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ACA or ACCA

Hi,

I am a CIMA qualified accountant in practice and I am looking to improve the marketing of my practice through joining either ACCA or ICAEW, I have fulfilled the criteria for both organisations and now I have to choose.

From members experiences, which one is best? I seem to hear a lot of horror stories about practice assurance with ICAEW, and ACCA is a globally recognised qualification.

I am not going to be doing audits and am targeting small to medium sized businesses.

From a marketing point of view, I currently think that the ICAEW is the better option because everybody has heard of 'Chartered Accountants', whereas Chartered Certified Accountant or Chartered Management Accountant take a bit more explaining.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

C.

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 09:11

Oh Dear!

Not one of those debates again!

To the posters that follow: Please no mud slinging!

To the OP: neither of the bodies really offer much value to the small practioner ...  but as you quite rightly pointed out ACA does seem to have a better market standing ... os if that is your sole rreason for joing one of the bodies, then go for ICAEW!

 

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25th Nov 2009 09:59

Interested to know more

As you are CIMA qualified I would have thought that you were already very well placed to market your practice without any interference (I mean 'help') from either ACCA or ACA affiliation.

I wonder what you think is lacking. Not a dig, just mystified.

My experience of the small business sector is that most are not bothered which qualification you have - they don't understand any of them or the differences - indeed, some don't seem to care if you have a professional qualification at all.

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25th Nov 2009 12:08

Swings and roundabouts come to mind

Albert Camus

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 12:37

I seem to hear a lot of horror stories about practice assurance

??  From whom?   I belong to a local society group of small practitioners (mostly sole practitioners serving small clients) and I haven't heard any horror stories from their reports - and believe you me, if they had any grumbles, let alone horror stories, I would have heard them.   I have direct experience of two visits, and certainly have no horror stories to report.

No doubt some will have a gripe.  After all, it's small practitioners we are talking about here.  The greatest self-delared band of down-trodden, bullied and put-upon people in the entire universe ;  HMRC are against them, clients are against them, their professional bodies are against them, MI5 and MI6 are against them, the Government is targetting them etc etc.-   If they thought everything in the world was OK, we'd know Armageddon had arrived!!  (I am a sole practitioner BTW). 

Anecdotally, I have found that many more clients and potential clients (at the small end, including one person bands) than I would have dreamt possible do actually know about, or ask about, "chartered accountant".  Of course many don't, but having come new to the small client market 5 years ago, I was taken aback that it was a factor at all.  (pleasantly, as it worked in my favour!!).

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By stevie
25th Nov 2009 13:16

ACA

The title "Chartered Accountant" holds a lot of kudos. The general public is aware that there are various classes of accountant but have a general "acquired wisdom" that the Chartered variety is the elite. I have heard an ACCA refer to himself as a Chartered Accountant and seen deflation in the recipient when "Certified" is added for clarification.

Just the way it is!

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 15:07

Comment

The difference between an ACA and an ACCA qualification/designation?

It’s horses for courses really. I view your ACCA as being a little like your average painter and decorator - a good cheap quick and dirty tradesman.

Your ACA is more like a Michelangelo.

There seem to be a few lunatic ACCA people from the Far East who make rabid comments here in a pack periodically on issues that are quite beyond my comprehension (and judging from their comments beyond their comprehension too). By all means join their club if you want to.

You didn't see the Chartered Accountants' Institutes rushing to call themselves Certified, did you - it was the Certified Association who were desperate to call themselves Chartered - does that not say all you need to know?

Having lit blue touch paper, smiles and sits back…..

 

roger rabbit - an ACA

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 15:07

Comment

The difference between an ACA and an ACCA qualification/designation?

It’s horses for courses really. I view your ACCA as being a little like your average painter and decorator - a good cheap quick and dirty tradesman.

Your ACA is more like a Michelangelo.

There seem to be a few lunatic ACCA people from the Far East who make rabid comments here in a pack periodically on issues that are quite beyond my comprehension (and judging from their comments beyond their comprehension too). By all means join their club if you want to.

You didn't see the Chartered Accountants' Institutes rushing to call themselves Certified, did you - it was the Certified Association who were desperate to call themselves Chartered - does that not say all you need to know?

Having lit blue touch paper, smiles and sits back…..

 

roger rabbit - an ACA

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 20:11

More information

First of all, thanks everybody for your responses so far, they are very enlightening!

Skylarking - I am managing to market my practice, but being CIMA qualified I find that most people view you in the same category as unqualified, I find that over and over again I'm having a conversation that goes something like this:

Q: Are you qualified

A: Yes

Q: So you're a Chartered Accountant?

A: Sort of, I'm a Chartered Management Accountant, which is another professional body, I'm still qualified but only members of ICAEW are entitled to use the title Chartered Accountant.

Q: Oh, so you're not quite as qualified as one of them then?

A: Well yes actually, and blah blah blah (client has now switched off and is thinking 'she's not properly qualified').

I also find that people have said they would find it easier to refer customers to me if I were 'qualified'!  Having been in practice for some time now, I am finding that it's getting a little irritating having the same conversation over and over, and that qualifications do matter to some clients (not all, but some, and especially the ones that pay the most).

