A Complete Analysis of ACCA vs CA vs CPA


Several professional qualifications are available for those looking to make a career in accounting or finance. It might be confusing if you receive advice to seek different credentials, such as CA, US CPA, or ACCA, from multiple sources.
Therefore, we shall address the ACCA vs CPA vs CA credentials, often the most important ones in this respect. These top three accounting/finance certificates are the best for getting top job positions and excellent salaries. When deciding between these three professional certification programs, several questions pop into your head, so you need to be well-versed in the pros and cons of ACCA, CPA, and CA.
Let's talk about some incredible statistics relating to the leading accounting programs, ACCA vs CA vs CPA.

Top 9 Facts About ACCA

One of the highly regarded exams in the world of business is the ACCA, or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. This certification has received much recognition over the past several decades in many world regions. It has steadily risen in popularity among students with backgrounds in business. Given the difficulty of the ACCA exams, candidates need dedication, drive, perseverance, self-confidence, a positive outlook, and sincerity to succeed.
Here are some ACCA-related facts that you need to know to go for the ACCA certification program.
  1. Because ACCA is an internationally recognized accounting body in more than 180 countries, it is usually referred to as Global Chartered Accountants (CA).
  1. ACCA has no age restrictions! That implies you may begin studying for the certification at any age. Previously, according to ACCA's Mature Student Entry Route (MSER) guideline, the qualifying age was 21. However, the MSER regulation was removed in January 2011. Students of any age may now apply and begin their ACCA career.
  1. The ACCA exam is challenging, and the difficulty level rises as you go along. You will be immensely helped in this scenario by enrolling in the top ACCA certification course. Your confidence will grow as a result, and you'll be able to ace the test the first time.
  1. It is a global accounting certification with members from all around the world. Professionals having the ACCA credential can work anywhere in the globe.
  1. The ACCA syllabus comprises 13 exams that are separated into three parts. These three levels are the stage of applied knowledge, the stage of applied skills, and the stage of the strategic professional.
  1. ACCA exams are given in March, June, September, and December four times a year. To pass the test, candidates must have more than 50%.
  1. Candidates must possess two A levels and three GCSEs or equivalent in five disciplines, including English and mathematics. English language proficiency is required. They must be at least 18 years old.
  1. Globally, individuals with ACCA credentials can operate in many different businesses. Auditor, Risk Manager, Management Accountant, Financial Controller, Forensic Accountant, Internal Auditor, Tax Accountant, or Treasurer are a few well-known job titles.
  1. Over 200,000 members and 500,000 students worldwide are now enrolled in ACCA programs.

Top 9 Facts About CA

Before getting into the differences regarding "ACCA vs CA vs CPA," it's a good idea to brush up on some CA important facts.
One of India's most sought-after careers in finance and accounting has been a Chartered Accountant (CA). A CA is responsible for managing the company's finances through budgeting, taxation, and business plans. A CA has extensive training and understanding in the domains of accounting and finance.
Here are the most important CA facts:
  1. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the recognized overseeing organization for the CA certification.
  1. There are three levels to the CA certification exam: Foundation, IPCC, and Final.
  1. Completing an articleship as part of the program allows you to gain first-hand industry knowledge. The candidate must finish this part of the curriculum with whichever organization the candidate chooses.
  1. With this professional degree program, you can pursue advanced degrees like an MBA or a CFA, among others.
  1. A CA may easily maintain continuity in their profession since they can take pauses to review the new changes and then come back to work.
  1. Regarding ICAI, there are no restrictions on age or reservations. Everyone has equal access to the chartered accountant procedure and chances afterwards.
  1. CA Foundation can be completed concurrently with a Bachelor's degree. However, a bachelor's degree in commerce is required to obtain this certification.
  1. CA salaries range between Rs 7 LPA and Rs 10 LPA.
  1. CA is exclusively recognized in India.
We will also discuss the facts about CPA before learning the difference between ACCA vs CA vs CPA.

