Choosing an Accountancy qualification

22 December 2007 |

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The visitors to the MA blog have search words CA vs CIMA, ICWAI vs CIMA, ACCA vs CA, CPA vs ACCA. It is just like chasing a squirrel.

Image: Three quarks daily

So I searched on the internet to analyse whether British Qualification is better than American counter. The idea was to analyse how much leverage an accounting qualification gives when you want to make your career globally.

As per ICAA (Australian Chartered Accountants) website,




Approved Overseas Accounting Bodies
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (the Institute) has reciprocity agreements with the following overseas accounting bodies:


Partially recognised qualification





The partially recognised overseas accounting bodies are:

  • Current members of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA, UK)
  • Current members of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA, UK)**refer note
  • Current members of The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA,UK)
  • Current members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Current members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (membership obtained before January 1996)

** Note: The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA, UK) and the Institute have a strategic alliance. Read the Institute Recognition Policy from CIMA members for further information.

The above information covers the major accounting bodies in the world. The question is which qualification should I pursue. You may try to find answers by raising the right questions:

  1. Where do I want to work ? Or in which country I would like to make my career ?
  2. Which qualification will allows me to practise in the country ?
  3. Which institute helps the members to further their career prospects in the industry ?
  4. Which institute has the most influence in the industry ?
  5. What you can contribute to the profession ?
  6. Which examination route is affordable ?
In my opinion, if you are living in UK/Australia/SA, Canada or US and you have completed your Bachelor's degree then the first choice would be to pursue the qualification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of your country of residence or CPA. The reciprocity agreements among the accounting bodies will make your career path smooth.

If you are not a resident of above countries, then you have decide whether you want to make your career abroad. The choice of pursuing the accounting qualification will depend on whether you want to work or practise locally. You have wide variety of choices to make.

Otherwise you should consider the pursuing accounting qualifications in following order:

  1. AICPA, US.
  2. ICAEW
  3. ACCA
  4. CIMA
  5. ICAA
Of the above, ACCA and CIMA have examination centres in the most of the countries. Otherwise you have to be resident in the country of the above institutes.

It's your career. Make the right decision.... otherwise you will be chasing the squirrel the whole life.

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