Can anyone fill me in on the differences between the two qualifications?
No difference in the qualification as such, i.e. both qualified to do the same things etc etc.
The main difference is how you qualify; the exam structures are very different.. experience required to qualify is roughly the same for both, although I hear the ICAI are extending the training contract by 6 months for those commencing in 2008 (ouch).
I would definitely look at the structure of exams. Though in the end, the difficulty of the individual exams is about the same.
The other thing, the ICAI requires a 3.5 year contract (that is the requirement for new trainees to start Autumn 2008). This contract makes it very difficult to switch firms if there should be a problem. I'm not sure how that works with the ACCA.
Also, if you are planning on claiming exemptions, you will want to check with each to see what exemptions you will be entitled to. I know it can vary. However, if you don't have a bachelor degree, the ACCA has an agreement with Oxford Brookes University in the UK, so you can choose to complete a project on top of your exams to receive the BSc in Applied Accounting. However, both the ACA and ACCA qualifications are recognised by HETAC as level 9.
about 50 grand a year
(oh bring on the abuse)
You're ugly - There, you made me say it! We agreed not to hurt your feelings, but you asked for it!
50 grand....Im sold!
Actually it's about a 100k per year difference - sign up quick!
News just in.........200k difference!! First 10 signups get a free badge!
im aca myself, it seems to me that people doing the accas seem to tread a far more difficult course and are more likely to fail exams, generally because they get less study leave etc.
if you can get into a firm that you will be doing the acas in and are offering the proscribed study leave id go with them
Snobbery, that's the only difference.