Well, it depends! All accounting and finance qualifications emphasize that you have put in extra time and effort to expand your knowledge and skills. More and more commerce students these days prefer to attain a professional qualification like ACCA, CFA, CIMA, CPA, or MBA that helps them to stand out from their peers. This would mean better job prospects, higher salaries, access to a global network, and much more!

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) are two of the most renowned qualifications for the commerce stream students. A question often asked is – which one of the two is better? And why so? Which is better to pursue in India or which course matches global standards? Let’s get started by understanding what these qualifications are:

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, with 115+ years of experience, is a global professional accounting body headquartered in the UK, offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification. It is a globally accepted qualification for successful careers in every sector like Finance, Accounting, Banking, Consulting, Business Management, Audit, and Accounts. ACCA course enjoys global recognition with employers across the industry with more than 2,27,000 fully qualified members and 5,44,000 students across 179+ countries.

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Program is a global professional credential offered by the American Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, a premier global association of investment management professionals, headquartered in the USA. It is one of the most reputed financial credentials that enjoys high trust and dependence among peers. The CFA Institute, with more than 70+ years of experience, is setting the global standards in rigorous focus, integrity, and advanced skills in the finance and investment industry. This set of skills and knowledge serve you well throughout your career in the finance/investment world and also capital markets.

Now let us help you clear some more doubts with an in-depth analysis of both the worlds in the ultimate guide on ACCA vs CFA:

ACCA CFA
Organizing Body Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK CFA Institute, USA
Recognition Recognized by employers and students across 179+ countries Recognized by regulators, universities and certification programs in over 30+ countries and territories
Eligibility Must have completed 10+2 from commerce stream or students pursuing graduation in commerce or those who have completed BA or B.Sc. with Foundation in Accountancy Must have Bachelor’s Degree (or final year of Bachelor’s Degree) or 4 years of professional work experience or 4 years of higher education professional work experience taken together
Focus Areas

1. Business & Technology

2. Financial Accounting

3. Management Accounting

4. Corporate & Business Law

5. Performance Management

6. Taxation

7. Financial Reporting

8. Audit & Assurance

9. Financial Management

10. Strategic Business Leader

11. Strategic Business Reporting

12. & 13. (Any 2)

  • Advanced Financial Management
  • Advanced Performance Management
  • Advanced Taxation
  • Advanced Audit & Assurance

1. Quantitative Methods

2. Economics

3. Financial Reporting & Analysis

4. Corporate Finance

5. Equity Investments

6. Fixed Income Investments

7. Derivatives

8. Alternative Investments

9. Portfolio Management & Wealth Planning

10. Ethical & Professional Standards

ACCA vs CFA

ACCA CFA
Typical Course Completion 3 years (less with applicable exemptions) 1.5 years to qualify
Course Exemptions Depending on any existing qualifications you may hold, exemptions are awarded Depending on any existing qualifications you may hold, exemptions are awarded
Course Flexibility Minimum 1 and maximum 4 papers per attempt, every quarter None
Total Investment 3.5 – 4 lakhs 3.5 – 4 lakhs
Expected Salary 6 – 8 lakhs per annum 6 – 8 lakhs per annum
Job Roles/Areas
  • Financial Performance Reporting
  • Corporate Audit & Assurance
  • International Taxation
  • Legal Compliance
  • Risk & Control Evaluation
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Chief Level Executive
  • Risk Manager
  • Wealth Manager
  • Investment Analyst

You can clearly make out that both ACCA and CFA will help you land your desired job profiles in the business, finance, and accounting industry. However, each of the courses caters to a certain specific audience, job profiles, and interests. So you have to choose the right one for yourself based on your personal objectives and aspirations. The career choice should primarily take into account your interest and passion, and that will eventually take care of your paycheck in the long run.

Choose wisely, all the best!