Debunking the 5 Most Common Misconceptions about the ICAEW ACA Qualification

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Picture a chartered accountancy qualification. What is the first thing that comes into mind? Audit and taxes? Difficult exams to pass? Long study hours while working?

While many of these thoughts are common, most of them are actually misconceptions that have been wrongly stereotyped over the years. In fact, you might be surprised that some of the facts are actually the exact opposite of what is commonly assumed.

In order to provide better clarity for young graduates and students in Singapore to make better career decisions, we have taken some of the most common stereotypes about the ICAEW ACA qualification and dug deep to de-mystify these 5 myths for you.

Myth #1: The ACA exams are difficult to pass

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Contrary to popular belief, the ICAEW ACA actually has relatively high exam passing rates. Based on the latest reported statistics from ICAEW, we discovered that the average global pass rates for the March 2020 Professional level exams was around 81.5%. This goes to show that the ACA exams are definitely not impossible to pass.

Don’t get us wrong, the ACA exams are by no means a walk in the park. After all, ICAEW is known for their global prestige and high standards for their qualifications, which allows them to constantly produce Chartered Accountants that are among the crème of the crop across industries. However, thanks to the quality of learning materials, online resources and robust support system from ICAEW’s Partner in Learning (PiL) and its global student communities, passing the exams are definitely achievable with hardwork, perseverance and the right approach.


Myth #2: The ACA qualification can only be pursued after graduation

icaew aca myth debunked image 2Unlike many other professional qualifications, ICAEW students can actually start pursuing their ACA exams while pursuing their undergraduate or diploma studies in Singapore. This is known as “frontloading”, where students are able to take the ICAEW ACA examinations of selected modules while still at university. Your course of studies may enable you to receive exemptions and reduce the number of ACA examination modules you need to complete.

The benefit of frontloading as a full-time student is that you will have more time in preparing for the exams and also better work-study balance before you begin to work full-time. ICAEW students are also highly sought after by employers, many were enlisted to receive internships or full time job offers by leading organisations even before they graduate.


Myth #3: Choosing a professional qualification from a local professional body is an ideal choice

icaew aca myth debunked image 3This is not necessarily true. While some consider it better to be recognised with a qualification from a local professional body in your home country, the ICAEW ACA qualification provides global recognition and can serve as a passport for career mobility and opportunities across a vast range of workplaces around the world. Interestingly, it is also worth noting that ICAEW is the founding member of the Chartered Accountant Worldwide (CAW) that has 23 Reciprocal Membership Agreements and Reciprocal Ageements internationally in many notable countries, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

As Singapore continues to develop as a global financial hub, the ICAEW ACA will prove to be a future-proof qualification that will be able to place you in a better standing to seize international opportunites in the years to come.


Myth #4: The ACA qualification is only for Accountancy and Audit students

icaew aca myth debunked image 4Despite what you may have heard, the ICAEW ACA qualification is acknowledged beyond the accountancy and audit profession. By virtue of the breadth and depth of the knowledge of running a business, there is also an emphasis on application, the ACA has been designed to shape aspring business leaders of companies to innovate, grow, and create ambitious strategies for the future. Additionally, the modules within the ICAEW ACA programme are updated regularly with feedback from leading organisations and employers to ensure that the content remains relevant to today’s business world.

What our team discovered is that ICAEW Chartered Accountants are generally known to be well-rounded professionals. They are trained and equipped with sound technical knowledge along with the essential skills needed as they take on important roles in businesses. This would explain why ICAEW chartered accountants are found working in organisations in a wide range of industries such as Airbnb, Apple, BBC, Dyson, Grab, Rolls Royce, and many other prestigious organisations across the globe.


Myth #5: There are many exam modules to complete

icaew aca myth debunked image 5Did you know that there are up to 12 exemptions (credit for prior learning) offered to students with recognised academic qualifications or for members of certain professional body? For example, a student currently pursuing the ACCA, may qualify between 3 and 12 exam exemptions should he/she decide to pursue the ICAEW ACA.

Depending on how far you have progressed through the current programme, ACCA holders and students may be eligible for credits for prior learning for up to 12 out of the 15 ACA exam modules. This would mean that an ACCA graduate may only need to complete the 3 advance level papers in order to to obtain the ACA qualification, coupled with work experiences or training by an authorised training employer to become an ICAEW chartered accountant. This demonstrates the versatility of the ICAEW ACA programme, which allows you to be placed on an accelerated path should you possess the right credits or qualifications that align with their exemption criteria.


Interested in the ICAEW ACA Qualification? Here’s how You Can Get in Touch…

If you’re looking to explore a successful career in a profession in business, accountancy or finance, the ICAEW ACA is definitely one of the most prestigious qualification that can equip you with the relevant skills that employers seeks, and knowledge that can fast-track your career aspirations.

We hope that the article has helped to clarify of the common misconceptions related to the ICAEW ACA qualification. If you’re ready to kick-start your ACA journey or have further questions, get in touch with an ICAEW representative below:


The ICAEW ACA Success Stories

If you would like to learn more about how others have managed to carved successful career paths and gained global exposure through the ICAEW ACA qualification, you can read about the stories of some of the featured ICAEW members below:


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