ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

1. What are the minimum entry routes to ACCA?

ACCA has an open entry policy. You can start studying ACCA without any prior accountancy knowledge. The minimum entry requirements for the ACCA Qualification are:

  • Irish Leaving Certificate in 5 subjects with 3Cs at 3 higher level papers, and a pass in English and a pass in Maths; 

OR

  • Higher Certificate, Ordinary Degree or Honours Degree.

If you have an accountancy degree, you may be eligible for exemptions from some of the ACCA examinations. Check your eligibility for exemptions

What if I don't meet the Leaving Certificate or Degree requirements?

You can still join ACCA to study accounting as a student. The only difference is that you will need to start your studies with our Foundation-level qualifications. Learn more about Foundation-level qualifications

2. How do I qualify as an ACCA accountant?

To qualify as an ACCA member you need to pass (or be exempt from) 14 exams, complete at least 3 years full-time equivalent of relevant, supervised training (fulfilling the competency requirements) and complete an online ethics module.

Most trainees qualify in 3-4 years. However, we have a 10-year time limit to complete the qualification, should you choose to take longer.

3. Where can I work?

You can work in any company, anywhere in the world, as long as the work you are doing is relevant and supervised. ACCA operates an accreditation scheme for employers to indicate where you will find the best study packages and support. Find out about graduate training schemes on our 'Employers & vacancies' page

4. Can I work/study overseas?

Yes, ACCA has students and members in over 170 countries worldwide. Our exams are written to International Accounting Standards and are held in English wherever you choose to sit the exams. You can start your study in one country and complete the qualification in any of our 170 countries.

We have 80 offices globally. ACCA national offices provide useful guidance to students, affiliates and members looking to move across national boundaries. To find the national office of the country you are interested in visit our national offices contacts page

5. What are the differences between ACCA and other Accounting Bodies?

There are several professional accountancy bodies in Ireland,  i.e. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA). All bodies offer similar quality of qualifications to maintain consistency throughout the industry.

The syllabi of the bodies share similarities but have distinctive differences, mainly relating to areas of specialisation.

ACCA has a broad syllabus, which gives you knowledge and skills in all areas of accounting before enabling you to specialise, if you want to, at the final stage. This allows you to work in all sectors, all over the world and be in control of how you achieve the qualification. You choose where to work, how to study and how long it takes.

  • There is no requirement to be in employment before you start your final exams. Work experience can be achieved before, during or after your studies.
  • You are not tied to a 3.5 year training contract to work in either audit or tax with the same company.
  • Your 36 months required work experience can be made up of experience from different roles and sectors - short-term contracts, 3-year contracts, part-time and full-time work, rolling contract, voluntary work, internships / Corporate Sector, Public Practice, Public Sector and Financial Services.
  • 10 years in total to complete the qualification - there is no requirement to complete the exams within the 3 years of your contract.
  • Plan your own exam timetable - sit between 0-4 exams per cycle, choose from two sittings a year, repeat your exams as many times as needed without penalties.
  • ACCA exams are all closed book exams, not a mixture of open book and closed book exams.
  • If you fail your final level exams, no requirement to wait a full year before retaking the exams.
  • ACCA is a globally recognised qualification. This means that you can sit your exams and get your work experience in 173 countries worldwide. Start in one country and finish in another.

6. Do I need to be in relevant employment to start studying for ACCA exams?

No, you can start the ACCA qualification without any work experience in accounting and finance. ACCA recognises experience gained before, during or after your studies.

ACCA would recommend that you study for the exams at the same time as completing the work experience, however there is no requirement to be in relevant employment when you register as a student with ACCA. You could complete some of the exams and then look for employment in a relevant area. Find out about graduate training schemes on our 'Employers & vacancies' page

ACCA recognises experience gained before, during or after your studies. This means that, if you have prior relevant experience (such as a previous job or a placement during university), it can count towards your three-years' practical experience requirement.

Part-time and temporary work will count on a pro-rata basis but it is sometimes difficult to get sufficient breadth and depth of experience to count towards the 13 performance objectives you need to achieve.

7. What are the costs involved in studying for the exams?

ACCA is a global accountancy body with our global headquarters in the UK, as such all fees are payable in Sterling. View the list of current fees

In addition, if you decide to study with a tuition provider, you will be required to pay tuition fees. You will need to contact the tuition provider directly regarding their fees but an average cost is €400 - €800 per subject.

8. Where can I study?

With ACCA you can study part-time or full-time with face-to-face tuition and also by distance or e-learning. Find a tuition provider close to you

ACCA operates an accreditation scheme for tuition providers and ACCA strongly recommends that you choose to study with one of our Approved Learning Partners. Platinum and Gold approvals are granted only to high-quality tuition providers whom ACCA is confident to recommend to you.

ACCA Platinum Approved Learning Partners in Ireland are:

  • Dublin Business School;
  • Griffith College Dublin;
  • Griffith College Cork; and
  • Independent Colleges.

9. Are there any important dates I need to be aware of?

Online exam entry is available all year round to registered students. However, for each exam session there are three closing dates. But don't worry. We have made it easy to remember, because 8 is the date, in all cases.

Please note you should register as an ACCA student a minimum of 20 days before the exam entry date to ensure you are eligible to sit exams.

Ideally we would recommend that you enter for your exams by the early date as there is an increase in exam entry fees for the standard and late entry dates.

Exam SessionEarlyStandardLate
June8 March8 April8 May
December8 September8 October8 November


Last updated: 10 Feb 2014