“Why do you need ACCA? An accounting degree is enough.”
“You can’t study ACCA if you didn’t take Accounting for SPM.”
“Are you sure you want to take ACCA? It’s so hard!”
If you’ve ever voiced your intention of pursuing ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or its foundation programme, the CAT (Certified Accounting Technician), you might have heard at least one of the statements above.
But is there any truth to them?
To help you decide on your future without being led astray, we’re debunking the most common myths about ACCA and CAT. Read on to discover the truth!
Myth #1: You can only be an accountant with ACCA
While most people think their future career options will be restricted to being an accountant for the rest of their lives if they take up ACCA, it’s a big misconception that’s far from the truth.
Having an ACCA qualification gives you the freedom to pursue any career and passion you want! In fact, studying the course will equip you with transferable skills that can prove useful in other industries, such as sales/account manager for accounting software or business consultant.
In fact, the expansive financial knowledge you gain grants you the versatility to climb the ladder from junior accountant to financial controller (and even Chief Financial Officer!) with ease. You can even toss your hat into the entrepreneurial ring and enjoy success in a start-up.
Myth #2: You can’t study ACCA if you didn’t take Accounting for SPM
You may have been told that you can kiss your ACCA dreams goodbye if you were a science stream student in secondary school. After all, how can you possibly pursue ACCA if you didn’t take the Principles of Accounting paper for SPM?
Surprisingly enough, you can!
ACCA offers the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT), a foundation-level qualification that will turn you from zero to accounting hero as you pick up financial and management accounting knowledge. Once you’ve completed the CAT, you can move on to ACCA, which is where you’ll develop your skills and knowledge even further to be an accounting ninja.
Myth #3: ACCA only teaches you to be an accounting whizz and nothing else
With all the accounting terminology hurled at you in ACCA, it’s hard to think how your accounting know-how can be applied elsewhere.
The truth is, it can!
More than just accounting, ACCA also arms you with practical business skills where you’ll be given real-world scenarios to tackle. In fact, other professionals such as lawyers and business owners also take up ACCA as the financial knowledge they glean will be useful in their work.
In addition, an accountant’s role is no longer shackled to the number cruncher of the past, as today’s accountant requires professional skills beyond the realm of numbers. ACCA nurtures key professional behaviours throughout the programme, such as acting ethically and legally, being a problem solver and being bold to challenge and influence others.
Myth #4: ACCA is really hard
Well… yes, and no.
While its notoriety precedes it, the ACCA course material — while not easy — isn’t too tough a nut to crack. ACCA is application-based, which means you have to learn concepts and then apply them to real-life scenarios. Where people may stumble is by relying on pure memorisation to get through the exams, which may not work well.
As with all things worth doing, you’ll need to put in the time and commitment. This is where ACCA shines as it is extremely flexible. Choose between part-time or full-time study, or even self-study. You can also take more or fewer papers each time, and choose from one of ACCA’s many learning partners.
Myth #5: ACCA isn’t that useful in the workforce; an accounting degree is enough
“Pfft, why do I need ACCA if I’m going to pursue an accounting degree?” you might say.
Well, we’ve got news for you. Many large accounting firms, especially the Big Four (Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)), urge their employees to pursue professional accounting qualifications like ACCA. In fact, some may even subsidise your ACCA fees and give you time off to study. Additionally, promotions and salary increments may be influenced by whether or not you have a professional accounting qualification.
The reason for this is because having the ACCA qualification under your belt shows that you’ve got the right professional and technical knowledge. So, while a Degree in Accounting, Business or Economics is okay, an ACCA qualification will give you the extra edge you need, especially if you’ve set your sights on senior management positions.
And there you have it — the 5 major myths about CAT and ACCA which may be stopping you from having a successful career. Now that we’ve smoothly debunked them, you can confidently pursue these qualifications and be on your way to become a chartered accountant!