May 2016

ACCA VS Academic Qualifications

How to be a student without debt!

Why you don't need a degree to be an accountant in Singapore

In a practical society like Singapore, the end-all-be-all for any student seems to be getting a degree. With a degree, you are generally ensured at least a degree- level pay, even if you decide to switch fields. In other words, you are pretty safe! 

Yet, there are certain pathway fields that deviates from the traditional path of getting a diploma/degree from a local polytechnic or university. One such professional field is Accountancy.

ACCA > Diploma/Degree

To be an accountant in Singapore, besides going the traditional route of diploma or degree, you can opt for the professional qualifications such as ACCA. ACCA is a leading international accountancy body. It is a globally recognized qualification that can open a lot of doors.

Do all roads lead to Rome?

Now for the bottom line! Suppose you are an aspiring accountant who endeavors to be a Chartered Accountant, a professional accolade. Which route will allow you to get there faster?

(1)Degree holder: As a degree holder, you would have to take ACCA or another examination known as QP, in addition to accumulating work experience before being eligible as a Chartered accountant.

(2)ACCA grad: It will not be necessary for you to take QP. Satisfy working experience requirement, along with taking pre-admission course allows you to be a Chartered Accountant!

Yes, both roads lead to Rome, but at a different pace! Say you just finished A levels. Excluding work experience, route number 1 takes you at least 4 years whereas route number 2 can be completed in as fast as 2 years!

Told you, default path may not always be the best.

Study where?

You can go with an approval ACCA tuition provider. For example, London School of Business & Finance is a platinum approved learning partner with ACCA that has consistently produce more than 10 prize winners every single exam sitting. You can opt to study part-time or full-time.  Being a platinum approved learning partner, one can be assured of LSBF’s teaching quality and passing rate.

So what if I pass ACCA?

Singapore companies are in perpetual need of accountants. An ACCA qualification puts one in an attractive position to land a job in Singapore.

Be a student without debt

A student without debt is hard to come by unless you study ACCA. Not only is the tuition fees of ACCA lower than that of a degree program, the flexibility of the course means that you can juggle studies and work if you want to. There is the part-time option, and the schools allow you to choose lectures that fit your schedule. They even send the lecture notes to your mailbox so that you don't have to copy your notes after a long day at work. Wow! Talk about students' support.

Downside of ACCA

Sounds all good, uh? This ACCA thing.  Not exactly.

Bear in mind that ACCA's assessment is all examinations-based. There is no projects or presentations in the curriculum. According to Ravi Mehndiratta, Assistant Director, Sales in LSBF, though ACCA students are highly employable and 100% of them land a job upon graduation, they may lose out to others in the company when it comes to their soft skills. Realizing that, tuition providers like LSBF has stepped up their game to provide soft-skills seminars to help their students further. So students, make sure you go for this bonus item if you enroll for ACCA tuition!

So which one should I take?

Seems like both are good, so which one is better? Academic qualifications or ACCA ???

Like what all gurus say, it depends.

There are 3 factors to consider

(1) Career - what do you want to be? If your answer is ''hmm..maybe an accountant, maybe a banker, maybe....'', then go for a degree which allows for a more diverse career options. If your answer is a resounding ''accountant/auditor'', then ACCA will make sure that you become a solid one.

(2) Curriculum - what are you more comfortable with? Project work means that your score is always dependent on your team mate's performance and can be highly uncontrollable, whereas exams are individualistic and hard work can directly translate to results. You obviously want to match your strengths and have a smoother academic journey, so think carefully. 

(3) Results- Whats your A levels/polytechnic/O levels/IB or whichever results? If your options are limited, instead of taking a little-known diploma/degree, a global ACCA achievement on your resume definitely sounds a thousand times more impressive. 

More details about ACCA examinations

ACCA involves a total of 14 papers: 9 fundamental and 5 professional. But don't worry, it is not once-a-year like your O levels, making you squeeze everything in one shot and go crazy. ACCA has 4 exam sittings in a year: March , June , September , December. 

Most students who couldn't make the mark tend to be those who lax off in the month leading to the exams as there are no regular classes in that period. ACCA graduate, Jeyam advises students to start studying for each exam at least 2 months in advance, and importantly, go for the revision classes to find the important areas to focus on. To register for the fundamental papers, you can start with a centre like LSBF and not forgetting the exclusive discount they offer to new students.

Final final advice for students is to think hard for yourself. Like what you see in the movies, go for a walk along the seaside (consider Sentosa or Singapore river), so that you are away from influences of people like your friends and potentially be affected by their decision (just make sure you don't fall into the waters).  Lastly, seek advice but make your own decision. All the best!

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