ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

Do you offer various entry points onto your ACCA Qualification?

Yes. The minimum entry requirement is two A Levels and three GCSEs or their equivalent. These need to be in five separate subjects including English and maths.

If you do not meet the minimum entry requirements to start the ACCA Qualification, then you will need to apply for Foundations in Accountancy and take some or all of these awards before continuing with the ACCA Qualification. 

If you have a relevant degree from a university accredited by ACCA, then you may not need to take all of the ACCA Qualification exams. Nine exams at the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification are eligible for exemption.

Is there a maximum time limit placed on completion of the ACCA Qualification?

Yes, you will have 10 years from the date you register to complete the ACCA Qualification exams.

Can CAT Qualification students go on to do the ACCA Qualification?

Yes. On completion of the CAT Qualification, students may progress onto the ACCA Qualification if they wish to do so, from exam F4 onwards.

They can also count the four essential competences and one year's work experience gained to achieve the CAT Qualification towards the three years' work experience and 13 performance objectives required for the ACCA Qualification.

What is linked status?

Students have ten years from their initial registration date to complete the ACCA Qualification exams.

After ten years, students who have not completed their exams can move to linked status. This will give them access to resources such as Student Accountant but will remove them from the exam process.

How often does the ACCA Qualification syllabus change?

 

We continually review our qualifications to ensure they are relevant and meet the needs of employers.

You can find out about any revisions made to the syllabus through the syllabus and study guides and through the magazines Student Accountant and Teach Accounting.

We also produce a list of examinable documents for financial accounting/reporting, audit, law and tax on an annual basis, which helps to keep the examinations up to date.

Why are there no exemptions available from any of the exams at the Professional level?

This preserves the integrity and rigor of the ACCA Qualification and ensures that all ACCA members, wherever they qualify in the world and whatever their educational background, share a common set of competences.

What are the exam progression rules?

Students must pass or be exempted from all nine exams in the Fundamentals level and pass all three Essentials exams and two Option Papers in the Professional level.

There is no requirement for students to sit and/or pass any of the exams together.

Students can attempt up to a maximum of four papers per examination cycle. There are two examination cycles per year: 1 February to 31 July and 1 August to 31 January.

Papers must be taken in line with the following module order. However, students can attempt the papers within each module in any order:

  • Knowledge (F1-F3) – available by computer-based exam (CBE) or paper-based format 
  • Skills (F4-F9) – available by paper-based format 
  • Essentials (P1-P3) – available by paper-based format 
  • Options (P4-P7) – available by paper-based format.

For example, students can take F3 before F1 and F2, but they must complete all three exams before taking F4.

If a student’s status allows them to enter for papers across modules, please remember that they must complete the papers in order and enter for outstanding papers in their current module if they wish to enter to sit papers in the next module.

For example, they may have already passed papers F1 and F2. They can enter for papers F3 and F4 at the same time, but they would not be allowed to only enter for F4.

Who are the examiners?

Examiners are experienced education professionals and technical experts in their field. They are all highly qualified and many, particularly for the specialist technical papers in accounting, audit and tax are qualified accountants.

Examiners come from various backgrounds, but most have extensive teaching and examining backgrounds, in either public or private sector education. Many also have professional experience in their fields.

ACCA examiners are responsible for managing teams of markers and for ensuring that all marking is consistent and fair. They also examine candidates’ papers that are just below the pass mark to ensure no errors have been made in marking and to see if any more marks could be given.

How are ethics integrated into the ACCA Qualification?

Professional ethics is at the heart of the ACCA Qualification.

Professional ethics is covered in 11 of the 16 exam papers. This includes all papers at Professional level and three of the Essential performance objectives.

The Professional ethics module underpins both your studies and your practical experience in the qualification. The aim of the module is to introduce you to a range of ethical ideas.

You get access to the module when you become eligible to take Paper P1, Governance, Risk and Ethics. We recommend that you take the Professional ethics module at around the same time as you take this paper. You must finish it before you can become a member and before you can finish your BSc degree.

Are tax and law variant papers offered within the ACCA qualification?

Variant papers will continue to be offered where they are required for recognition in a particular jurisdiction or where there is a market requirement. The table below summarises the variant papers available in the ACCA Qualification.

 Paper designationF4 Corporate and business lawF6 TaxationP6 Advanced taxation
BotswanaBWA** 
ChinaCHN***
CyprusCYP***
Czech RepublicCZE * 
EnglandENG*see UKsee UK
GlobalGLO*  
HKHKG***
HungaryHUN * 
IndiaIND * 
IrelandIRL***
LesotoLSO** 
MalawiMWI * 
MalaysiaMYS***
MaltaMLA***
PolandPOL * 
RomaniaROM * 
RussiaRUS** 
ScotlandSCT*see UKsee UK
SingaporeSGP***
South AfricaZAF***
UKUKsee ENG or SCT**
VietnamVNM** 
ZimbabweZWE***


How does ACCA ensure its students have the appropriate IT skills?

The ACCA Qualification was written based on the assumption that students are would be training in a computerised environment.

Each paper in the ACCA syllabus integrates the relevant aspects of information systems and information management (IS/IM) within their own context. Paper F1, Accountant in Business and Paper P3, Business Analysis will also address the specific aspects of IS/IM. Competences relating to IT/IM will also be specifically addressed in IT skills are also covered in the practical experience requirements (PER).

During exams, are students allowed to make notes on the question paper during the 15 minutes’ reading and planning time?

Yes, but they are not be allowed to write anything in the answer book.

