The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is an international organization of professional accountants headquartered in London. ACCA qualification is an education and examination process that provides aspiring accountants with a globally recognized professional standard in the field of accounting. Receiving the qualification will require passing 14 different examinations, meeting experience requirements, and demonstrating comprehension of professional ethics. On average, aspiring accountants will need three to four years to complete all requirements for the ACCA qualification, if they only meet minimum entry requirements when enrolling. Those already having degrees and experience in accounting, however, may enter with advanced standing and complete the requirements for the qualification in significantly less time.
Future accountants new to the field may enter the ACCA qualification program at the entry level if they have completed two A levels and three General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs). Otherwise, potential students will need to complete a foundational accounting course first and may need to complete at least part of the A levels and GCSEs, or the Diploma in Accounting and Business offered by the ACCA. Graduated students, however, with a degree from an ACCA accredited university, may claim exemptions from the first nine examinations. In some cases ACCA may award exemptions to students who have a degree from a university not accredited by ACCA. Granting of exemptions in such a situation is usually determined based on how well a student’s courses match with ACCA curriculum.
Flexibility is part of the ACCA qualification program and is designed to meet the needs of mature learners, though the program is open to anyone meeting the entry level requirements. Completion times vary immensely between students due to multiple entry levels and individual situations, with the average being three to four years, though ACCA allows up to ten years to obtain the qualification. Students may take courses part time during the day or evening, full time or through distance learning. Additionally, as of 2011 the ACCA has over 380 exam centers located around the globe, allowing students to complete the program without being in the United Kingdom.
There are two levels to the examination process: Fundamentals and Professional. Fundamentals require the completion of nine modules and examinations. Professional will require the completion of four modules and examinations. Topics covered include basic and advanced business, managerial and financial accounting; corporate and business law; taxation, ethics and governance; business management, corporate reporting and business analysis; and assurance and auditing. Thereafter, students must complete an ethics module and demonstrate three years of experience in accounting to receive the ACCA qualification.