It is often said that one of the biggest career decisions professionals make takes place very early on when deciding which qualification to pursue after completing school or college.
With a lot of uncertainty in university and college admissions in Pakistan due to Coronavirus, one must not always just ‘wait and see’, especially when it comes to your own future. There are many options that are open for youngsters who’ve just completed their Matric/Inter or O/A level exams.
Typically, students wait for admission tests of different engineering and medical colleges in Pakistan. But this year, this wait can be really long and frustrating. Thanks to recent exam cancellation, almost everyone will be promoted to the next stage and there’s going to be an intense competition due to limited seats at those reputable universities.
But what if I tell you that you don’t really have to wait, and you can start building a successful, global career TODAY! – without waiting for ECAT/MCAT test. Yes, too good, but true!
Without going into unnecessary suspense, let me reveal this four-letter secret: A – C – C –A.
If you have not heard about ACCA, ACCA stands for the ‘Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ and it’s one of the world’s largest accountancy bodies developing highly sought-after professional accountants.
ACCA qualification promises an incredibly fulfilling and satisfying global career in business, accounting and finance. With ACCA, your career path can be massively diverse. From the fascinating world of Big4 consultancy firms to an enviable world of corporate sector, once you complete ACCA, you unlock a whole world of exciting, diverse and lucrative careers.
If you've strong problem-solving skills, an analytical mind and are good at managing money, discover all you need to know about becoming an ACCA-qualified professional accountant.
Tell me more about ACCA:
ACCA is a global body for professional accountants with presence in over 179 countries and territories. It was founded in 1904 and was granted UK Royal Charter in 1974. The ACCA graduates are called ACCA members. ACCA is the best career pathway to choose for individuals with big dreams and high ambitions. To attain ACCA membership, the candidate has to complete ACCA qualification exams, 3 years’ practical experience and an online module on ethics and professional skills. A person can start his/her ACCA journey as early as after O/A level or Matric/Intermediate in Pakistan.
What is ACCA Journey?
The ACCA journey is designed in such a way that even if you start after matriculation in Pakistan, in addition to globally recognized ACCA qualification, you get an opportunity to simultaneously earn intermediate from ‘The Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC)’ Pakistan, a BSc from a renowned UK public university ‘Oxford Brookes’, an MSc from UK’s top ranking ‘University of London’, as well as gain Master’s degree equivalence from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan.
Not just that, in addition to such an impressive academic recognition, by the time you will become an ACCA member, you will already have 3 years of work experience so you can simply jumpstart your career and enjoy a rewarding international career anywhere in the world – thanks to ACCA’s incredible global presence and repute. As per the recent statistics available online, around 50 percent of the graduates who study ACCA in Pakistan emigrate to countries like the U.S., the U.K, Canada, the Middle East and Australia due to massive international demand for ACCA-qualified professionals across the world.
Any ACCA success stories?
Currently ACCA has over 219,000 members globally, who work for top employers in different satisfying roles in various industries and sectors.
Based on my quick research on LinkedIn, it’s very clear that ACCA members are doing great in Pakistan. They are working for top brands and serving at senior roles, both in private and public sector. For example, the Chief Financial Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Asad Ali-Shariff is an ACCA member. Telenor’s Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Sardar Abubakr has also studied ACCA. The CEO of U-Microfinance Bank, Kabeer Naqvi has also built his impressive career by unlocking the power of ACCA qualification.
ACCA qualification is a great option for those who’re interested to emigrate or work in foreign countries - ACCA is recognized globally and its members are among the world’s best-qualified and most highly sought-after professional accountants - and they work in every sector you can imagine. Just go on LinkedIn and you will find ACCA members working at world’s most desirable companies.
Since accountancy is among the recession-proof professions, so even if the world economy is going down, demand for qualified accountants will remain high as more companies need help with financial planning, sustainability and forecasting.
How to get started with ACCA?
It’s very flexible to study ACCA and a candidate can take admission in any of the approved learning partners that are present in all major cities in Pakistan or simply start as a self-study student using ACCA’s approved content and online study resources.
