Studying ACCA: The UK vs Malaysia

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Acquiring the ACCA qualification is an increasingly popular educational pathway choice for Malaysian students, and there are a variety of reasons why. ACCA pathways lead to the accountancy profession, which lead to some of the highest starting salaries for graduates. But first of all – what exactly is the ACCA?


What is ACCA?

ACCA is an acronym for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and exists as the global body for professional accountants, providing services through a network of 95 offices and centres. The global scope of the ACCA is also reflected in its members in over 173 countries. The ACCA aims to offer internationally business-relevant, first choice qualifications to people who wish to establish a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. As a first-class accounting qualification, it is naturally the popular option for those who are seeking a career in accountancy or management. However, it is important to note that while the ACCA is an accounting qualification, it is not a degree.

The ACCA consists of 14 papers. Students will also need to record 36 months of experience in a relevant role, in addition to a Professional Ethics module. See below for more details:

ACCA structure (composed of Fundamentals and Professional modules)

Fundamentals module (9 papers in total)

• Knowledge module

F1 Accountant in Business

F2 Management Accounting

F3 Financial Accounting

• Skills module

F4 Corporate and Business Law

F5 Performance Management

F6 Taxation

F7 Financial Reporting

F8 Audit and Assurance

F9 Financial Management

Professional module (5 papers in total)

• Essentials

P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics

P2 Corporate Reporting

P3 Business Analysis

Options (two to be completed)

P4 Advanced Financial Management

P5 Advanced Performance Management

P6 Advanced Taxation

P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance

Work experience

• Need to undergo three years of relevant work experience and achieve 13 of the performance objectives.


Key selling points of the ACCA

The ACCA is an extremely flexible qualification. Examinations are held twice a year in June and December, and the ACCA gives the freedom to complete the ACCA Qualification in 10 years from the date of registration. Plenty of their papers also offer exemptions for students who have studied at degree level as well, which means students who have studied a BSc Accountancy or equivalent degree can apply to be exempt from a number of ACCA fundamental papers. Once students have completed all the objectives listed above, the student will have acquired their ACCA qualification.

Find more information on the official ACCA website located here. A list of Universities that can offer students with 7 or more exemptions from the ACCA Foundation paper can be found here.


Studying in Malaysia vs Studying in UK

Given the popularity of the UK as a potential destination for Malaysian students, what are the major selling points of studying ACCA in the UK, as opposed to domestically (in Malaysia)? In Malaysia, there is a fast-track option for students to study the ACCA within 3 years. It is cost-effective and the fastest route to acquiring the ACCA qualification, and involves diving straight into the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification and ACCA after studying SPM/O-Level. For those who wish to acquire their ACCA qualification as soon as possible, with the potential to start their career at the early age of 20/21, then this fast-track method would be very attractive indeed.


Studying in the UK has been proven to be a great, life-changing experience

• Studying in the UK offers an enriched, unforgettable experience for students. UK research is "world-leading" and "internationally excellent", according to the Research Assessment Framework. Student satisfaction in the UK is also at its highest, with 86% of students are satisfied overall with their course (Source). International students have the benefits of enjoying a world-leading education system while immersing themselves with the culture and lifestyle of one of the most historically significant European countries on the planet.

For international students, a UK degree promises excellent salary prospects

• UK degree education also promises a competitive salary, according to the Tracking International Graduate Outcomes study (BIS, 2011), UK educated international graduates achieve higher average salaries than if they had been educated at home. This is a remarkable statistic that should ultimately encourage the most ambitious graduates to choose UK as their next study destination!

UK universities have industry-leading collaborations and internship opportunities

• UK education focuses on practical application and work experience, meaning a vast range of degree programs have work placement opportunities, year-in-industry options, and more. Employers especially recognise and acknowledge this. According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15, over two thirds of businesses in the UK have university links, with over a third partnering with universities for research and innovation (CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2014). Work experience during university also counts towards the professional placement ACCA requirement, which is an added bonus!

The Bachelor degree has become a staple for ambitious job-seekers

• Acquiring a Bachelor degree is widely regarded as a staple to achieving your brightest career goals. This means that even after studying an ACCA, students may find that their experiences and job prospects may not equal the opposing student who studied abroad, acquired a degree and built up their CV. A Bachelor degree ultimately gives students a necessary edge in the job market.

A degree program that offers both the ACCA and UK educational experience?

• Oxford Brookes' ACCA degree program (BSc Applied Accounting) offers to solve the dilemma by combining the opportunity to study abroad in the UK, with ACCA exemptions and a final degree classification award. The program at Oxford Brookes was developed in conjunction with the ACCA, and specifically aimed at the students who wish to obtain a degree while studying their ACCA. The combination of the ACCA and a degree level certification is powerful, increasing career prospects and also making students stand out. As stated on the website, the collaboration offers ACCA students the opportunity to gain a further prestigious award, achievement recognition within professional development, in addition to a firmer foundation to further professional development.


In summary, there are a vast range of factors to consider whilst making the all-important decision of whether or not to study in the UK. Given the current nature of the global job market, international exposure and education is increasingly becoming an essential pre-requisite for the best career opportunities. And with the availability of ACCA accredited degree programs at Oxford Brookes that also offer a degree level education, studying ACCA in the UK will certainly turn out to be a worthy investment.

Whatever your decision may be, just bear in mind that there is a bursary worth £300 for every student who successfully enrolls to a course via our website because helping students' realise their ambitions is what we do. In the meantime, we want to hear your thoughts so give us a shoutout on Facebook and Instagram!