Should I Take the ACCA, CPA or the Singapore CA Qualification?

Should I Take the ACCA, CPA or the Singapore CA Qualification?

Accounting has become a popular profession within the financial sector due to its excellent career prospects and chances of career progression. There are numerous courses and professional qualifications within the field such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) which cater to different purposes and academic backgrounds.

Choosing an appropriate qualification from the wide variety of accounting courses and certifications can be a difficult task. Debates on ACCA vs CPA or ACCA vs Chartered Accountant (CA) are endless, so it’s important to be aware of the key differences between them.

If you aspire to become a chartered accountant and want to learn more about the differences in these qualifications, this blog will help you out. We’ll provide more details on each certification and highlight the major differences between them.


What is ACCA?

ACCA refers to a global accounting body that claims to have more than 200,000 members across 181 countries. The ACCA certification is extremely reputable and is recognised by more than 7,000 employers worldwide*.

The qualification consists of 13 papers which students can complete within 3 to 10 years. ACCA requirements are not very stringent and students with a non-finance background can also apply.


What is CPA?

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and the qualification is provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA.

CPA exam requirements include 2 or more years of accounting experience and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance or accounting. CPA certification also requires a minimum of 150 hours of study on the core subjects.


What is CA Singapore?

The CA Singapore qualification is considered to be the national accountancy qualification and is developed by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), a statutory board under the Singapore Ministry of Finance. The CA course can land you key positions in major organisations.


What are the differences between ACCA, CPA or CA Singapore?

Here are the main differences between all the three certifications.

Parameters ACCA CA Singapore  CPA
Field of work Most ACCA professionals work as taxation and accounting inspectors in public or private entities. CA Singapore professionals mostly work in their own firms or as finance consultants in public or private enterprises. CPA professionals mostly provide financial advice to small and medium-sized firms.
Career scope As ACCA is an international organisation, its members can work in any part of the world. ACCA covers the taxation and accounting systems of major countries. Although CA Singapore professionals can technically work abroad, their qualification primarily allows them to establish their practice within Singapore. This certification is provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Hence, CPA professionals can work as accountants in the USA or anywhere with US regional offices.
Qualification tenure ACCA provides an ample time frame to its candidates for completing all its levels. Depending on their priorities, candidates can finish all ACCA levels within 3 to 10 years. There is no specific time frame for acquiring this certification. The time required depends on your academic background and the number of modules being attempted.

AICPA provides 18 months for the completion of the certification.

While there are several differences between ACCA, CPA and CA, all three certifications can help you establish a successful accountancy career.

Studying for any professional accountancy qualification requires commitment and long hours of study. If you want to supplement your learning with a preparatory course, the Singapore campus of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers preparatory courses for the ACCA and Singapore CA qualifications as well as the U.S. CPA. All courses come with customized curriculums that cater to the needs of their markets.

Click here to get more details about the ACCA preparatory course at LSBF Singapore.

Click here to learn more about the preparatory course for the Singapore CA qualification programme.

Click here to learn more about the U.S. CPA online packages

*To see the source please click here


This article was written by Sweha Hazari and edited by Anisa C.

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