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I have just returned back to work from 2 weeks studying for the final three exams and I’m left wondering if the big accountancy institutes have got it all wrong.

For anyone not familiar with the ACCA final exams they consist of Governance, Risk and Ethics paper, Corporate Reporting paper and Business Analysis paper.  In my opinion all three papers appear to be aimed at accountants training with the top 50 firms.  For example the GRE paper generally focuses on listed companies in the FTSE 350, the CR paper is only examined under International accountancy standards and the BA paper as far as I can work out is all about learning pointless management models and theories written years ago.

Just how any of these papers are relevant to the small professional practice here in the UK, which lets be honest make up the bulk of accountancy profession.  I just can not see how any of this is going to be of use to me working in a small practice.

Furthermore I am beginning to think that ACCA are really just after making money from its members.  On the current syllabus there are 3 what I would call financial reporting papers, 2 audit papers and 2 tax papers.  Is this really necessary or purely a money grabbing exercise?

Whilst I already have professional qualifications and do want to become ACCA qualified, am I alone in thinking many of the exams we study are utterly pointless and wonder if this is really the best way to produce quality accountants.

What are the thoughts of others on their qualifications and how the exams relate to what they do on a day to basis?


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By blok
19th Mar 2012 11:33


It does open doors and provides opportunity but in all practical sense a waste of time for practioners dealing in the SME's sector.

Your time would be better spent doing CTA or enjoying yourself..


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19th Mar 2012 12:03

Its not really about the exams - that's just providing some background framework and proving you have the right sort of brain to cope with the job of manipulating what is quite abstract things and combing them in new ways - its about the experience you get whilst training, and crucially just after that count.  That's was employers look for longer term.

Most of the tax I learned in training has long since been ditched. The audit however I still find useful working with small clients in terms of developing that sense of analysis that bugs the hell out of my assistant when I can spot all the main issues within a few minutes of looking at a a file. That's what you are learning and will set you aside from the "also rans", whats in the exams is just detail!

I should add I am ICAEW but same difference.


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20th Mar 2012 21:31


It's chalk and cheese. A plumber would probably be better at doing accounts and a tax return for a small self employed person than a big firm chartered accountant practice. It would cost about the same though. 

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