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  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭ Andrew93

    I know this question has been asked numerous times in the past on here. Just wondering what peoples current opinion is on which one you would go for if you were starting out. A bit of background about myself might help people give me some advice so here it goes.

    Just finished a level 8 degree in Accounting and Finance with TU Dublin in May (finished with a 2:1). Have a 4 month old baby at home. Recently got a job with a company within industry working on the finance team (only myself, finance manager and finance director). Getting plenty of hands on experience and training so far. Looking to go down the flexible route if I go with ACA. Currently swaying more towards ACCA due to the 4 exam sittings per year compared to 1 with ACA (I think?). What's the main differences that you would associate with both accounting bodies? For example I've read that some people prefer ACA due to it being open book exams.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have racked my brain for weeks trying to decide which one to go with.


  • how many ACA and ACCA exemptions do you have? IMO, ACA is held in higher regard but with a young family, working in what sounds like a small company, in industry, and with the flexibility of being able to do whatever number of ACCAs you want in one sitting, I'd think that route is the better bet for you. Small team by the sounds of it, will they be willing to give you 6 weeks study leave in one block? You'll have a toddler at FAE time presumably, even if you do go the flexible route, so your capacity to study will be greatly limited I would think (have 2.5 year old myself). Knocking off the ACCAs one at a time, more if you fancy it, seems like a no brainer.

  • Thanks for the reply! I have full CAP1 exemptions and 5 ACCA exemptions. I feel as though ACCA is the better route to go regarding my situation, just want to see what other peoples opinions are. Regarding the study leave I am not sure what my company will give me but I can't imagine it will be 6 weeks by any means. Yes it is industry that I am working in. Hoping to be knocking out 2-3 a year if I go with ACCA. Do you think that would be possible along with still having some time outside of work and studying? Not really sure how intense the studying will have to be for each exam (10-15 hours a week I'm guessing?)

  • How many ACCAs would you have left? About 8? I would have thought that that you could have a few weeks / a month off between exams if you were putting in those sort of hours for each exam for 6/7 weeks but other ACCA people could offer more specific advise. I did ACA 10 years ago out of college so different experience, but having a young family and looking back at the time involved in doing CAP2s and FAEs, I don't think this would suit your circumstances. Wouldn't overthink the intensity of studying if you have been through college, esp if you can do ACCAs and break the exams down in to bite size pieces.

  • Since you're working in industry as opposed to practice, have you considered CIMA at all?

    Have a look at the CGMA Finance Leadership Program (FLP), it's newly launched in Ireland since last October.

    Instead of the traditional way of sitting a module where you learn a bunch of material then sit a big exam, with the FLP you don't sit traditional exams, but are assessed as you go along, at the end of every section as you go through it. You'd go through a section on the business model for example, there is questions as you go along, then at the end of the section you would have an assessment where you would have to get a certain amount correct to move on, 3 out of 5 for example. You're not penalised if you get it wrong, there is unlimited attempts at the assessments.

    All the learning with the Professional Qualification is done this way, then at the end each level there is the traditional case study exam based on the level you're at which you need to pass to move onto the next level.

    There's too much about it for me to go into now but have a look yourself and feel free to ask me any questions about it, I've done a level with CIMA in the normal way and I'm now going through the next level in this new way with the FLP. It couldn't be more flexible, you complete the learning at your pace.

  • 9 exams including the ethics module I will have to complete. I'm finding it hard enough to find any information regarding studying hours etc online. Hopefully someone here can chime in with some of their experience. I know everyone is different regarding studying but a general idea would help alot.

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  • Really appreciate the reply. Haven't at all looked into CIMA, however I do know that I have the most exemptions from them when they done a virtual open day presentation earlier this year while I was still in college.

    Will have a look at the FLP this evening.

  • Stick to either of ACA or ACCA, you are going to have to put a lot of work into this, don't go for some qualification that requires you to explain that it is the same as ACA/ACCA every time you do a job application etc....

    It does not really matter which one you choose, after 10 years experience it won't make much different in the labour market. It really just depends on if you'd like to work in or set up a practice at a later stage. If you do then an ACA would be more marketable, nothing to do with the quality or limitations of the qualifications, it is just a more marketable if your hanging out your shingle.

    These are professional exams, clients and employers don't pay you to get things almost right, they expect you to get it right every time. You can expect to find this reflected in the exams. Most likely you'll find it more challenging that anything you have done up to now and with a baby at home that will be demand more of you in the next few years, the ACCA might have the edge in that it is easier to pick and mix without loosing large gaps of time.

  • ACA exams are open book and I believe ACCA exams are not so that might impact on your decision.

    Closing date for the ACA enrollment is 13 September I think as they sent us out an email last week about this and they only have one enrollment each year, unlike ACCA, so if you decide to go this way you need to get the paperwork done quickly.

    The quality of teaching in ACA chartered accountants Ireland is good.

    I did one ACCA exam and studied with a third party provider which was an absolute disaster... they hand wrote on projector slides and then scanned it and emailed them out to people in their hurried joint writing that I couldn't understand.

    ACA is a more professional setup from the point of view of a student and they have the societies and follow on courses so that may have future additional benefits for you.

  • Apologies for hijacking this thread but could someone explain to me how the CAI exams differ from ACA and ACCA.

    CAI are the only ones who exam papers and marking schemes are available free online so that's all I have to go on at the moment.

  • They don't differ much. Its the same basic knowledge required to be a chartered accountant in both. The things an accountancy student are expected to know are fairly straightforward so not much room for them to differ.

    CAI is ACA. You study with Chartered Accountants Ireland to get the ACA qualification.

    "Chartered Accountants" can either get the ACCA or ACA qualification, it is all the same thing, just different bodies have the 'charter' to award the designation.

    Chartered Accountants Ireland teach their own students like a university. ACCA is self study and you can pay to go to third party providers which may or may not be good but they will all aim to teach you how to prepare a set of financial statements and do tax and audit, ect.

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  • I'm also looking for a bit of advice regarding which route to pick.

    I'm planning on becoming an accountant but unsure of what route to take.

    I'm not currently working in a finance role and was considering the ACA flexible route however the frequency of the ACCA exams is more appealing. Is it possible to complete the full or most of the ACCA exams and then to work towards the 36 months PER experience afterwards?

    Any advice would be welcome!

  • Does anyone know is there a minimum requirement if doing the flexible route with ACA for the number of exams to take in one sitting?

    For example with CAP2 on the flexible route do I have to take say 2 exams next summer and then 2 the following summer. Or if i wanted could you space them out and do 1 subject per year over the next 4 years?

  • There is nothing stopping you doing the ACCA or ACA exams before the PER.

    ACA is run by Chartered Accountants Ireland and their 3rd year of exams is the FAE (Final Admittance Exam) and to enroll on this course you need to have a year of relevant work experience or a work history of more than a year that is somewhat related to the area of finance (this requirement is not there in the first 2 years, i.e CAP1 and CAP2). Basically they don't want someone completing their exams who has never stepped foot in an office before however they are fairly relaxed on what qualifies. They are quite responsive if you want to drop them an email to clarify this as at 29/30 you will have work experience. ACA deadline for enrollment is September 13th.