Due to Covid-19, almost all ACCA’s approved tuition providers are enrolling students online are delivering virtual classes. Just search ACCA in Pakistan and you will get information about different institutes teaching ACCA, my Google search resulted in info on SKANS Lahore, TMUC Islamabad, Tabani’s Karachi, LGS Gujrat, SBM Abbottabad, PAC Peshawar, Al-hamd Hyderabad, etc. So there are institutes almost in all major cities.
Who can study ACCA?
ACCA wants to open access to its world-class qualification for people of all backgrounds and nationalities. So it’s built its own Foundation program to prepare individuals for ACCA qualification. So even if you have just done matric, you can still start ACCA. But not everyone has to complete this Foundation Diploma which roughly takes around 10 months to complete. There are multiple entry points to start ACCA journey – Students can begin as early as after O-level or Inter/ A-level. Graduates from top universities in Pakistan with majors in accounting and finance can apply for certain paper exemptions from the ACCA qualification and fast-track their journey.
ACCA also has embedded programmes at top-tier business schools such as LUMS, NUST and IBA – So students can purse ACCA qualification and a degree programme at the same time studying the same course.
Studying ACCA is much more affordable if you compare it with any good private local university. LUMS, IBA, Iqra, Aga Khan, IoBM, GIK, NUST, Bahria, etc. are so much expensive compared to ACCA.
And it’s simply so very affordable if you compare it with an option of going abroad to study at a foreign university. Since not many parents will be comfortable sending their kids to foreign universities due to Coronavirus, I think it’s a great option to complete a world-class qualification in your home country for a fraction of the cost!
Earn while you learn:
Another great thing about ACCA qualification is that you don’t have to wait for 4 or 6 years to actually start your career. ACCA students can start gaining work experience while they’re still studying for exams. ACCA has a vast employer network in Pakistan (almost all major brands), that train and recruit ACCA students so they can gain 3 years’ work experience to become eligible for ACCA membership.
How long does it take?
The best thing about ACCA is that it’s a professional qualification and does not waste students’ time unnecessarily like traditional academic degrees. So if you start after matric, you can complete the Foundation Diploma in less than 10 months. Students with Inter Commerce are required to sit less number of papers in Foundation Diploma. Then you’re shifted to the main ACCA qualification which has 13 exams. After Foundation Diploma, you also get 3 exemptions meaning you will only have to complete 10 exams of the ACCA qualification.
O/A Level grads don’t have to complete Foundation Diploma and they can start ACCA directly. The requirement is to have 3 passes in O level (A to C grades) and 2 passes in A level (A to E grades) - but they need to have studied Math and English in O/A levels.
On average it takes less than 2 years to complete all ACCA exams. You can start gaining mandatory 3 years’ work experience from Day 01 of your qualification. So on average, you will be an ACCA member in let’s say 4-6 years after matric (depending on your pace). Not to forget that you will have 3 years’ work experience at the time of becoming a member – so no problem with those crazy job ads seeking work experience from fresh grads J
Is it hard to pass ACCA?
I know there are many other great reasons for recent Matric/Inter graduates to study ACCA but some of you must be thinking ‘buhat mushkil hoga!’. So I did a little research and to your surprise, no doubt it’s a really credible qualification of international repute, still it’s really achievable to complete ACCA. Many position holders in ACCA’s global exams are actually from Pakistan, and most of them have Matric/Inter background and are not just from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Even if you see latest list of ACCA’s place winners, you will see position holders from cities like Peshawar, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Abbottabad, etc. Many didn’t even have a background of commerce or Mathematics!
What’s that ‘Think Ahead’ on ACCA’s logo?
One thing that baffled me during my research into ACCA was its brand tagline ‘Think Ahead’. So I read up on its origin and came to know that this tagline reflects ACCA’s forward-thinking and future-focused policies and vision. Also, ACCA members are trained to think and stay ahead – they are the strategic-thinking business professional our fast-changing world needs with in-demand skills of a digital world. So the tagline ‘Think Ahead’ perfectly makes sense!
Best of luck!
I hope this article will help you decide and you will make your parents and country proud by building an impressive career with ACCA.