Top 9 Facts About CPA

The designation of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) denotes the greatest degree of expertise in the discipline of accounting. The CPA course certifies you as an accounting professional and opens you to a world of opportunities. Some of the important facts about a CPA are:
  1. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers the US CPA as a professional certificate.
  1. With a CPA license, you may sign tax returns & Audit Reports and work as an owner or partner in a public accounting firm.
  1. CPAs are frequently acknowledged as the best accountants in the world and work in a wide range of businesses.
CPA course
  1. There are four parts to the course:
  • Audit & Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)
  1. On average, 50% of candidates who take the US CPA certification exam succeed at it.
  1. The US CPA course typically takes 7 to 12 months to complete.
  1. One advantage of this career path is that you do not need to have studied math in the 12th grade to pursue it.
  1. A CPA is capable of doing a wide range of duties, such as tax preparation, financial data analysis, auditing and review, consulting services, financial planning, and many more.
  1. The typical fresher/entry-level CPA pay in India is approximately six lakhs per year, while in major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, the income may go as high as 13.8 lakhs per year.
The above facts must have made the basics of this course a little clear. Let's start with the key points of ACCA vs CA vs CPA.

Is ACCA better than CA?

One can consider several aspects to determine which is superior when comparing ACCA and CA.
  • Both ACCA and CA may help you advance your career by giving you top employment responsibilities and high-paying wages. ACCAs, on the other hand, are often paid more.
  • CA is only accepted in India. It is not acknowledged everywhere. On the other hand, ACCA has a solid reputation worldwide and offers candidates a range of employment options.
If a person wants to work overseas, they can enroll in ACCA. If you wish to remain in India, CA is a fantastic choice. So, whichever path you choose, consider if you want to work overseas or stay in India.
If you're having trouble deciding which to choose, have a look at the differences between the two in the next section. This difference will also clarify ACCA vs CA vs CPA in your head.

Difference Between CA and ACCA

RecognitionCA is not acknowledged worldwide. (Only in India and some regions of the UAE)Recognized in approximately 180 countries.
DurationThree to five years, depending on the candidate's capabilities and 1 year of extra internship.Three years to finish the course, plus 2-3 years of training.
Exam StructureCA is divided into three levels: Foundation, IPCC or Intermediate, and Final.ACCA is divided into three levels: Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Strategic Professional Level.
Job rolesAccounting Manager Accountant, Cost Accountant, Taxation Experts, Forensic Accountant, Auditor, CFO, Tax Specialist
ExemptionNo ExemptionThe other courses are accepted by ACCA. A CA Inter Pass candidate must appear in 9 out of 15 examinations, but a Qualified CA must appear in just 5 out of 14 papers.
Salary7-8 LPA8-9 LPA
Now the next step to analyze ACCA vs CA vs CPA  would be to understand the key factors of CPA and CA.

Difference between CPA and CA

RecognitionAn Indian degree that is highly respected in India and a few Middle Eastern nations.An international degree that is recognized all around the world
DurationFour to five years to complete.Seven months to a year.
LicensingAny CA business requires a minimum of three years of articleship before granting a CA license.A CPA license requires a minimum of one year of experience in either finance or accounting.
Job RoleA Chartered Accountant will be responsible for the company's finances, auditing, and so on.A CPA will be required to work as a strategic business advisor.
Salary8-9 lakh P/A6-7 lakh P/A
Exam Pattern3 levels of Exam4 exams
The last step in knowing about ACCA vs CA vs CPA is the difference between ACCA and CPA.

Difference between ACCA and CPA

Recognition180 countriesRecognized in the United States and elsewhere with US regional offices
Duration6-24 months12-18 months
Exemptions9 ExemptionsNo exemptions
Job RoleFinancial Accountant, Corporate Treasurer, Financial ControllerFinance ManagerPublic Accounting, Tax Examiner, Business System Analyst, Forensic Services
Salary5 LPA to 16 LPA6-7 LPA
Number of Exams154

ACCA vs CA vs CPA Salary in India

When comparing ACCA and CA salaries, it is important to remember that employers who recruit candidates with either of credentials pay almost equally for each. As freshers, qualified members get salaries ranging from 6 to 8 lacs yearly. 
Now, if you compare CPA salary, it is also not very less. A fresher US CPA can start earning from 6 to 7 lakh per annum. Licensed professionals will have a lucrative career with vertical career advancement up the corporate ladder as their experience in the area grows.
In the detailed analysis of ACCA vs CA vs CPA,  there is one point that we really need to consider ACCA exemptions.

