ACCA vs. Accounting Degree: Which Course Should You Take

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ACCA stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. ACCA is not an academic degree but a professional accounting qualification that is awarded by an international body. Unlike other finance courses, this one does not qualify as a degree.

A Bachelor of Accounting and Finance is a degree in accounting awarded by a university. Accounting is like any other undergraduate degree that prepares a student for their chosen field.

An accounting degree is more appropriate for people who have a business bent of mind and are curious to explore accounting details.

When it comes to ACCA, it focuses mainly on the principles and technical aspects of accounting, which will help a professional. The individual will acquire deep knowledge of accounting.


The Difference in the Study Program

An accounting degree or a bachelor in Finance is designed to give a complete experience with the help of core and elective subjects. It is also paired with research work and assignments.

Core subjects consist of Financial Accounting, Auditing, and Taxation.

The electives cover subjects like business management, entrepreneurship, and others. Additionally, there will also be assignments and a thesis. This makes the experience of acquiring a degree more wholesome.

ACCA only concentrates on the technical areas related to accounting. It will provide more specialized knowledge about the subject.

The syllabus contains accounting techniques and calculations in great depth. The knowledge is much more detailed compared to a degree program on a professional level.


Duration for Completion

An accounting degree is usually studied over three years. So, the difficulty is also in a distributive format over three years.

The degree is also not completely exam-based. ACCA is challenging as it combines two levels into one. Both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees are combined in one course.

A lot is expected to be done and understood in a short period of time. It takes 4-5 years to complete the degree after the SPM level. ACCA requires three years to complete after the completion of SPM.


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Which One is More Difficult?

In a degree course, there are going to be lots of assignments, group work, and tests, including final exams. One needs to be consistent with the study and needs to manage time in a way that the focus is not altered.

ACCA has been considered difficult. The fundamental and professional levels are highly different. The course material becomes difficult to keep up with as one starts to go from one to the other. In short, ACCA demands a lot in very little time.


The cost of the ACCA and the Accounting Degree

The cost of the three-year degree program is higher than the cost of ACCA. For ACCA, one doesn’t need to attend any college or private tuition center, which automatically lowers the cost of ACCA.


The Faster One to Complete

ACCA is considered the fastest way to accomplish what one has set out to do. One can opt for CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) entrance after completing SPM. ACCA can be completed in less than three years if one can pass all the papers.

To pursue an accounting degree, one has to be pre-university qualified, which takes 1-2 years. After that, there is a 3-year degree to finish. It can only be finished after that duration.


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Job Prospects

An accounting degree from a recognized university is more recognized because it has international accreditation and partnership arrangements. If one wants to keep their options open outside of accounting as well, an accounting degree is the way to go.

The degree program also gives exposure to real estate, media and marketing, and market research.

ACCA equips people with professional accounting skills, making it easier to explore the accounting world. Many big organizations like the Big Four want their employees to have professional qualifications like the ACCA.

The ACCA can be done after the accounting degree as well. Many organizations want their employees to pursue professional courses and even pay for the same. An accounting degree also offers exemptions from some ACCA papers.



It’s safe to say that one cannot determine which is better than the other. Both have their pros and cons.

Both the degree and the ACCA will help them explore the world of accounting. Many criteria, like time, cost, and prospects for the future, will become deciding factors for any individual.

Another factor is whether the candidate aims for a faster route to join the big organizations.