ACCA Vs. EA - A Complete Comparison

ACCA is a prestigious finance course with a well-rounded appeal. It is often the top choice among students after completing 12th grade. Some students who are curious about consulting and tax planning frequently choose the career of an Enrolled Agent (EA), which is also a plausible career option. Both are globally acknowledged designations with several differences. 
Here is a complete ACCA vs. EA comparison to help you know. Read on. 

What is EA?

The EA credential can prove crucial for students who want to join the Tax and Accounting domain. To get the EA licence, candidates have to take an exam that is conducted in 3 parts. It is a comprehensive exam that tax preparers need to pass to be an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Enrolled agent. Once all three exams are passed and the other requirements are completed, the EA designation is conferred on those who pass successfully. This is the highest credential that the candidates can get from the IRS.
Enrolled Agents can get more tax preparation and representation rights than tax preparers who lack the designation. Those without EA can only represent those clients for whom they have prepared tax returns. However, Enrolled Agents can represent clients for different matters before the IRS. These matters include:
  • Excise Taxes
  • Employment Taxes
  • Estate and Gift Taxes
  • Income Taxes

What is ACCA?

ACCA is an accounting certification that has great weightage in the global finance industry. It helps individuals venture into the accounting world with confidence. Is the increased demand for accountants globally in giant corporations luring you to take it up? ACCA is a finance course scaling the popularity charts, with students opting for it after 12th grade. Some are combining it with a B.Com degree to progress at a faster pace on the professional front. 
The need for a well-rounded finance professional across different industries has made ACCA higher in demand. The curriculum and exams make a candidate knowledgeable in finance, and the knowledge-application acumen is tested variedly in the thirteen exams. An ACCA holder's technical knowledge and professional ethics can easily make him command a prestigious job title in any industry. 

ACCA vs. EA: A Comparative Study 

Both the ACCA and EA licence holders can dominate the finance and accounting domain in various job roles. Here is an ACCA vs. EA comparison for you to decide which can be better for you:

Exam Pattern

There are thirteen examinations broken down into 3 levels in ACCA, which students have to prepare for and crack to qualify. The three levels are divided into: 
  • Applied Knowledge,
  • Applied Skill, 
  • & Strategic Professional 
These cover various subjects in accounting and finance- from management accounting and financial accounting to taxation, business law, audits, and more. 
Almost every avenue in the realm of finance is covered. Candidates can go for online exams at their convenience. 
The EA exam is inclusive of three parts:
  • Taxation And Individuals
  • Taxation And Businesses, 
  • & Representation, Practices, And Procedure
This exam is called the Special Enrollment Examination, SEE.

Subjects Covered

ACCA covers different aspects of business management, finance management, taxation, auditing, and accounting. Candidates can get thorough knowledge of various financial practices and principles. When students prepare for 13 exams, it shows how broad and wholesome the knowledge-acquiring process is. From knowledge absorption and honing skill sets to strategic and analytical thinking, ACCA certification makes students job-ready at a young age if pursued after 12th grade. 
In the case of EA, there is a specific focus on representation before the IRS, tax preparation, and tax law. The first part of the exam deals with subjects that would make candidates prepare topics related to individual taxpayers, their income and asset evaluation, advising them, taking track of returns and more. The second part of the exam focuses on businesses and lets one grasp taxation revolving around businesses. The third part of the exam is about the practical application of the knowledge to prepare and deal with tax filing, representation and more. 
So, now you got to know about the ACCA vs. EA subjects that are covered. 

Career Options

ACCA professionals can find different career opportunities in the finance industry. They can pursue various roles, like:
  • Finance Manager
  • Senior Accountant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Management Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Audit Manager
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Senior Financial Analyst
  • Accounting Manager
  • Audit Associate
On the other hand, EAs specialise in tax matters. They can work as:
  • Tax Consultants, 
  • Tax Advisors,
  • Tax Preparers, 
or can also represent clients before the IRS.
While understanding the ACCA vs. EA job roles, it is understandable that an ACCA certification holder has much more to explore in the job arena. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • A  candidate must have passed high school to enrol for ACCA. However, there may be exemptions based on prior academic qualifications. 
  • To become­ an enrolled agent, candidate­s need not fulfil specific e­ducational requirements. Howe­ver, a Preparer Tax Ide­ntification Number (PTIN) is a necessity.


The initial registration course fee for ACCA needs to be paid once and it is not inclusive of the annual membership fees. 
In the case of EA, the exam fee is divided part-wise and needs to be paid during appointment scheduling. PTIN fees are not a part of the exam fees, and candidates need to pay separately for the same. 
Career Options
Auditor, Financial Analyst, Tax Consultant, Business Advisor etc.
Tax Consultant, Tax Advisor, Tax Preparer, Representation before the IRS etc.
High school diploma or equivalent (Exemptions based on prior qualifications)
There are no specific educational requirements. Candidates need a PTIN and must undergo a background check.
A student might incur approximately INR 4,00,000.
A student might incur INR 1,50,000 - INR 2,00,000 approximately.
ACCA freshers have a higher pay scale than EA freshers.
Though there is scope for extra compensation, the entry-level salary is lower than an ACCA.

Why Start Your ACCA/EA Journey with An Online Coaching Centre?

Online coaching centres like NorthStar Academy can easily help you get past the comprehensive ACCA or EA courses and pass the exam with flying colours. 

Your Study Time Gets Flexible 

The vastness of the syllabus, exams, and curriculum can often seem overwhelming. An online coaching centre lets you plan your day and study hours while keeping in mind your preoccupation on the professional and personal fronts. You can study as per your schedule. The curriculum is always fine-tuned as per the latest updates and changes in the syllabus. 

Best Study Materials 

When candidates are offered the best course materials for studying, they get more motivated. Many difficult concepts, topics, and subject matter are broken down in such grasping manners with the help of supporting materials, real-life examples and case studies that comprehension of topics at hand never becomes an issue. The lectures, captured in videos and audio formats that can be accessed time and again, ensure a rich knowledge-acquiring session. Sample papers, previous year papers, mock tests, and revision kits all ensure that a candidate can easily track the progress graph. 

Quality Educators 

When you choose an online coaching centre with certified instructors and mentors, you can help with your studies in every form. Whether fighting your anxieties, doing away with exam fear, or eagerly understanding subject matters that you once thought were not your cup of tea- you can just clear doubts instantly. There are online webinars, live chat sessions, and one-to-one personalised sessions – can you ask for more? 


  1. Who earns more, ACCA or EA?

The earning of an ACCA or EA depends on their skill level, experience, position, and location. Generally, the entry-level earnings for ACCA professionals can be more than that of EA professionals.
  1.  What is the career scope in EA?

There is a lot of scope for Enrolled Agents globally. Enrolled Agents have the right to represent taxpayers from any part of the world before the IRS (US). There is no limit to the practice rights of EAs, such as CPAs and attorneys.

3. Which is the toughest course between EA and ACCA?

The answer to this depends on students' aptitude, commitment, and dedication. However, to be an Enrolled Agent, candidates have to pass all three parts of the exam in two years. To maintain their enrollment, they have to complete at least 72 hours of continuing academic courses after every 3 years. ACCA can be completed in two to three years if a candidate diligently pursues the course. 


After weighing the options ACCA vs. EA, both the courses look promising for your career. You must buck up and devote long hours of study to crack the exam of your choice. Regardless of the course you opt for, getting proper exam guidance from a top-notch online coaching centre such as NorthStar Academy is a good idea. The top mentors have rich field experience and have helped innumerable students crush the ACCA or the EA exam. Consult now and enrol to accelerate your career. 

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