ACCA Exemptions for CPA

Please note that only eight accounting organizations worldwide have mutual recognition agreements with the US; the ACCA is not one of these eight accounting bodies. Since there is no MOU for CPA, neither ACCA nor its members are eligible for CPA exemptions. You must thus fulfill the CPA criteria if you possess an ACCA certification. Members of the ACCA with master's degrees or above must additionally complete a certain number of accounting and business courses. Numerous ACCA members have earned their US CPA licenses. It is less difficult for ACCA members with advanced degrees to be eligible to sit for the US CPA Exam because NASBA and the AICPA do not have recognition agreements with ACCA.


1. Is CPA more difficult than ACCA?

There are several things to consider when choosing between the US CPA and the ACCA. The US CPA has fewer portions than the ACCA Qualification (four test sections vs. thirteen examinations), yet they are all challenging. The CPA experts point out that the pass percentage for CPA is 75%, but ACCA is 50%, which certainly makes ACCA simpler. However, ACCA examinations need written answers, whereas CPA exams are MCQs, and hence attaining 50% is still fairly difficult.

2. Is ACCA equal to CA?

In India, the ACCA qualification is equal to the CA (ICAI) certification. The only variation is in the course material. The CA certification is a little too demanding to complete. However, it is vital to remember that a CA degree is not internationally recognized, but ACCA is. Furthermore, when it comes to ACCA versus CA, the latter is significantly affected by Indian law and other company rules. If you want to work in one of the Indian businesses, create your own business, or become a partner in a CA firm, you must have a CA qualification.

3. Is ACCA worth it in 2023?

The ACCA tests are well worth taking for any accounting professional wishing to improve in their career. The ACCA is recognized by businesses worldwide as a global certification. Jobs for ACCA experts have increased steadily along with the expansion of more and more MNCs and Big 4 businesses. Similar to this, as more students learn about ACCA and its advantages, the industry has seen a rise in demand for the certification exam. This professional course is the greatest next step if you want to advance in your accounting and finance career.

4. Why is ACCA the best?

You may take your career in any route if you study with ACCA. You open doors to some of the world's greatest and most fascinating positions. Because of their strategic thinking, technical expertise, and professional values, employers worldwide look for individuals with ACCA training to advance their organizations. ACCA is a comprehensive course covering almost all critical accounting topics. The ACCA certification can assist you in developing the technical and managerial abilities needed to be a top accountant

5. Can I do CMA after ACCA?

If you fulfill the remaining requirements, you are eligible to enroll in CMA as an ACCA member. ACCA members who desire to get a US CMA certification can pass the two-part CMA exam and accrue the necessary two years of management accounting work experience. If you are a member of one of the organizations, you may be entitled to many exemptions if you decide to continue the other course after ACCA CMA Mou.


For a candidate looking to pursue a career in accounting or finance, the top three professional certifications are ACCA, CA, and CPA. This article has discussed the distinctions between ACCA vs CA vs CPA, as well as a number of important aspects.
Candidates must pass the corresponding certification tests to obtain these three credentials. It is important to note that the certification examinations listed above will be difficult; consequently, candidates should enroll in courses at a renowned institute such as NorthStar Academy (NSA). NSA offers students specialized study material, pre-recorded lectures, live sessions, and package discounts, making the course more affordable. Candidates who sign up for the CPA, ACCA, or CA course also receive free demo courses to get a feel for the quality we deliver.
Enroll in these courses right away to pave the path for a more promising future both in India and overseas.
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