundation is the accounting department, and it offers a wide range of career prospects for commerce students. Accounting specialists are in high demand as businesses are growing in scale and their demand for handling the accounts expands. To work in the accounting industry, you must be very competent. Several prestigious financial and accounting associations offer their certifications throughout the world to train accountants. The ACCA course and US CPA course are two of the top accounting certification qualifications, providing vast and in-depth expertise in the field. Both of these courses provide highly-preferred credentials for those seeking a career in accounting.
But when you consider opting between the ACCA Course and the US CPA course, several questions must come into your head. While the Certified Public Accountant (CPA USA) course certifies you as a Chartered Accountant in the United States, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course certifies you as a global Chartered Accountant. If you are uncertain about your future plans, continue reading this article.
To make a clear understanding of ACCA vs CPA USA, we will start with the syllabus details.

US ACCA vs CPA USA - Syllabus

US CPA Syllabus -The US CPA course syllabus is divided into four exams or subjects. The CPA Syllabus, along with subdivisions for each section, is listed below:
Auditing & Attestation or AUD: 
  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting
Business Environment and Concepts or BEC: 
  • Enterprise Risk Management, Internal Controls, and Business Processes
  • Economics
  • Financial Management
  • Information Technology
  • Operations Management
Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR: 
  • Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting
  • Select Financial Statement Accounts
  • Select Transactions
  • State and Local Governments
Regulation or REG: 
  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
  • Business Law
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions 
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals
  • Federal Taxation of Entities
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ACCA Syllabus - The ACCA course syllabus is broken into three levels. Knowledge level, Skills level, and Professional level are the three levels. The ACCA syllabus includes 11 mandatory subjects on which the tests are based.
Knowledge Level
  • Accountant in Business (AB)
  • Management Accounting (MA)
  • Financial Accounting (FA)
Skill Level
  • Corporate and Business Law (LW)
  • Performance Management (PM)
  • Taxation (TX)
  • Financial Reporting (FR)
  • Audit and Assurance (AA)
  • Financial Management (FM)
Professional Level 
  • Essential
  • Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
  • Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
Optional (2 of 4)
  • Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
  • Advanced Performance Management (APM)
  • Advanced Taxation (ATX)
  • Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)
So, this was a detailed syllabus of ACCA vs CPA USA. We will now move on to eligibility criteria to qualify for the exams.

Eligibility Criteria - US ACCA vs CPA USA

There are some eligibility requirements that you need to consider while choosing between ACCA vs CPA USA to make your career in the accounting or finance sector.
US CPA Eligibility - To sit for the CPA test, you'll need 120 credits, and you'll need 150 credits to get the qualification and title. You can also take the CPA test if you are an international CPA applicant from India and a first-year commerce graduate from a NAAC-A-rated university.
  • For Exam- Graduation + 1 year of Post Graduation (120 credits).
  • For License- Graduation + Post Graduation (150 credits).
ACCA Eligibility
Candidates must have completed their Class 12 examinations in order to be eligible for ACCA. They would require a minimum of 65% in Mathematics/Accounting and English, as well as a minimum of 50% in the remaining disciplines. Candidates who meet these requirements and are presently pursuing or have just finished their degree may also apply for the ACCA certification. Students who have just completed their class 10 exams or who do not meet the required criteria can still apply for the ACCA qualification through the Foundation in Accountancy (FIA) route.

Exam pattern - US ACCA vs CPA USA

CPA Exam Pattern - The CPA test has three sub-sections for sub-divisional courses or fields of study. These sub-sections are referred to as testlets. The testlets are further divided into three types: multiple-choice questions (MCQ), task-based simulations, and writing communication.
ACCA Exam Pattern - Candidates must pass all three Essential module examinations and achieve a minimum of 50% (50 marks) on each paper/subject. To become ACCA-certified, candidates must also complete the Professional Ethics Module.
Once you understand the syllabus and exam details of ACCA vs CPA USA, you will be aware of how you can get prepared to pass the exam on your first attempt. Once you have got your certificate, you will be looking for job opportunities. So, here we will discuss the job prospects and job roles that you can get once you are certified.

Future Scope - US ACCA vs CPA USA

When it comes to greater employment opportunities for ACCA vs CPA USA, both of these courses are recognized worldwide and bring value to your accounting profession. The ACCA course is excellent for applicants who desire to work in industries such as banking, consulting, taxes, auditing, and law, among others. CPAs are licensed to provide accounting services to the general public. They can work in auditing, taxation, finance, finance control, accounting, financial analysis, and so on.

Top Jobs & Employers

Let's see what are the top jobs and employers available for ACCA vs CPA USA so that it will be easier for you to make a decision.
Here are a few of the highest-paying CPA jobs in India. Let us analyze them-
  • Corporate Controller
  • Tax Examiner
  • Business System Analyst
  • Public Accounting
  • Forensic Services
Here are the top accounting organizations that provide good salaries to CPA candidates.
  • Deloitte   
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers 
  • Ernst & Young India 
  • KPMG
The following are some of the highest-paying ACCA Job roles in India.
  • Financial Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • Financial Controller
  • Finance Manager
ACCA experts are easily placed at Big 4 firms such as PwC, EY, Deloitte, and KPMG. MNCs that employ ACCA India experts include Embassy Group, Tata Grant Thornton, and Pepsico.

