Clayy1990 Registered Posts: 35 Dedicated contributor 🦉
I'm coming towards the end of my AAT Level 3 and I've obviously got to start looking beyond my Level 4. I just wanted to know a little bit about the various routes and qualifications available afterwards. From a bit of research i understand there is the following ACCA/CIMA/CIPFA/ICAEW.

Which is the best/most recognised?

Does it really matter which one you choose?

Which is most difficult/takes longest?

Which is most cost effective?

Any advice from experiences of these would be greatly appreciated

Kind Regards

Liam :001_smile:


  • SashaDella
    SashaDella Registered Posts: 362
    As far as Im aware...

    ACCA = quite mainstream, covers mostly topics if you want to work in practise
    CIMA = Management accounting (i.e. working for a manufactuer)
    CIPFA = public finance (working for council/government)
    ICAEW - Im not sure

    I would try and find a job you like, and then see what qualifcation would be more beneficial, if you can get sponsorship for it then you won't need to worry about cost.

    They are degree level, but with ACCA you get some exemptions from f1,2,3 papers (i believe)

    Most people choose ACCA or ACA...
  • omega man
    omega man Registered Posts: 283
    I believe the ACA is certified and you have a sponsoring body. There is one you have left out and that is ATT association of tax technicians and is the quickest 2yrs or so and you get an exemption if you have taken business tax i think out of 5 exams.
    I am not sure if i will ever work again at 51yrs old coming up to 52yrs and so i am going to assume i will study until i get a pension or someone will give me a try for a job.
    Therefore, i will do money allowing on benefits and some assets behind me, do ATT then CIMA then ACCA and no i will not stop there.
  • stevef
    stevef Registered Posts: 258 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    There are six UK Chartered Bodies, with five of them forming the CCAB (Consultative Council of Accountancy Bodies). The two missing in the OP are Chartered Accountants of Scotland and Chartered Accountants in Northern Ireland, but as tgey are so similar to ICAEW I'll lump all three together as ICA. CIMA is not a member of the CCAB.

    As all six are chartered, they are all academically as difficult as each other with all their final exams being at about Master Degree level. They all cover similar subjects with differing emphasis on different topics, giving them different flavours.

    With regard to recognition and size, the largest body in terms of UK membership is ICA, but the biggest in terms of global membership is ACCA. The smallest is CIPFA, but CIPFA is the most influential body in the public sector. I'll come clean, I am an ACCA member but do a lot of work with CIPFA so these are the two I know most about but will do my best to describe them.

    ICA - an "all round" body with most of its members working in practice, but significant numbers working commerce and industry, with a smaller number in the public sector. Hugely influential in accounting and auditing standards, member with the correct experience can get practicing certificates if they need them but to train you do need to get a training/employment contract with an approved accounting firm.

    ACCA - another all rounder, members work in all fields (industry, commerce , public sector and practice), the largest representation is in practice but its roots are in commerce/industry and has a large number of members in those areas. It also has a large and growing public sector membership. Again hugely influential in accounting/auditing standards. You do not need a training contract to study but you do need relevant experience to become a member and even more to obtain a practising certificate (but like ICA you do not need a practising certificate to work in commerce, industry or the public sector (or as an employee in practice). You only need one if you are going to act as principle or partner in practice).

    CIPFA - very specialised to the public sector where nearly all its members work (but rivalled by ACCA in public sector membership), there are a few members in private practice but usually employed to act as consultants to the public sector. Highly respected and hugely influential in setting local government accounting standards (infact actually sets them basing them on IFRS). As it is so specialised, it has dropped tax from the syllabus and can not issue practising certificates.

    CIMA - the body I know least about, but a highly respected body specialising in management accounting. But as it has done this it has lightened the syllabus on financial accounting and auditing to the extent that it can not offer practising certificates. Members can be found in all streams of employment.
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