How Difficult is ACCA?

Posted by: Andre Post Date: 9th September 2014

If you’re looking to go down the accounting route, you’ve probably come across a range of courses, including ACCA. A qualification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) will put you in good stead for a career in financial accounting. You’re probably wondering though, “How difficult is ACCA?”

ACCA in context

To put it in context, the ACCA Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills levels are roughly equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree, while the Professional level is considered on par with a master’s degree.

How Difficult is ACCA?

If you have already completed a lower level qualification such as AAT, you will find that ACCA is a big step up in terms of complexity. When we interviewed Matt Nixon, one of our ACCA learners, he told us, “The increased workload came as a shock after doing AAT”.

How difficult is ACCA: the biggest challenges for learners

When asked, “How difficult is ACCA?”, many learners remark on the sudden increase in difficulty between the Fundamental and Professional level. Matt explained that “It meant a lot more revision and studying to ensure that I was ready for the exams.”

You will also find that some papers are harder than others. This is likely to depend on your personal preferences and abilities, but Matt told us he found the Advanced Taxation paper the hardest because it covers so much material in a short space of time.

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Making it easier

ACCA is highly flexible, which means you can study in a way that best suits your learning style. With the right support and study plan, you can take some of the stress out of achieving the qualification. Here are some tips for easing the pressure.

Gain the right qualifications beforehand

While you can choose to start studying for ACCA at any point, is it strongly advised that you only begin when you’ve got the basic knowledge to succeed. Having relevant A-Levels like Accounting, Maths or Business Studies will certainly help.

To make sure you’re fully prepared though, it’s a good idea to gain a qualification that gives you a grounding in accounting. The AAT qualification gives you an understanding of the concepts and skills essential to a career in accounting, such as tax and budgeting.

Make sure you have support

ACCA is challenging, so don’t try to go it alone. Study with a learning provider that gives you one on one time with an experienced tutor, even when you’re studying from home. Your learning provider should also give you comprehensive course content, revision materials, and assessment feedback.

If you work full time in a financial role, try to find a buddy at work who is also studying for the qualification, or at least someone who has gained it already. This can prove an invaluable source of support when navigating your way through tough course content.

Give yourself time

Everyone learns at a different pace, and some people benefit from studying at their own speed. Especially if you have commitments like work and family, you might find that the ACCA distance learning option is ideal. It means you can study in your own environment, in your own time, and complete the qualification only when you’re ready.

There’s no point in rushing through units and taking the exams as soon as possible. You can sit exams at two points in each year – if you’re not quite ready for the first exam sitting, it’s better to wait until the next than be underprepared.

As our learner, Matt, advised after completing the course, make sure you starting revising in plenty of time before your exam!

So, how difficult ACCA is, depends on a range of factors. It’s a challenging qualification to achieve, but the right preparation and support can make your journey through the course a lot more smoothly.

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