This really isn't intended to get the old qualified v unqualified debate going again, I was just interested in opinions and I was wondering if any ACCA members would stand up for their association and let me know something that I didn't before.

I do think the ICAEW pathways programme is excellent by the way, also the ACCA direct entry route seems equally as good, but one of my former employers always used to say it stood for 'A Cheap Chartered Accountant'!

As far as the horror stories with practice visits go, I suppose it's really just a few grumbles and one story where a practice was practically shut down for two weeks during a visit!

Many thanks,

C.

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By Anonymous
25th Nov 2009 21:02

There's nothing wrong with CIMA

There is nothing wrong with the CIMA qualification. I have worked successfully as a CIMA member in practice for 14 years and have always found great respect for my qualification and my professional competence from by client base and other professional accountants.

Exploit your unique selling point, the CIMA qualification, many small businesses need the skills we offer as much as they need the skills offered by our colleagues in the other parts of our profession.

Also contact CIMA, there may be an active members in practice group in your area as there is in mine (North West England).

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26th Nov 2009 14:16

Are you sure its that straightforward

Just a thought but I don't think the ACCA route is so straightforward anymore. Depending on your CIMA qualification period,  determines the number of papers you are exempted from

Pathways via ICAEW is determined by a set of criteria which is CHANGING early 2010.If you are gonna do it better get a move on

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By Anonymous
26th Nov 2009 14:48

What's needed here...

is some input from Prof ToTs. A scholar and a gentleman if ever there was one, who was always on hand to offer his easy-to-understand insights into all matters relating to various accountancy qualifications, and always making sure to keep them relevant to those of us in the UK.

Prof ToTs I miss you!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Anonymous
26th Nov 2009 14:55

To OP - re your follow-up

Surely if you have the discussion re CIMA and you do not reffer to yourself as Chartered then surely you would have the same conversation using ACCA. I am ICAEW but if I was CIMA or ACCA I would reffer to myself as a Chartered Accountant as that is what the C in CIMA and one of the Cs in ACCA stand for.

When I was entering my training contract I was asked which pathway I wanted to go down so asked people which was the best ACA said that they were better than ACCA and ACCA said that they were the same so for snob value I went for ACA.

Simple answer the difference between ACA and ACCA is surely C, even my 4 year old would know that.

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26th Nov 2009 15:35

@ C

Thanks for your reply. I have to say that is NOT my experience. The few clients that care about such a thing seem to regard CIMA as an accountancy qualification AND a busines qualification rolled into one.

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26th Nov 2009 21:55

acca accountants dont need to bitch
I am an acca and cta and proud of both.

I think the snobbery shown by aca members sometimes just shows that many of them are out of touch with what is happening in the real world.

Acca is the largest and fastest growing professional accountancy body in the world. The icaew is largely composed of stereotypical men in their late forties and fifties, and this is reflected in the recent ccab statistics released on this site earlier this year.

Choose whichever you feel most comfortable with. I think that, if you are good at what you do, and make it clear to your good clients that you are a chartered accountant then they will refer clients to you, and probably explain about your qualification to them before hand!

I imagine all the icaew members who usually post on this site are in bed now, so they probably won't retaliate to my playful comments!

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By Anonymous
26th Nov 2009 22:39

make it clear to your good clients that you are a chartered acco

er, db, are you suggesting misrepresentation? 

No doubt you meant to say "make it clear to your (good ?  why only good) clients that you are a member of a chartered body of professionally qualified accountants"

There is a power in brands.  (as I posted earlier, I was surprised any of the market I am now addressing - small independent businesses - had heard about "chartered accountant", and was surprised to find I was wrong). Whether the power of brands is justified or not is another topic to that posed by the OP.

Sort of related, but I am really surprised by skylarking's comments about CIMA being recognised by small businesses as being denoting both an accounting qualification and a business qualification.  Again, this is not remotely a comment about the merits or demerits of this qualification or that qualification, just about market feedback.  I have an MBA and would hazard from recollections that perhaps 5% of my clients knew what that was (the number does not increase much after I tell 'em what it is, but that's more reflection of my communications skills than their comprehension skills!!!!)

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By Anonymous
27th Nov 2009 11:20

90%+ of the general public aren’t aware of the different account

In my experience well over 90% of the general public aren’t aware that there is more than one accounting body let alone know the difference between ACCA, ACA, CIMA, CIPFA; but they  have all  heard of a Chartered Accountant. When 90%+ people ask me if I'm "Chartered" they are not asking if I'm a member of ICAEW they are merely trying to ascertain whether I am qualified or not. I therefore answer yes! Trying to explain that I was actually Chartered Certified or Management would just cause confusion and doubt.

I am ACCA by the way and have never come across any snobbery form ACA members. The only occasions I have ever encountered any debate as to which body is better is on this forum. The 10% or so of the general public who do know the difference between the bodies know that they are all of an equal status.

The recent attempt  to legalize the term ”Accountant” in my opinion could easily have been resolved by allowing the widely recognized term "Chartered Accountant" to be used by all members of a CCAB body. This would have allowed members of the public to make an informed choice when choosing their Accountant.

In answer to your question I would go with ACA, not because they are any better, but because you would be freely allowed to use the term "Chartered" on its own.

 

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