CPA US vs ACCA: How to pick the right course by assessing their eligibility criteria, fees and exam structure.



A few years ago, whenever someone opted for commerce, their friends and family suggested that they opt for courses like Chartered Accountancy, Company Secretary, or Master of Business Administration.

But over the last few years, globally recognized courses such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and ACCA marked their importance in India. Many people are now more inclined towards these courses.

So, let’s discuss this further in this article,

  • What are CPA and ACCA?
  • What is the difference between these two courses?
  • In what countries are these recognized?
  • Details of these courses and their fees?

CPA USA eligibility

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one of the most sought-after qualifications in the field of accounting. The CPA examination is administered by the world’s largest accounting body, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Step 1: Eligibility

To appear for the US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination, you have to be at least a Graduate, preferably from the Commerce Stream.

Documents verification will be done in the first step to check your eligibility.

Step 2: Evaluation

  • Online application to the evaluation agencies for Foreign Credential evaluation
  • Sending documents to the evaluation agency

Step 3: Preparation

  • Exam Preparation using the resources
  • Taking mock tests

Step 4: Examination

  • Online application for exams
  • Exam Scheduling

Step 5: License

  • Ethics Exam
  • Document filing to the State Board

US CPA Exam fees

Exam Fees:

The CPA Exam fees will be around 3000 USD.

Application Fees:

150 USD – 200 USD. It varies from state to state and is paid for the CPA Application fee whenever you apply for exams.

Evaluation Fees:

225 USD – 350 USD is paid for Evaluation.

Registration fees:

70 USD to 150 USD. It varies from state to state and all first-time applicants are required to pay both an application fee and an examination fee upon submission of the first-time application.

CPA Exam Rescheduling Fee:

Varies depending on the number of days of advance notice. If you reschedule your CPA Exam at least 30 days in advance, there is no fee associated with the rescheduling.

If you reschedule the exam between 5 and 30 days, you’ll have to pay the Prometric Testing Center a rescheduling fee of $35. If you reschedule within 5 days of your current exam date, you will need to pay the Prometric Testing Center the full amount for the CPA Exam section you are rescheduling.

You will not be able to reschedule your exam if it is under 24 hours before your exam time; you will need to register again with your State Board of Accountancy.

CPA Exam Retake Fee:

Varies between $50 and $200

For all re-examination candidates, instead of paying the application fee, they are required to pay both the reapplication and examination fee when they register to re-take any parts of the CPA Exam.

CPA Licensing Fee:

CPA Licensing fees vary between $100 – $500, depending on the state.

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Taking Up the CPA Course

In an interview, Raghav Prasanna shared how he passed the CPA Course and got Placed at JP Morgan.

Raghav got into the Big Four ‘Deloitte’ after graduating. But he also wanted to study further.

After evaluating the pros and cons of  CA, ACCA, and CPA courses he landed on CPA

Why? Raghav mentioned that the job market is huge for CPAs.  Many MNCs coming to India to set up their businesses also prefer CPAs as they have global recognition.

In a conversation with The Finance Story, Ahsan Khan shared that he had initially opted for the CA course. However, even after a lot of hard work, he couldn't pass the CA final exam.

He was lost, depressed and wanted to take a break from studying. Luckily his cousin, who is a CPA guided him in the right direction.

India is a land of growing business opportunities for US Companies. It requires candidates with in-depth knowledge and skills of US legal laws and accounting frameworks.

“Considering my career goals, the opportunities available, the period and the cost to complete the course - I chose to take the CPA course from AICPA,” Ahsan said.

ACCA Course Eligibility

ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body of Professional Accountants. The ACCA qualification is recognized in almost 180 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada.

Minimum Requirements can be checked at website. Also, you must complete a minimum of 36 months of relevant work experience and achieve 9 performance objectives to qualify as an ACCA member.

A practical experience supervisor must sign off your time in a relevant role and performance objectives.

