There is this persistent ACCA Vs CPA Kenya debate and we keep on being asked whether a CPA is better than an ACCA qualification and vice-versa.
Well, we have been out and about and from our findings, it would be unfair to rank either of the two reputable accounting certifications higher than the other.
I know that’s disappointing for some of you who were eager to hear us crowning a definite winner of the ACCA Vs CPA Kenya ‘contest’ but that is the truth.
And we have plenty of reasons for this assertion..
Take a look:
The two courses have different outlooks
CPA is primarily a Kenyan and East-Africa focused qualification while the UK-based ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a globally-focused chartered accountancy certification.
That means that while a significant number of employers will ask for either a CPA or ACCA, a good proportion of Kenyan companies consider a CPA-K to be more adept at handling local taxation issues.
On the other hand, if you dream of working for a multinational, an ACCA will make more sense.
And is ACCA marketable in Kenya?
Yes, but in most cases, it’s asked for by firms with an international presence.
The two certifications have varied entry requirements
ACCA puts more emphasis on practical skills during training and has fairly open minimum entry requirements.
In fact, you can enroll for ACCA foundational level as long as you can communicate in English.
What about the CPA?
Well, we all know that KASNEB is very strict and demands a minimum of a C+ mean grade (KCSE) and at least a similar score in both English and Math.
If not, you have to commence your studies at the Diploma Level (Accounting Technician Diploma)- a course that will take a whole 18 months before applying for the CPA.
ACCA Vs CPA Kenya: The structure of the courses is vastly different
For the CPA, you only need to pass the examination for the three parts – CPA I, II, and III. That’s a total of 18 papers and you’re done.
The ACCA Kenya syllabus is rather different…
First, you’re to pass the applied knowledge examination to prove your understanding of diverse finance and accounting topics.
You then take the applied skills exams where you’re tested on essential papers such as Taxation, Law, Audit and Assurance, and Financial reporting.
There’s also the option to pursue Strategic Professional exams if you want to join leadership positions in the future.
Some of the papers here are similar to those taken in CPA Part III and they include Advanced Taxation, Advanced Audit and Assurance, and Advanced Financial management.
Besides, you ought to pass the strategic business leader and business reporting papers.
I talked to Kelvin, an ACCA/CPA tutor from a Nairobi college and he says he finds the two examinations also quite different in their coverage of emerging issues and the IFRSs (international financial reporting standards).
ACCA Vs CPA Kenya: The practical attachment requirement
You must undertake practical attachment in an accounting environment in the course of your ACCA study and satisfy the specified 9 performance objectives.
But while KASNEB advises students studying the CPA course to seek an attachment position –at least after passing the CPA II exams- it’s not mandatory.
Additionally, KASNEB hasn’t outlined any assessment criteria for its learners while on attachment.
Wrapping it up
So again, the question of which one is better ACCA or CPA? shouldn’t arise as the two have differing outlooks, structure, and way of doing things.
But is ACCA easier than CPA?
Again, that’s not very easy to tell because of the contrasting depth when it comes to curriculum coverage.
However, with ACCA, you have access to official myriad exam study and preparatory materials and these are often very helpful when preparing for exams.
KASNEB is yet to publish such though you can access various unit study packs from their online study portal.
Lastly, is ACCA eligible for CPA?
Yes, and you’ll still get a number of exemptions.
Please channel your questions to the following contacts for more information..
ACCA Contacts Kenya: call +254 (0)20 2650973
KASNEB: Call 0722201214 or 0734600624