Your Guide to Studying ACCA in Malaysia

ACCA Malaysia-Header

From small ‘mom and pop’ businesses to giant conglomerates, millions of companies around the world require the services of an accountant.

And if you’re looking to be an accountant and be recognised at a professional level, an ACCA qualification might just be the course for you!

This comprehensive guide will help to answer all your questions about ACCA, such as:

  • What is ACCA exactly?
  • How can you obtain an ACCA qualification?
  • What are the entry requirements to study ACCA?
  • Are you only limited to being an accountant with an ACCA qualification?
  • Is ACCA really that difficult?

… and more!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about pursuing an ACCA qualification.

The Basics of ACCA

What It Is

ACCA Malaysia - What is ACCA
ACCA stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is a body for professional accountants and is recognised globally, with 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 180 countries.

ACCA consists of a series of professional exams that you need to pass (14 papers in total). As part of the ACCA programme, you will gain technical knowledge in the field of accounting and finance, as well as other areas such as organisational management and strategy.

Upon completion of ACCA’s professional exams and the Professional Ethics Module (PEM), along with 3 years of relevant working experience, you will be a Chartered Certified Accountant, which is a term only ACCA members can hold.

Update: The existing PEM will be withdrawn in September 2017 and be replaced with the new Ethics and Professional Skills module, which is more comprehensive and relevant to suit the needs of the workplace.

Most ACCA members work in accounting and finance fields, typically in the corporate sector. Having an ACCA qualification provides assurance to employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge in the accounting & finance field, which is why many students opt to pursue this qualification!

Important Note: ACCA is a professional accounting qualification, and is not a Degree itself.


Studying ACCA in Malaysia

Pathway to Obtaining an ACCA Professional Qualification

There are several ways to obtain an ACCA Professional Qualification.

Here is a brief summary of the various pathways you can take upon completing SPM.

ACCA - Education-Pathway-2
The two most common pathways are as follows:

(1) Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) → ACCA [approx. 3 years total]

This is the fastest and shortest route to obtain an ACCA qualification.

Upon completing SPM or O-Level, you can immediately start to pursue your ACCA qualification via the CAT qualification. The Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification is offered by ACCA, and you can take this programme immediately after SPM.

Completing the CAT will give you exemptions for the ACCA Knowledge module, skipping 3 exam papers (see next section on “ACCA Course & Exam Structure“), allowing you to proceed directly to the ACCA Skills module.

Note: One of the concerns people have about ACCA is that it is not an actual Degree. But here’s some good news! As of 2001, ACCA has partnered with Oxford Brookes University to develop a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Accounting, allowing students to obtain a Degree while studying for ACCA. All you need to do is complete a Research & Analysis Project.

(2) Foundation / Pre-University → Degree in Accounting → ACCA [approx. 5.5 years total]

Another popular pathway is to first obtain a Degree in Accounting prior to pursuing ACCA.

You start with a Foundation or Pre-University programme (e.g. A-Level, Australian Matriculation, STPM, etc.) and proceed with a Degree in Accounting. During this period, you will learn about accounting principles and techniques, as well as broader topics outside of Accounting, such as Economics & Investments. Upon completing your Degree, you can pursue your ACCA qualification. In fact, many accounting graduates work full-time while studying for ACCA part-time!

Depending on the institution, the Degree and the subjects that you take for your Accounting Degree, you may be granted exemptions of up to 9 papers from the ACCA Fundamentals Level. This means you get to skip up to a maximum of 9 fundamental papers and go directly to the ACCA Professional Level (see next section on “ACCA Course & Exam Structure“).

Pro Tip: You can check the papers that you can get exempted from, based on your qualification and institution, with the ACCA exemption calculator.

This pathway to a professional accounting qualification is longer compared to Pathway #1 above. However, it is still a popular option for many students.

Starting in 2016, ACCA students will also have the option to pursue a Masters Degree qualification in Professional Accountancy after completing your ACCA Professional P1 – P3 papers. ACCA has partnered with the University of London to enable ACCA students to take both the ACCA professional qualification and a Masters Degree programme at the same time.


ACCA Course & Exam Structure

The ACCA exams are divided into two levels — Fundamentals and Professional.

(1) ACCA Fundamentals Level (9 papers in total)

ACCA Fundamentals is divided into two modules — Knowledge (3 papers) and Skills (6 papers). It covers main areas of financial and management accounting, as well as technical areas that accountants are expected to know.

(2) ACCA Professional Level (5 papers in total)

ACCA Professional is also divided into two modules — Essentials (3 papers) and Options (2 papers). As part of the Professional level, you will explore more advanced professional skills and techniques that are required by accountants working in either consultancy or advisory roles.

You will need to pass all 3 papers in the Essentials module. As for the Options module, you have the option to select 2 papers out of 4 optional papers.

Here is the list of all the ACCA papers in both Fundamentals and Professional level.

