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

CPA US vs ACCA which is better eligibility criteria fees exam structure


A few years ago, whenever someone opted for commerce, their friends and family suggested that they do courses like CA, CS, or MBA.

But in the span of the last few years, globally recognized courses such as CFA, CPA, and ACCA marked their importance in India and a lot of 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?


A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one of the most renowned professions in the world and one of the most sought-after qualifications in the field of accounting.

The world’s largest accounting body, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers the CPA Examination. 


There are 4 Papers that you need to pass  in order to qualify  for the CPA Certification:

  1. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
  2. Auditing & Attestation (AUD)
  3. Regulation (REG)
  4. Business Environmental & Concepts (BEC)

Here are some details about the Exam Structure:

  1. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) 
  • Based on US GAAP & IFRS
  • 50% MCQ
  • 50% Task-Based Simulations

2. Auditing & Attestation (AUD)

  • Based on Auditing Standards and Procedures
  • 50% MCQ
  • 50% Task-Based Simulations
  1. Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)
  • Based on Business Transactions
  • 50% MCQ
  • 35% Task-Based Simulations
  • 15% Written
  1. Regulation
  • Based on US Federal Taxation and Business Law
  • 50% MCQ
  • 50% Task-Based Simulations


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

Steps For Becoming A CPA

Step 1: Eligibility

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

Step 2: Evaluation

  • Online application tothe 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  tothe State Board


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.


Raghav Prasanna in an interview with Simandhar Education mentioned that after completing his graduation, he got into the Big four ‘Deloitte’ and was looking to study further.

He evaluated CA, ACCA, and CPA, compared the pros & cons and found out that CPA will be more suitable for him. 

The thing is that taking any course is a very subjective decision. Like Raghav, before opting for CPA or any other courses, first you need to evaluate which course will be highly suitable for you. You need to do your own research in order to make the right decision.

Raghav also revealed that the job market is wide for CPAs and since many MNCs are coming to India, they prefer CPAs as it is a degree with global recognition.

In a conversation with The Finance Story, Ahsan Khan shared that he was lost, and depressed after being unable to pass CA final examination.

He was going to take a break from studying, luckily his cousin who is a CPA, guided him in the right direction.

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

We all know that CPA from AICPA has great scope outside of India but we are unaware of the fact that CPA from AICPA has great career opportunities even in India.

India presents itself as a land of growing business opportunities for US Companies and requires candidates with in-depth knowledge and skills of US legal laws and accounting framework.

“I feel it’s the right time for people to pursue CPA from AICPA and meet those companies’ expectations,” Ahsan concluded.


ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body of Professional Accountants recognized in 170+ countries.


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

From the Professional level, you must complete 5 exams prior to 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 in 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 in 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.


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

Your time in a relevant role and performance objectives need to be signed off by a practical experience supervisor.


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:

You have to pay an annual subscription fee to ACCA, as a student. . 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 that you are awarded an exemption in.        

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.


Rashesh Majithia, a world rank holder in papers FM & APM of the ACCA course, mentioned in an interview with a popular YouTube channel that like any other student in his class of 12th he was also confused about which course to choose.

He decided that the CA qualification was not for him and was looking for some good options and that’s when he came across the ACCA course.

After doing some basic research about the value, and the structure, he felt like it was the right choice for him, and that’s why he took the ACCA course.

There are many students like Rashesh who are confused about which course to pursue after completing their school-level qualifications. Though there are many courses that require a student to be a graduate, the ACCA course doesn’t have such a requirement.

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

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 the ACCA course doesnt just teach you primary accounting or finance skills but also:

  • 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. 

I hope this article helped you to get an insight into the US CPA vs ACCA course, its fees, its structure, and all other additional details which are going to help you make the right decision for your career.


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