CPA vs. ACCA

What is the difference between CPA and ACCA?

Two of the qualifications associated with being a professional accountant are CPA and ACCA. If you have one of these designations you can be a professional accountant in your specific area. For anyone who would like to have a career in accounting either one of these would be good qualifications to have.

What is a CPA?

CPA is the acronym used in the United States for Certified Public Accountant. Its history dates back to the 19th century and today there are many different businesses in the US with a CPA on staff, while many others have their own businesses and handle clients from all walks of life. In order to become a CPA you must pass the examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, but in order to meet the requirements for the exam, you must have work experience as an accountant. The license is granted by the state in which you intend to practice.

The exam is rigorous and thorough, testing all the knowledge that an accountant is required to have. There are four sections to the exam: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Regulation.

What is ACCA?

ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is the term used in the United Kingdom. This dates back to 1904 with only four accountants having these qualifications. It has grown in the past century and today there are ACCA members all over the world. Members must have qualifying experience and must pass an exam in order to receive this qualification. The exam is divided into two main sections: Fundamentals and Professional. The Fundamentals section of the exam tests the knowledge and skills of the accountant and the Professional section tests the essentials and options. It is a rigorous exam and those who do succeed are worthy of being called an ACCA.

Summary

  1. Professional accountants in the US are called CPA’s.
  2. Professional accountants in the UK are called ACCA’s.
  3. Both require that the applicants have work experience and pass a rigorous exam.