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5 ways CA is different than ACCA

Luna Gurung

April 15, 2020
Last updated September 26, 2021
KMC Lalitpur

Chartered Accountant (CA) is a national certification given to the professional working in accounting and finance. The Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) on the other hand is the global association of professional accountants with headquarter in England that accords the ACCA qualification. Unlike ACCA, every country has a certification board that accords the CA qualification. Both qualifications are however ideal for students who are eager to pursue a career in accountancy, management, and finance.  

Chartered Accountant (CA) and ACCA need to satisfy specific criteria to have membership in the respective association. The difference in these professional qualifications stems from the need of today's corporate world to tailor finance and accountancy professionals minutely as per the requirement the discipline demands, which although alike may differ significantly. We have listed below 5 such differences between CA and ACCA.


Chartered Accountant (CA) although a national level certification, is renowned all over the world and every country has similar specifications. While almost everywhere is called CA, in the USA the professionals are known as the certified public accountant (CPA). Different countries have different criteria though not significantly so for professionals to meet in order to obtain CA qualification. These accounting professionals are well rounded in the four major finance areas namely, taxation, audit and assurance, financial accounting and reporting, and management accounting.    

Similarly, the ACCA is a uniform qualification with the same set of criteria all around the world governed by a single global professional body. These professionals acquire training and skills in auditing, financial accounting, governance, consulting and planning, management accounting covering the four main areas namely, knowledge, skills, business ethics, and strategic skills.  


Students who complete higher secondary (10+2) or Certificate level or A level or equivalent examination from a recognized board are eligible to join the CA or ACCA course.

Both the courses are challenging. Both involve in-depth theoretical education and practical training imparting sound analytical and problem-solving skills to the students.

CA course is divided into three levels each containing number of subjects that could differ from country to country. However, below is the list of the subjects under each level of CA course based on Nepali institutions:

  • CAP - I: The foundational level has a duration of one year. There are three papers under this level two of which are divided into two each. The first paper is fundamentals of accounting, the second paper is divided into mercantile laws and fundamentals of economics, similarly, the third paper is divided into fundamentals of management and commercial mathematics and statistics.
  • CAP - II: The duration for this level is nine months and consists of seven papers divided into two groups. Group 1 consists of advanced accounting, audit and assurance, corporate and other laws, and income tax and vat. Similarly, group 2 consists of financial management, cost and management accounting, and business communication and marketing. 
  • CAP -III: The third and final level has three years of duration including practical training as well. There are 8 papers divided into two groups under the third level. Group 1 consists of advanced financial reporting, advanced financial management, advanced audit and assurance and corporate laws. Similarly, group 2 consists of management information system, advanced taxation, advanced cost and management, and strategic management and decision-making analysis.

The professionals are required to complete a three years internship in one of the audit firms of Nepal or industrial training of the same duration and only after completing two years of the training, they can sit for the final level examination. 

The ACCA exams are divided into two levels: 

Fundamentals : Fundamental has 9 papers under the module of Applied Knowledge and Applied Skill. Business and Technology, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Corporate and Business Law, Performance Management, Taxation, Financial Reporting, Audit and assurance, and Financial Management.

Professionals: The module called strategic professional and has 4 subjects in it. Two compulsory subjects namely, strategic business leader and strategic business reporting and two subjects to be chosen from the available option of four. The four options are advanced financial management, advanced performance management, advanced taxation, and advanced audit and assurance. This level builds advanced professional skills, techniques, and values. After completing, 13 modules, the students need to complete an online module on ethics and professional skills module often known as the 14th subject. Along with completing these 14 subjects, students are also required to obtain years of working experience. 


Professionally both certifications are qualifications to audit the financial transactions. Chartered Accountant (CA) is eligible to sign an audited balance sheet as an auditor whereas ACCA is a certified accountant who is not eligible to sign an audited balance sheet. CA and ACCA both have similar knowledge in accounting principles and expertise in finance.  

CA is authorized to work locally in the country where they received certification. ACCA professionals are not constrained to a country and may be recognized in other countries for their qualifications.

ACCA qualification closely links practical experience to the studies and the knowledge gained can be applied to the workplace. The employers will notice that it has the right mix of knowledge and skills.


In Nepal, CA is a certified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nepal (ICAN). The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN) is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the Confederation of Asia and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA).

A member of ACCA has expertise knowledge in International accounting laws governing International Financial Reporting Standards, which makes a candidate eligible to work for Multinational Firms or international clients.

Professional Preference

Major accounting firms in the world, including Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touché, Arthur Anderson, and KPMG prefer members who have undergone through CA Program.

British College and SEED Financial Academy are conducting ACCA Program. SEED Academy is the gold approved learning partner and a Licensed CBE Center of ACCA, UK. 

CA and ACCA have differences in terms of year of establishment, professional practice, membership, qualifications, general preference, and knowledge differences among others. Professionally both certifications are qualification to work in the field of accounting, finances, taxation, and audit. However, CA from Nepal is only eligible to obtain Certificate of Practice and open an audit firm and practice. Further, anyone willing to pursue CA as a career, should take the course offered by the Institute, pass its final examination and acquire three years of practical training, then one can become a Chartered Accountant and member of the ICAN. 

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