To become a certified accountant, you have to get accepted into the ACCA. And to do that, you need to pass the ACCA exam. Otherwise known as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the ACCA is the international professional body for accountants, and it’s recognised all over the world. It currently has over 500,000 students, with many other students currently studying for acceptance. So what do you need to do in order to get accepted into the ACCA?

You need to undergo a specialised qualification process that comprises of three parts: an ethics and professional skills module, a professional experience requirements and the ACCA exams. The ethics and skills module is pretty straightforward and the professional requirement is simply 36 hours of work experience. The ACCA exams represent the most challenging aspect of the qualification process, and this is what most students struggle with.

Do You Need To Study?

Well, unless you’re a walking encyclopedia of accounting knowledge, you should probably do some pretty extensive studying before taking these exams. These aren’t like most other exams you’re used to. Maybe you’re thinking of your high school SAT, or exams for acceptance into university.

The ACCA exams are very different compared to what you might have experienced in the past. There are a maximum of 13 separate exams that you need to take in order to get accepted and each exam takes multiple hours to complete. While you can take multiple exams in one sitting, most people take years to complete all of the various exams.

You have ten years to complete all the exams once you start, but most people finish everything in about 2-3 years. If you’re not already aware of how extensive this exam process is, it should be pretty obvious that studying is almost mandatory.

Options For Studying

There are many different options when you study for the ACCA exam. You might choose to self-study and teach yourself the various concepts needed to pass these exams. Those who self-study often spend hours each night going over the skills and facts they might face on the exam.

While self-studying is cheap and convenient for a lot of people, it might not provide you with the right information. Most people search on the internet for what they need to be studying, and this information could be outdated. Self-studying is also unstructured and you could find yourself using your study time inefficiently and unwisely.

Another option is to get a personal tutor. Personal tutors work with you on a one-on-one basis, covering all the important topics and giving you a highly personalised, customized learning experience. The problem with personal tutoring is that it gets pretty expensive. This is especially true when it comes to studying for the ACCA, as you’ll be studying for years, as you move through your 13 exams.

Group-based test prep courses could be another great option. These prep courses are often offered by recognised schools and universities, such as Toronto School of Management. Prep-courses teach you everything you need to know in a highly structured environment and they’re taught by highly qualified, expert instructors. Prep courses are usually taught in online, virtual classrooms which are highly flexible. Busy, working professionals can choose from a variety of scheduling options for their online prep courses. While tutoring sessions might be more personal, group-based and collaborative learning systems have proven benefits that you won’t find anywhere else.

What Could You Learn As You Study?

For the most part, the ACCA exams are divided into two sections: “applied knowledge” and “applied skills”. There is also a third section called “strategic professional”, which helps you get ready for future leadership positions. “Applied knowledge” focuses on accounting in business, management accounting and financial accounting.

“Applied skills” is much more varied and exam topics include governance, risk and ethics, corporate law, business law, taxation, financial reporting and much more.

The strategic professional section is also divided into two sections: essential and options. These sections build on the knowledge in the first two sections and the difficulty level is similar to that of a Master’s Degree.

The ACCA exams are not short and neither are they simple or straightforward. This isn’t an average exam, where you would study for a few months, take one exam and continue on your academic journey. The ACCA exams are a continuous learning experience where you’re constantly learning and being assessed over a period of many years. In many ways, it’s more like a university programme than an exam.

Benefits Of ACCA Acceptance

There are many important benefits of being accepted into the ACCA as a Chartered Certified Account. The first benefit is the fact that almost every nation in the world accepts the ACCA as a recognised certification. This means that you can work anywhere without taking additional courses and obtaining more certification levels. While an MBA also give you some recognition as a trained accountant, it’s nowhere near as widely accepted as the ACCA. Many companies will request that you become ACCA certified before they accept you as an employee – even if you already have an MBA.

The ACCA gives you many more employment opportunities. It also provides you with practical work experience as an accountant, while other university programmes might focus more on theory. Speaking of universities, studying for the ACCA is much more feasible than taking a university course. Because exams take place about twice a year, you can work while you study. That’s not really possible when pursuing a university programme.  

Final Thoughts

Studying for your ACCA is a smart choice. Remember, this is a process that takes many years to complete. Without the underlying structure of a prep course, you might get sidetracked, distracted or overwhelmed if you choose to self-study.

The ACCA helps provide you with all the skills you need to become a working accountant. When employers see that you’re a Chartered Certified Accountant, they will know that you have the skills they’re looking for. Make sure that you learn those skills the right way and choose a study method that actually provides results.

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