The Different Types Of Chartered Accountants: Aca, Acca And Cima

When you need to find a chartered accountant like, the first thing that you should do is to look at their qualifications. They should have either ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). But what do these qualifications mean and which will be best for your needs? Below we explain the different types of UK chartered accountants, what their training involves and which type will be best to suit your needs. It is just worth pointing out that there really is no right or wrong type of chartered accountant, you just need to find the right one with the associated qualifications to get your specific job done.


This type of chartered accountant will have been awarded their qualification from ICAEW – The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, of which there are over 140,000 members. Training is in partnership with an organisation who has the relevant qualifications, and a total of 450 days work experience are needed to earn the qualification, which can take up to five years. Fifteen modules are studied so as to give the widest possible experiences available. All entrants need to have two A2 levels and at least three GCSE passes, with graduates needing a good First degree or upper Second class degree.

Those who gain an ACA qualification are able to work in a wide range of chartered accounting sectors including those of audit work, private or public sector organisations and in particular individuals who wish to set up their own business.
Within the chartered accounting world, ACA is seen as the gold standard with chartered accountants who have a ACA qualification being in very high demand.


Those who study with The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants will gain the qualification of management accountant. When working as a chartered accountant with CIMA status, you are allowed to work within a business environment as opposed to one accountancy firm. This often makes the CIMA qualified chartered accountant very flexible in their working practices. To date the CIMA has over 203,000 members based in 173 countries. Training can take up to a maximum of three years and most employers will only accept graduates with a good degree, so at least a lower First class degree. This type of qualification is very specific and is targeted at those who specifically want to become chartered management accountants. The training process is tough with the learner having to pass 14 exams.

Due to the nature of the training, this type of qualification tends to be more suited for those who wish to work in the financial industry and business sectors. Those who wish to use the services of a CIMA chartered accountant will usually work in public or private financial sectors or will be needing advice about setting up a business. The CIMA chartered accountant is not usually best suited for those who requite audit advice.


Those who study with The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants will gain the qualification of chartered certified accountant. The ACCA has over 586,000 members in over 170 countries. To become a chartered accountant with a ACCA qualification takes up to three years of relevant work experience and has a maximum of ten years in order to pass the exams. To gain a ACCA qualification, only graduates are accepted onto the training programme who have a good degree.

Manny choose the ACCA route because it is flexible and allows them to choose various employers to work with while training so as to get the most varied experiences. Chartered accountants who have ACCA qualification are very much focussed upon financial accounting and the technical processes and practices that surround accountancy. The ACCA chartered accountant is best suited for those who need help with their financial practice, auditing work and who need tax advice.

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