ACCA vs CPA USA Salary

When comparing ACCA vs. CPA wages, keep in mind that firms who hire applicants with either certificate pay about similarly for both. Qualified individuals get salaries ranging from 6 to 8 lacs per year as freshers. A novice US CPA may expect to earn between 6 and 7 lacs per year. As their knowledge in the field improves, licensed professionals will enjoy a prosperous career with vertical career growth up the corporate ladder.
A recent ACCA graduate may be hired in India in a position similar to that of an Indian Chartered Accountant. As an ACCA member, you can expect to earn the following average salaries:
  1. Entry Level INR 7.8 lakhs per annum
  2. Mid Senior Level INR 12 lakhs per annum
  3. Senior Level INR 19 lacs per annum
So, above are all the relevant information that you need if you are making a career choice and getting confused with a US ACCA vs CPA USA certificate. We have put all the information in the tabular form for your convenience;
Organizing BodyThe exams are organized by the  Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK.The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) organizes the tests.
Exam PatternThe course has 3 levelsApplied KnowledgeApplied SkillsStrategic Professional (Essentials and Options)The course includes only one level, which is separated into four assessments.Financial Accounting & ReportingBusiness Environment & ConceptsAudit & AttestationRegulation
Course Duration Although the course must be finished within ten years of passing the first test, most students complete it in three to four years.Candidates will have 18 months to complete all four tests.
SyllabusSome of the major subjects addressed during the course are as follows:Ethical & Professional StandardsFinancial ManagementTaxationFinancial ReportingAccounting & AuditingSome of the major subjects addressed during the course are as follows:Ethical & Professional StandardsFinancial ManagementTaxationFinancial ReportingAccounting & Auditing
Experience RequiredA graduation degree and three years of work experience are the minimum requirements, and there are three phases to fulfill.Along with a graduate degree and 40 hours of continuing education, a certified CPA must have between one and two years of work experience.
Exam FeeThe entire cost of the course is between 1,200 and 2,000, which includes a registration fee of 89, an annual subscription of 112, and exam costs that vary based on the time of enrollment.The entire cost of the course is roughly $1,500, which includes application costs (which vary by state), registration fees, test fees, and licensure fees.
Job RolesFinancial AccountantManagement AccountantCorporate TreasurerFinancial ControllerFinance ManagerCorporate ControllerPublic AccountingTax ExaminerBusiness System AnalystForensic Services
Difficulty LevelIt is quite challenging, as just 30% of students pass the tests in several courses. Success rates for Strategic Professional (Options) examinations ranged from 32% to 44% in March 2020, while pass rates for Applied Knowledge tests ranged from 65% to 82%.50 percent of candidates pass the examinations, indicating that they are moderately challenging. For all of the tests in 2020, the pass percentages stayed between 55% and 65%.

Which one should you choose?

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Accountant of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) accounting courses are both equally relevant in their own right. These two programs bring value to your accounting profession and are both widely recognized. While US CPA is a degree based in the USA, ACCA is a program based in the UK and can help you find greater possibilities there. Over 180 countries, including Canada, Singapore, and Australia, accept the ACCA qualification.
The US CPA credential is acknowledged globally and may provide access to careers in Europe, Asia, and North America. So, between ACCA vs CPA USA, you should thus select the option that best meets your needs in terms of learning, opportunity, employment, growth, and lifestyle.


Making the decision about ACCA vs CPA USA and then pursuing these courses requires a significant investment of time, energy, and money both throughout the academic process and after the degree has been earned. Due to the dynamic nature of finance, learning continues even after receiving a degree. 
To get these certifications, candidates must pass the corresponding certification exams. It is crucial to note that the certification exams mentioned above will be challenging; as a result, candidates should sign up for classes at a reputable institution like NorthStar Academy (NSA).
The course is more reasonably priced, and you will get exclusive study materials, recorded lectures, live sessions, and bundle discounts. Candidates who register for the ACCA vs CPA USA course also receive complimentary demo courses to sample the caliber of our offerings.


  1. Is CPA tougher than ACCA?
Ans. It may be concluded that the ACCA test is simpler to pass than the US CPA exam based on the amount of time and effort needed to earn the CPA. Around 4555% of candidates for the US CPA pass the exam. Similarly, according to the ACCA, their average pass rate is roughly 55%.
  1. Which has better career opportunities in ACCA vs CPA USA?
Ans. In their respective fields, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Accountant of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) accounting courses are both equally significant. Candidates who desire to work in industries including banking, consulting, taxes, and the law should take the ACCA course. A candidate can pursue careers as a finance director, personal financial advisor, public accountant, or tax accountant after completing a CPA course.
  1. Which is more worthwhile, CA or ACCA?
Ans. ACCA is considered to be better than CA since it is widely recognized. Although CA is a fantastic match for India because it works with the country's accounting, financial, and taxes systems, it is not the best option for someone who wishes to relocate overseas.
  1. What is the salary for ACCA?
Ans. An ACCA member's total and major influence on their ACCA pay in India is determined by the number of years of relevant experience. In India, the average yearly pay for a chartered accountant is roughly INR 8.07 lacs.
  1. Which institution is better for ACCA and CPA?
Ans. NorthStar Academy (NSA) is the best institute for both ACCA vs CPA USA courses and helps you in gaining both certification and license. The greatest study materials, live sessions, ongoing assistance, and direction from top mentors are all provided by NSA for the certification course.
  1. Which is the best study material for CPA?
Ans. The perfect CPA study material for you will be the one that enables you to ace all four parts of the test the fastest. The following list of top CPA books includes:
  • Becker CPA Exam Review Course
  • Wiley CPA study material and courses
  • Gleim CPA Exam Flashcards and Study Material
  • Lambers CPA Exam Prep Course
  • Surgent CPA Review
The Becker CPA books and manuals are inexpensive and well-proven. As a result, Becker CPA books are preferred by successful individuals and are also provided at the top CPA coaching institute like NorthStar Academy.
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