Becoming an ACCA affiliate can be a challenging journey but the rewards in terms of career advancement and salary make it well worth it. But, what exactly do you need to do and know to become ACCA qualified?
In order to pursue a career as an ACCA finance professional, there are a number of key requirements that must be met:
- Complete your three years of relevant work experience requirements
- Pass up to 13 exams that can take up to 3-4 years to complete
- Sit and pass your Ethics and Professional Skills module
Requirements 1 and 3 are straight-forward and we have covered those in other blogs. The main question that requires more time and thought is what’s involved in passing your ACCA exams.
There are 15 ACCA topics of which you need to complete a maximum of 13 if you receive no exemptions for any previous study you have done.
The ACCA syllabus is split into 3 main areas:
- Applied Knowledge
- Applied Skills
- Strategic Professional
1. Applied Knowledge
This level consists of three exams Accountant in Business (AB), Management Accounting (MA) and Financial Accounting (FA)
All exams provide an introduction to the world of finance and accounting and look to create a broad understanding of key accounting techniques.
2. Applied Skills
This level consists of 6 exams Corporate and Business Law (LW), Performance Management (PM), Taxation (TX), Financial Reporting (FR), Audit and Assurance (AA), Financial Management (FM)
Building on your established knowledge, these exams help you develop a strong and practical understanding of the role of an accountant in a strategic environment.
Read: Your Ultimate Guide to ACCA Exam Papers to find out more about each course
3. Strategic Professional
These exams are split into essentials and options creating a unique blend of skills, with a real-world focus. The aim is to arm you with the skills to be a forward-thinking professional accountant.
Essentials – 2 exams – Strategic Business Leader (SBL) & Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
SBL – The Strategic Business Leader course mirrors the workplace and provides you with real-world challenges so you can demonstrate technical, practical and professional skills.
SBR – The Strategic Business Reporting syllabus teaches you how to make strategic decisions. The exam will test you on concepts, theories, principles and your ability to apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios.
These exams provide you with the skills required to make an immediate impact on employers.
Options – 2 from 4 exams:
- Advanced Financial Management (AFM),
- Advanced Performance Management (APM),
- Advanced Taxation (ATX),
- Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)
These exams offer you the opportunity to specialize in those areas that are most relevant to your chosen career path.
How long will it take to pass my ACCA exams?
ACCA is keen to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get their qualifications and become an affiliate.
Depending on your previous qualifications, you may be exempt from some of the exams which can potentially cut down on the time required to become an affiliate.
The combination of working and studying at the same time gives you the best chance of qualifying in 3-4 years.
Remember you also need three years of practical experience so there is no need to rush through your exams unnecessarily.
If things are not going as planned it’s worth noting that you can spend as long as you wish on Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams. When it comes to Strategic Professional, you have 7 years to pass all exams in the level.