F1Accountant in Business
F2Management Accounting
F3Financial Accounting
F4Corporate and Business Law
F5Performance Management
F7Financial Reporting
F8Audit and Assurance
F9Financial Management
P1Governance, Risk and Ethics
P2Corporate Reporting
P3Business Analysis
Options (choose 2)
P4Advanced Financial Management
P5Advanced Performance Management
P6Advanced Taxation
P7Advanced Audit and Assurance
Update: Starting September 2018, the Essentials module in the ACCA Professional Level will be replaced with Strategic Professional, which you will take after you’ve completed the new Ethics and Professional Skills module and the required 3 years of practical experience. You can learn more about the new ACCA Qualification pathway from ACCA’s website.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

In order to register for the ACCA Professional qualification, you must meet the following entry requirements:

Pre-University Qualification

  • A-Level: Minimum of 2Es + 3 credits in SPM, including English & Maths
  • STPM: Minimum of 2Cs + 3 credits in SPM, including English & Maths
  • Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 70 + 5 credits in SPM, including English & Maths
  • UEC: 5Bs including English & Maths
Do note that certain universities or institutions may have different entry requirements, so make sure you do your research before making a decision!


Why Should You Study ACCA?

ACCA Malaysia - Why Study ACCA
ACCA is one of the most widely recognised professional accounting qualifications in Malaysia as well as globally. Here are some top reasons why you should study ACCA.

(1) Recognised by thousands of employers worldwide

ACCA collaborates with over 8,500 approved employers globally, from multinational corporations and accounting bodies to educational institutions and governments. The ACCA programme also undergoes quality assurance by independent third parties. As such, you can be confident that your professional qualification is well recognised and has a proven reputation for quality.

(2) You get to be in charge of your studies and career

Want to study part-time while working? Or do you prefer to focus and get your professional qualification in the fastest way possible? ACCA has various flexible study options, which means you get to progress at your own pace, whether it’s part-time or full-time. This allows you to switch focus between work and studies, depending on your circumstances.

Fun Fact: In many large accounting firms, employers may subsidise the fees of your ACCA qualification as well as give you time off to study!

(3) ACCA opens the doors to many other industries

ACCA does not limit you to being a professional accountant or an auditor. In fact, many ACCA members go on to pursue employment in various fields, such as banking & finance, tax, consulting and business development. Although an ACCA qualification exposes you to many technical aspects and principles of accounting, its syllabus also cover other skills and competencies that are valuable in other industries outside auditing and accounting.

What Skills Do You Need to Study ACCA?

ACCA Malaysia - Key Skills
Here are some of the key qualities & skills that you will need to develop to do well in ACCA.

(1) The drive and determination to learn and work hard

Yes, the rumours are true — ACCA is indeed a difficult course. Although ACCA is not a Degree itself, the ACCA Fundamentals Level is roughly equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in terms of complexity, and the ACCA Professionals Level is about the same as a Master’s Degree. The jump from Fundamentals to Professional can be quite drastic for some, so you must commit to studying and revising your material in order to be prepared for your exams.

(2) Attention to detail

This is an industry where every little detail matters. The smallest of error, inconsistency or discrepancy can lead to other inaccuracies, so you must have an eye for detail. As a professional accountant, you need to ensure that any financial information that you receive is accurately reflected in various reports without a single error.

(3) A high level of ethics and integrity

As a professional accountant and auditor, the nature of your work requires you to have high levels of ethics and integrity. Shareholders, investors and stakeholders rely heavily on financial statements to make key decisions in the company, so it is your responsibility to ensure that no dodgy accounting goes on. ACCA students are also required to pass a professional ethics module.

(4) Good communication skills

While it is true that you will be dealing with lots and lots of numbers, good communication skills (both written and verbal) are important too! As a future accounting professional, you need to have the ability to convey financial information in simple terms to clients and employers who may not understand all the accounting terms and jargon.


Career Options with an ACCA Qualification

Completing an ACCA qualification will allow you to pursue various job opportunities in the accounting and finance sectors.

  • Auditor
  • Business Analyst
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Credit Analyst
  • Investment Banker
  • Financial Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Fund Manager
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Research Analyst
  • Tax Consultant

Where Can You Study ACCA in Malaysia?

Here are some of the most popular universities for ACCA in Malaysia.

Quick Facts

Campus: Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan & Jul
Estimated Fees for CAT: RM16,634
Estimated Fees for ACCA: RM24,150
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Generous scholarships, including 100% tuition fee waiver
Gold-status learning partner of ACCA
Dedicated CAT-ACCA club to help students build interpersonal skills

View other colleges

Quick Facts

Campus: Damansara Jaya
Intakes: Jan & Jul
Estimated Fees for CAT: RM15,960
Estimated Fees for ACCA: RM28,861
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Passing rates of 30% above the world average


HELP College of Arts and Technology


Quick Facts

Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan & Jul
Estimated Fees for ACCA: RM31,800
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver

Key Highlights

Strong support for employment opportunities upon graduation
HELP has successfully produced world top scholars for CAT & ACCA
Small class sizes to encourage active participation for effective learning

Where else can you study ACCA in Malaysia? Check out our comprehensive comparison table for ACCA programes! You can also compare institutions for Accounting diplomas and Foundation in Business.

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