Are students allowed to use calculators during the 15 minutes’ reading and planning time?

Yes, but they are not allowed to write anything in the answer book.

If a student has only just failed an exam paper, by getting 49 per cent for example, should they get their exam script reviewed?

All scripts are marked carefully. Anyone with a mark in the high forties has their script looked at very carefully by the marker and examiner to see if there are any other marks that could be awarded and, if there are, adjustments are made.

Therefore, someone who has received a mark of say 48 or 49 per cent can be sure that their mark is correct and that no more marks were available. Such a candidate can be at least confident that with a little more work, a clearer understanding and by using a better exam technique, they will pass a re-sit exam.

However, we do offer an administrative review of examination scripts. Students are charged for them as follows:

  • Foundations in Accountancy £42
  • Dip IFR and Dip FM £52
  • ACCA Fundamentals Knowledge papers £42
  • ACCA Skills Module papers £47
  • ACCA Professional Level papers £52

When undertaking a review we will check that marks have been added correctly, that all pages have been marked and that no other administrative errors have taken place.

The review does not involve a reassessment of the rationale for the marks awarded and the original marks arrived at cannot be changed. In addition, students will be told whether they passed or failed each individual question.

What are Professional marks?

Professional marks are awarded at the Professional level of the ACCA Qualification. Examiners award four professional marks in each paper which can either be in Section B - Please see the specific syllabus and study guide for the paper in qualifications resources to find out more.

Marks are available for demonstrating certain professional communication and analytical skills, which are over and above the normal technical requirements of the paper.

You can also read our Student Accountant article on professional marks for further information.

What guidance does ACCA give on examination technique?

ACCA has produced an article for Student Accountant on examination technique, and completing the examination booklet and registration sheet.

It specifies what a candidate needs to bring to the exam room and what equipment they should have. It also advises them on how to organise their answers and make the best use of their time to gain the most marks.

 

 

What is the difference between effective date and issued date for the examinable documents?

The term ‘issued’ or ‘passed’ relates to when the regulation or legislation was formally approved. The term ‘effective’ relates to when the regulation or legislation must be applied to an entity’s transactions and business practices.

Regulation issued or legislation passed before ACCA’s cut-off date (31st August for most exams other than tax) is potentially examinable, even if the effective date is in the future. Details of all standards that are examinable can be found on our website under the ‘examinable documents’ section for each paper.

 

What are the Certificates in International Financial Reporting and International Auditing?

The Certificate in International Financial Reporting (Cert IFR) offers a broad introduction to the field of International Financial Reporting and International Financial Reporting Standards. It traces the history of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) from its early roots through to recent changes and future developments.

The Certificate in International Auditing (Cert IA) covers the principles of International Standards on Auditing through online tuition and objective assessment.

The qualification is structured in an accessible and user-friendly way that underlines key information and provides useful summaries. It examines and breaks down specific standards topic-by-topic.

There are case studies which are based on real-life examples, many exercises, multiple-choice questions and sample answers for students to test their knowledge with as they progress through the course.

When is the cut-off date for examinable documents?

There is an annual cut-off date of 31st August for most exam papers.

Exceptions are tax papers in Malaysia, which have a cut-off date of 31 March, tax papers in the Czech Republic which have a cut-off date of 31 May, and tax papers in Vietnam, which have a cut-off date of 31 December. Details can be found in the syllabus and study guides for these papers.

For specific details of examinable documents, please refer to the examinable documents section of this website for the paper you are interested in.

 

Why does it take so long to for students to get their results?

ACCA is a global accountancy body. We receive hundreds of thousands of exam entries from candidates in 170 countries around the world. In December 2010, for example, our students sat 390,000 exam papers.

From the time a student sits an exam paper to when their results are delivered, we follow a rigorous process to ensure they get the right results:

  • Before the marking starts, markers attend a meeting with the examiner to discuss the exam paper and agree a detailed marking scheme.
  • The examiner moderates the marking process closely to ensure that the marking scheme is being applied consistently by all markers. 
  • The examiner pays special attention to scripts where marginal marks have been awarded. 
  • Checks are also built in to ensure that each question on a student’s script has been marked, the marks have been recorded against the correct question, and that the final mark is correct.  
  • This all takes time and our markers and examiners work hard to meet the results deadlines.

How do we find the right study materials?

ACCA has developed an Approved Learning Partner - content programme through which we give recognition to content providers who have been quality assured by ACCA.

Providers need to meet a number of challenging quality assurance measures to become an Approved Learning Partner - content. 

Are there any online resources available to help students?

There are a number of excellent resources available on our website to help students prepare for and pass their exams. These include:

  • examiners' approach articles
  • examiners' approach interviews
  • Student Accountant technical articles
  • guidance on examinable documents
  • syllabus and study guides
  • examiners' analysis interviews
  • examiners' reports
  • past papers and question banks. 

All of these resources are available in the 'How to pass' area of the website.

How are the markers trained?

The examiner marks three practice scripts produced for any markers to practise on. The marker gets them blank to mark and then can turn on the marks and the comments made by the examiner to explain the marks awarded.

They can practise these as often as they wish till they are comfortable they have learned the marking scheme. A detailed marking scheme will be sent to each of the markers by the examiner to assist in understanding where to allocate marks.

After that, there are three standardisation scripts to mark. Again, the examiner will have marked these in advance. But unlike the practice scripts, the marker will never see the examiners’ marks.

The examiner has to approve the marking of these scripts before real marking commences and be assured that the markers are marking to the expected standard.

Last updated: 15 Jul 2014