From Aspiring Accountant to ACCA Professional: Navigating the Certification Journey

From Aspiring Accountant to ACCA Professional: Navigating the Certification Journey

Jun 10, 2024

The journey from an aspiring accountant to a certified ACCA professional is both challenging and rewarding. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification is recognized globally and opens doors to a myriad of career opportunities. However, achieving this prestigious certification requires dedication, strategic planning, and perseverance. In this blog post, we will explore the steps involved in becoming an ACCA professional, providing insights and tips to help you navigate this journey successfully.

Understanding the ACCA Qualification

The ACCA qualification is designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and values needed to excel in the world of accounting and finance. It consists of three key components:

  1. Exams: There are 13 exams divided into three levels – Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Strategic Professional. These exams cover various aspects of accounting, including financial management, taxation, audit and assurance, and more.
  2. Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM): This module helps you develop ethical decision-making and professional skills crucial for a successful career in accounting.
  3. Practical Experience Requirement (PER): You need to complete three years of relevant work experience, which can be gained before, during, or after passing the ACCA exams.

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an ACCA Professional

  1. Initial Preparation and Registration

The first step in your ACCA journey is to understand the qualification requirements and register with ACCA. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, which typically include having a high school diploma or equivalent. If you have a degree in accounting or related fields, you may be eligible for exemptions from some exams.

Tip: Visit the official ACCA website and explore the detailed requirements, registration process, and available exemptions.

  1. Creating a Study Plan

ACCA exams are demanding and require thorough preparation. Creating a study plan is crucial to manage your time effectively and cover all the syllabus topics. Break down your study schedule into manageable chunks, allocate time for each subject, and set realistic goals.

Tip: Utilize ACCA-approved study materials and online resources. Joining a study group or enrolling in a tuition provider can also enhance your preparation.

  1. Passing the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills Exams

The Applied Knowledge level consists of three exams: Business and Technology (BT), Management Accounting (MA), and Financial Accounting (FA). These exams lay the foundation for the subsequent levels. Once you pass these, you progress to the Applied Skills level, which includes six exams: Corporate and Business Law (LW), Performance Management (PM), Taxation (TX), Financial Reporting (FR), Audit and Assurance (AA), and Financial Management (FM).

Tip: Practice past exam papers and focus on understanding the underlying concepts rather than rote memorization.

  1. Completing the Strategic Professional Level

The Strategic Professional level consists of two essential exams: Strategic Business Leader (SBL) and Strategic Business Reporting (SBR). Additionally, you must choose two optional exams from Advanced Financial Management (AFM), Advanced Performance Management (APM), Advanced Taxation (ATX), and Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA).

Tip: The Strategic Professional level demands advanced analytical and critical thinking skills. Engage in case studies and real-world scenarios to hone these skills.

  1. Ethics and Professional Skills Module

Completing the Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM) is mandatory before or alongside the Strategic Professional exams. This module enhances your ethical decision-making abilities and professional skills.

Tip: Treat the EPSM with the same seriousness as the exams. The skills acquired here are invaluable for your professional growth.

  1. Gaining Practical Experience

The Practical Experience Requirement (PER) is an integral part of the ACCA qualification. You need to document three years of relevant work experience, demonstrating the application of your knowledge and skills in a professional setting.

Tip: Seek internships, part-time roles, or full-time positions in accounting and finance to gain the necessary experience. Network with professionals and leverage ACCA’s career services for opportunities.

Staying Motivated and Overcoming Challenges

The ACCA journey is rigorous, and staying motivated can be challenging. Here are some tips to keep you on track:

  • Set Clear Goals: Define your career aspirations and remind yourself of the benefits of becoming an ACCA professional.
  • Seek Support: Connect with fellow students, mentors, and professionals for guidance and encouragement.
  • Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle: Ensure you balance study with relaxation and physical activity to avoid burnout.


Becoming an ACCA professional is a significant achievement that requires commitment, hard work, and strategic planning. By understanding the qualification structure, creating a solid study plan, passing the exams, completing the EPSM, and gaining practical experience, you can navigate this journey successfully. Remember, each step you take brings you closer to a rewarding career in accounting and finance. Stay focused, stay motivated, and embrace the challenges along the way.

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