Accounting and finance is a very lucrative field with lots of opportunities for professional growth. There are different qualifications in this field, but in Pakistan, the two major streams are CA (Chartered Accountants) qualification given by ICAP (Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan) and ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants).
Benefits Of Having An Accounting Qualification
Professionals having these qualifications have handsome salaries. Government and private sector employers in business, finance, accounting, and audit are often looking out for candidates who have these qualifications.
How To Choose Between CA and ACCA
Both qualifications are highly prestigious, and choosing one out of the two can be a difficult decision. Still, when you compare the merits and demerits of both the qualifications, then the decision becomes easy for you.
Related: Why ACCA Is Better Than CA
There are some fundamental differences between the two streams when it comes to future job prospects and opportunities.
Brief Introduction of CA
CA is a professional accounting qualification conferred by the Institution of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan. CA has excellent prestige in Pakistan, but globally it has very little recognition.
ICAP is the regulatory body in Pakistan, so it has a hold on the local job market. In Pakistan, you must be CA qualified in applying to positions like Chief Financial Officer of a private or government sector organization.
Job Prospects For CA Qualified Professionals
ICAP ensures that its members are accommodated in the local job market, so CA qualified professionals do not face any problems while searching for a job.
Even in economic turmoil, CA, qualified professionals get multiple job offers. Hence members of ICAP have a massive advantage over other sectors because, in recession, employers are often cutting down on the workforce. But CA qualified professionals are immune to these conditions.
They get often hired on exuberant pay scales with accompanying perks and privileges. Some sectors which employ CA qualified professionals include textile, sugar, wheat, power companies, audit firms, etc.
Salient Features of CA Qualification
If you want to work in Pakistan, then perhaps CA is the best option in finance and accounting. It is because the local regulatory authority in Pakistan ICAP makes sure that the job market sways in its direction. It controls the local market. As a result, all the major companies and businesses in Pakistan prefer CA qualified professionals over others.
The CA course has been explicitly designed to cater to Pakistani financial laws and regulations. Therefore, CA qualified professionals are in a much better position than others to satisfy local employers’ demands. It is perhaps the most significant advantage of CA over ACCA.
Demerits of CA
There are some demerits of CA as well. The most important one is not working outside Pakistan as the global job market recognizes ACCA much more than CA. Furthermore, to qualify CA, you have to do it in limited attempts.
For some subjects, there are three attempts, while for others, there are six attempts. If you fail to clear these subjects within these attempts, then you cannot pursue them again.
Brief Introduction of ACCA
ACCA stands for the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants. It is UK based. ACCA has a broad global recognition. ACCA qualified professionals can also qualify for the BSc program of Oxford Brookes University and MSc program at the University of London.
Globally, Employers highly respect ACCA. ACCA qualified professionals have loads of opportunities to choose from.
Salient Features Of ACCA
The most crucial advantage ACCA holds over CA is that ACCA has global recognition while CA does not enjoy the same level of recognition worldwide. If you want to work outside Pakistan, then perhaps ACCA is the best option for you. ACCA offers unlimited attempts for candidates. If you fail any subject, you can appear again.
ACCA qualification comes with two other lucrative degrees: the Bsc program of Oxford Brookes University and the University of London’s MSc program.
Demerits of ACCA
ACCA has some demerits as well. The most important one among them is that the ACCA syllabus primarily caters to the UK financial system. So if you want to work in Pakistan, then perhaps ACCA is not the best option for you.
There are job opportunities for ACCA professionals in Pakistan, but due to ICAP’s monopoly on the local market, companies often prefer CA qualified accountants over ACCA qualified accountants.
To compare the two qualifications briefly as far as examinations are concerned, you can attempt ACCA papers subject wise while, on the other hand, CA exams are held group-wise and follow a pass all or fail system.
Difference In Syllabus
ACCA syllabus caters to several countries’ taxation and financial system, while the CA syllabus focuses on Pakistan’s financial system. With ACCA, you can plan out your journey to your convenience with four exam sessions a year.
CA schedules are not that flexible. ACCA is recognized globally, while CA holds an advantage if you want to work in Pakistan.
To say one is better than the other will be wrong. Both qualifications have their advantages and disadvantages. Overall as far as job security is concerned, both qualifications are highly prestigious.
Pay scales are not much different in both streams as professionals from both streams have hefty pays with perks and privileges.
Prospects In Pakistan
The critical difference lies in where you want to work in the future. If you wish to remain in Pakistan and compete in the local job market, CA holds an advantage over ACCA. Its members get more job opportunities with better pay, while ACCA members often struggle to get their share out of the job market.
When it comes to working abroad, the tables turn as ACCA is recognized in 180 countries globally, while CA members have no extra advantage in the global job market.
The Formula of Success
It does not matter much whether you opt for CA or ACCA. What matters the most is whether you put your heart and soul into it. If you work with dedication and are conscious of continually improving your professional skills, then you will have employers running to you anywhere you choose to work.