ACCA Fee Details

Registration Fee:

When you apply, you’ll need to pay a registration fee.

Initial Registration Fee:  £30

A one-time fee that students must pay when registering with ACCA.

Re-Registration Fees: £89

ACCA students who fail to pay fees when due, will have their names removed from the ACCA register and must pay a re-registration fee (plus any unpaid fees) to be reinstated as a student.  

Subscription fees

As a student, you have to pay an annual subscription fee to ACCA. ACCA will invoice the fee on your account in November and you need to pay by January 1st.

Annual Subscription Fees 2022 (latest):  £116

An annual subscription fee is due each year to keep your student status active.    

Exemption Fees:

An exemption fee is charged for each ACCA exam in which you are awarded an exemption.        

Applied Knowledge Exams:  £84

The fee is chargeable per exemption awarded.

Applied Skills Exams:  £111

The fee is chargeable per exemption awarded.

Exam Fees

An entry fee must be paid for each exam that you take,  and this fee varies from subject to subject.

Also Read

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ACCA course details

The ACCA syllabus consists of 14 examinations. The Fundamental level includes 9 examinations (F1 – F9).

From the Professional level, you must complete 5 exams before receiving your certification. 3 papers P1, P2, and P3 are compulsory, followed by 2 out of the 4 optional papers P4, P5, P6, and P7. A maximum of 4 papers can appear in one part.

Depending on your previous qualifications, you may also be awarded an exemption from certain papers.

So, if you want to go for ACCA, then you have to study the subjects such as Accounting, Law, Taxation, Audit and Assurance, Financial Management, Business Analysis, etc.

The students who have already studied for the relevant qualifications can get exemptions are eligible for availing exemptions from some papers.

A student can get an exemption from a maximum of nine papers at the fundamentals level, depending upon the earlier qualification. But to ensure that the standards of ACCA are maintained, there are no exemptions from the ACCA Professional level exams.

Taking up ACCA Course?

Chartered Accountancy from ICAI is a preferred career choice for many. But instead of following the herd, Huzaifa Haider Ali weighed the pros and cons of it.

When he went to a career fair in Dubai, he learned that the University of Wollongong had partnered up with ACCA. The students of that University could claim a maximum of 9 exemptions from Knowledge Level or Skills Level papers.

He researched more about it and found out that ACCA is a global professional accounting body. It doesn’t just teach you primary accounting or finance skills but:

  • Business strategies
  • What kind of hurdles you would come across in a business
  • How one should operate a business through proper management
  • And everything necessary to thrive in the corporate world.

“Now, that seemed very promising. Accordingly, I decided to pursue a Bachelor’s in Commerce, from the University of Wollongong and applied for the ACCA course in 2012,” said Huzaifa.

The course will broaden your horizon and career options. You can move into business management, marketing, and many other related fields. 

Though many courses require a student to be a graduate, the ACCA course doesn’t have such a requirement.

You can enroll yourself for this course as soon as you pass the 10+2 exams, so for those who are looking for a globally recognized course, ACCA is a good one for you.


Many doors will open for you as an ACCA holder. Why? Because the ACCA course adheres to an international framework, making it a recognized standard across a variety of worldwide organizations. 

The US CPA grants you eligibility to work anywhere in the globe. For example, you can work for MNC corporations in India, the Big Four, or any speciality auditing firm.

Such organizations would undoubtedly choose a person who is a US CPA over who is just an accountant.

But you need to remember that choosing a professional course to accelerate your career is a very subjective decision. So instead of blindly following others’ footsteps, research and figure out which course will be suitable for you. 


Q. How many people are studying ACCA?

ACCA has 240,952 members and 541,930 future members worldwide.

Q. ACCA vs CPA salary?

The average salary for an ACCA is ₹4,23,475 per year in India. 

The average salary for a Certified Public Accountant in India is ₹6,89,845 per year.

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