I’ve finally decided to embark on an ACCA exams journey in a quest to become a qualified Accountant. Anyone who knows me understands that Accounting is not my passion and it will never be. However, I understand its importance to helping me to accomplish what I need to and I appreciate the role it plays.
Pursuing Additional Studies
I had already decided that pursuing additional studies would have been a good idea. My original plan was to pursue PhD studies in the area of Management and Business. However, scholarships are difficult to come by and paying out of pocket was just not realistic or possible at this time. That plan has been put on the back burner, but at sometime in the future I will work at getting one of those coveted scholarships.
The alternative was an Accounting or Finance qualification. I first created a list of all of the accounting qualifications that I was interested in studying for. For each option I listed the initial registration fee; the annual subscription fee; the number of exams and their costs; the cumulative cost of study materials and the length of time it would take to complete each qualification. Then I ranked each qualification by the cost, because that was a huge determining factor for me.
Based on the ranking, the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) qualification was the first choice. This was followed by the Certified Management Accountant, the ACCA and the Certified Professional Accountant (Canada) designations. I had already signed up for the CIA, but I was hesitant because it was a specialised designation that required experience that I was not willing to get. Although it was the most affordable, I was not comfortable with studying for it at this time.
The CMA and the CPA were also considered but did not make the cut. I rejected the CMA because I would have to travel to the United States to take the exams. This would have added to the cost of pursuing the qualification and I was not prepared to do that. The CPA was just too expensive and it would have taken a very long time to complete. The CPA (USA) was also considered briefly, but that too required travel to the USA.
That left me with the ACCA.
My Decision to Study for the ACCA
I had signed up with the ACCA back in 2006 to complete their Diploma in Financial Management. However, before I was able to complete that programme, ACCA ended it and it was fused into the ACCA qualification. Because I only had one more exam left to complete, I was transferred to the ACCA’s new Diploma in Accounting and Business, where I had one exam to complete.
After I passed that final examination I was awarded the Diploma in Accounting and Business, which is awarded after completion of the first three exams (F1-F3). I will also try to claim an exemption from F9 because I completed a Financial Management course as part of my Masters.
I also chose the ACCA is because the ACCA study texts are reasonably priced, I can take exams in my country and there are four exam sessions per year. Ideally, I wish that I could finish studying in a year and a half, but I think two and a half years is more likely.
To be honest, the decision to study for the ACCA exams was not easy. I had been avoiding it like the plague and I was pretty stubborn about not doing it. However, because of some developments in my life and my research and analysis, taking these exams is the next logical step.
My ACCA Exams Journey
My journey through this maze of ACCA exams is pretty straightforward. I’ve decided that taking one exam at a time is best for me, because I want to increase my chances of passing in one try. The downside of this is that I will not get a break, but the upside is becoming qualified in two years.
Tentatively, I’m planning on taking the fundamentals skills exams in the following order:
- F4 Corporate and Business Law (June 2017)
- F5 Performance Management (June 2017)
- F6 Taxation (September 2017)
- F7 Financial Reporting (December 2017)
- F8 Audit and Assurance (March 2018)
- F9 Financial Management (June 2018)
Students also have the option of opting into the BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Accounting with Oxford Brookes. However, if you have claimed exemptions in F7, F8 or F9, you will have to ask ACCA to waive the exemptions and sit the examinations so that you can be eligible for the degree. To gain this degree, you will have to complete the F4-F9 exams as well as a Research and Analysis Project. I’m not sure if I will take it – I’m just not interested in adding another variable to my work load.
Then, I will be given the choice of selecting two more exams or a completing an MSc in Professional Accountancy from the University of London. I’m leaning towards the MSc, but I’ll have to research the degree requirements and costs and compare them to the exams options.
The two exam options should be selected from P4 Advanced Financial Management; P5 Advanced Performance Management; P6 Advanced Taxation and P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance.
Professional Ethics Module and Practical Experience Requirement
All ACCA students are required to take the Professional Ethics Module (PEM). This module must be completed in order to receive the Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business, which is awarded after completion of the Fundamentals Skills exams. The module is also a pre-requisite for the Applied Accounting degree.
The PEM will change in September to a new Ethics and Professional Skills module. So if you are in the same position that I’m in, you should try to get it completed as soon as possible or wait for the new module. If possible, I will be working on this component along with my first fundamental skills exams. However, ACCA recommends that the PEM be taken along with P1.
The ACCA exams journey also includes a Practical Experience Requirement. You have to demonstrate that you have relevant skills and work experience. One of the requirements is 36 months of experience, which I already have. The ACCA’s website has an extensive discussion on the PER. There are also some FAQs which can answer many of your questions.
To get started studying, I had to re-register and pay any outstanding fees that were owed to the ACCA. I contacted the ACCA and they confirmed that to get started, I had to pay a re-registration fee of 79 GBP and an 81 GBP outstanding fee.
Because my country has a joint partnership with the ACCA, my re-registration was handled through them. ACCA has joint partnerships with accountancy bodies in several countries. I also had to re-register with them and pay an annual fee.
Also, my subscription fee will be due around May because I will be eligible to sit exams in June, September and December.
At this point, I’m just waiting for the re-registration to be processed. The local office said that the process will take six to eight weeks. Initially I wanted to take my first exam in March, but because of this small delay, I’ve decided to go for June. It actually works out well, because I can accurately budget my money for the exams.
My list of things to do includes:
- Checking my email to see when my re-registration is complete
- Signing up and paying for the June exam
- Printing copies of the F4 syllabus and study guide
- Creating a detailed study timetable
- Reading through all of the F4 examiner’s reports and advice
- Purchasing the BPP F4 study text and the revision questions
I’ve already signed up to the best accounting blogs and forums and I’m going to read some of the posts from students who would have taken the last F4 exam.
Are you ready? It’s time to kick this ACCA exams journey into high gear.