If you’ve never ridden a bike before, it would be a waste of time and money and a confidence killer to get the latest, top-end racer, just like the pros on the Tour de France, only to find out that you fall off as soon as you get on. Same with ACCA. You will learn more effectively and efficiently if you choose the course that matches your knowledge level.
Your first bike: ACCA foundation level
The Foundation level is like getting your very first bike – do you remember – really exciting and a little bit scary, because you’ve never ridden one before. Luckily you’ve got stabilisers so you can’t fall off, but it still lets you learn the basics and get a feeling for balance and steering.
ACCA Foundation level is for the beginner. It’s for those with no relevant qualifications and provides an exceptional introduction to the finance profession.
The entire Foundation level consists of four awards. If you complete the Diploma in Accounting and Business you receive exemptions from the first three papers of the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification– the next step.
This is when your stabilisers come off and you start thinking about an upgrade, perhaps a BMX, with stunt pegs. Now it’s time for the ACCA Fundamentals level – when it starts to get a little faster and a little more adventurous.
Getting noticed: Fundamentals level
Now things get interesting! The stabilisers are off, you can start to explore. You’ve got a new bike, shinier, more technical, with a jazzier design, people down the park start to notice you admiring your skills and word gets around about the kid with the cool new bike who can do jumps and tricks. But things get a little bit harder too; doing stunts means there’s more chance to hurt yourself. But you learn to get up after a fall, dust yourself off and give it another try; you start to develop and progress, grow fearless and independent.
The ACCA Fundamentals level is for those who know they want to progress in finance and to develop the essential financial and management accounting techniques required by business. Start at this level if you already have some basic skills and experience. You might not need to do all nine papers, as certain experience or previous relevant qualifications can mean you get exemptions. Once you’ve completed this level, you can also apply for a BSc (Hons) Degree Applied Accounting – so you don’t necessarily need to go to university to get a degree.
Employers are starting to take more interest in you and you can apply for more senior roles. Now it’s time for the big leagues! You’ve been getting some attention from professionals, they want you on their team – time for the serious training.
The head of the pack: Professional level
It’s time to invest in a custom-made racer, the Rolls Royce of cycles, plus all the equipment – cycling shoes, on-board computer – everything you need to be a pro racer. You start training and racing with others who are pretty good too, you’re no longer just down the park doing tricks – it’s a higher level and you have to work hard to succeed. Also it’s not enough just to learn skills, you need to put in the hours of practice and attend races to progress and get noticed by judges.
You can also enter at this level if you have completed a relevant and fully accredited degree from a university recognised by ACCA – saving you time and money – as you will get exemption from all nine Fundamentals exams.
The ACCA Professional level is the gateway to ACCA membership and finance jobs globally. You sit five advanced exams designed to teach you specialities, along with an ethics module, essential to operate professionally. Furthermore, you’ll be expected to prove three years of relevant work experience before becoming a member and being allowed to use ACCA after your name.
Once you’ve got the ACCA letters after you name, you’re not just competing, you’re winning the race.
This article first appeared on the ACCA Potential e-zine. If you are still not a student with us, but want to keep in touch with us, do subscribe to our monthly ACCA Potential e-zine here.
To find our more about the ACCA Qualification, visit www.yourfuture.accaglobal.com