ACCA vs. MBA, Which is Better For Your Career?

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ACCA vs. MBA, Which is Better For Your Career?


Nowadays, working professionals in accounting & finance fields and commerce background students often get confused about which path (certification) to follow when it comes to the “ACCA vs. MBA” debate. 

The confusion between the ACCA and MBA is quite common, as both are considered the most financially rewarding titles. On one side, the ACCA certification will provide you with a more specialized skill set as an accountant. On the other hand, there is the Master of Business Administration (MBA), which provides you with a broader skill set to handle each aspect of a business.

Choosing one of the two can have a profound impact on your career. Thus, you must carefully analyze both options and decide which is better for your career goals, ACCA vs. MBA.

If you are confused and cannot differentiate between the two programs, ACCA vs. MBA, Here is a detailed guide to help you understand the primary difference between the ACCA vs. MBA and decide which is better for you to pursue.

Let’s first shed some light on the basic introduction of each course –

What is ACCA?

The ACCA is one of the most prestigious accountancy qualifications in the world. A UK-based professional accounting body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or ACCA, offers this certification of the same name. It was founded in 1904 and helped many aspiring finance professionals build a career in accountancy.

The ACCA certification provides candidates with all the skills, knowledge, and values to have a successful career in accountancy. This certification program primarily focused on accountancy, taxation, and auditing.

The entire program can continue for over three years, and it’s a maximum of 13 exams covering various aspects of accountancy.

Why Should I Prefer ACCA Course?

You should prefer pursuing the ACCA course for the reasons below – 

  1. International Recognition – The ACCA qualification is regarded and demanded by international firms. It means that you can work in nearly any part of the world after you pass the ACCA exams and get certified.
  2. Learn International Standard – The ACCA Qualification is the world-leading accountancy qualification for aspiring financial professionals. It helps the student to learn international accounting and auditing standards. You can work as an accountant in any country where these accountancy standards are acceptable. It is called global CA for a reason.
  3. Flexible – The ACCA certification course is quite flexible. After your registration, you have ten years to pass all the exams. So, if you do not want to clear exams in one go, you can skip and appear for some exams next time.
  4. Better Job Prospects – As an ACCA-certified professional, you can access many impactful job opportunities. ACCA body has partnered with many employers from all around the world to offer better job opportunities to the members and students of ACCA.
Acca Course Cta

What is an MBA?

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular postgraduate degrees offered by various govt and private business schools. Usually, an MBA program is a two-year course, but if you are an experienced professional, you can do it as a one-year course.

The MBA program prepares the candidates for a broader business world. It offers you vast accounting, marketing, finance, and human resources knowledge. The full-time MBA course also provides a holistic environment for students to develop vital soft skills and leadership skills.

Why Should I Prefer an MBA Course?

Although getting into a reputed business school and then going through the rigorous MBA course can be taxing, it is also worth the effort. You should prefer pursuing the ACCA course for the reasons written below – 

  1. Business knowledge – One of the reasons why the MBA program is so popular is that people want to start or grow their businesses. The MBA program is designed to teach you every aspect of starting and managing a business. You will have enough knowledge to start your own company at the end of the MBA program.
  2. Network – An MBA course provides you with excellent networking opportunities. You also gain access to the extensive alumni network. These connections will provide you with an excellent overview of the business world.
  3. Vast job-ready knowledge – The MBA course provides you with the required skills and expertise to handle all the various aspects of a general business setup. Thus, making you industry ready for any job in the business world.

ACCA vs. MBA: Which one to choose?

Which one to pursue, ACCA vs. MBA? The better qualification for you may not be the best option for everyone else. One certification is not better than the other. Therefore, you must analyze both programs and decide which will work best for you.

Here are some key points to end the “ACCA vs. MBA” debate –

1) The ACCA course will help you get a job in the accounting domain, while an MBA course from a top business school will help you reach managerial positions in any business firm. So, if you are a number cruncher and prefer the accounting department, then ACCA is the way to go, while MBA is better if you want to grab a managerial position.

2) Time is also a crucial factor while pursuing any course. The course duration of both programs is different, and eligibility criteria also differ greatly. You can start the ACCA course right after your 12th standard exams, while you need to complete your bachelor’s degree to start the MBA course. Thus, you must understand your position and invest your time wisely.

3) To complete the ACCA course, you must acquire up to three years of work experience. However, no such work requirement is mandatory for clearing the MBA program. You can choose whichever works best for you.

ACCA vs. MBA – Differences Table

Particulars ACCA MBA
Definition ACCA is an international accountancy qualification for students who wish to practice accountancy. The MBA program is a postgraduate degree that offers a thorough understanding of business and management.
Organizing body The ACCA certification is offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Government-recognized business schools offer the MBA program to graduate students.
Duration of the whole course This course can be completed in 6 months to 2 years. The duration for the full-time MBA degree is two years.
Modus operandi The ACCA program provides specialized expertise in accountancy and finance. The MBA degree provides a holistic overview of the entire business world.
Cost The average cost for the whole ACCA course is around $4500. An MBA degree from a top business school can cost over $50,000.
Global Job opportunities Some of the job profiles available to an ACCA – AccountantFinance ManagerTaxation ManagerInternal Auditor Financial Consultant. Some of the global job profiles you can acquire after MBA – Financial PlannerInvestment BankerInsurance SpecialistFinancial ManagerCommercial Banker.
Exams The ACCA course can have up to 13 exams depending on the previous qualification. Most institutes divide the course into semesters (4 semesters). While the other uses a trimester format for MBA exams (6 exam levels).
Salary The starting salary for an ACCA professional hovers around 8-15 lakh per annum. However, it can quickly grow with some experience. The salary for an MBA graduate varies quite a lot, depending on the institute from where you completed the MBA course. However, you can earn an average of 4-10 lakhs per annum as a fresher.
Flexibility ACCA is quite flexible for both undergraduate students and working finance professionals. You get ten years to complete the ACCA course, along with gaining experience. ACCA also has a low entry barrier; you can pursue it after your 10th with the Foundation in Accountancy (FIA) course. The MBA programs are usually rigid in nature. You have to complete the whole program generally in 2 years, making it tough for working professionals.
Sense of Pride and Accomplishment The ACCA provides you with a sense of accomplishment as you get to be a part of the elite group of accountants. The MBA degree also provides you with a sense of achievement. However, it is highly dependent on the college you choose to do your MBA.


1:- Is it good to do ACCA after MBA?

Answer: Yes, it is great to have both the ACCA and MBA qualifications. Combining both courses creates a unique ability to manage people and various business organizations worldwide. In addition, acquiring ACCA and MBA may give you the needed edge over other candidates to grab your dream job.

The MBA degree will also make your journey through the ACCA program much easier. You will get exemptions from many papers in the ACCA program.

2:- Can I do ACCA and MBA together?

Answer: Yes, you can. However, it is not an easy task. You have to put in a tremendous amount of hard work to do both qualifications together. 

However, this hard work is well worth the effort. An MBA combined with professional ACCA credentials will push you towards a rewarding senior management role with a firm grip on accountancy skills and leadership expertise.

3:- Is ACCA better than a master’s in accounting?

Answer: The ACCA qualification is the quickest possible way to start a career in finance and accountancy. You can start the ACCA certification program right after your 12th standard exams, while you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree for the Master’s in accountancy. Also, the fees for completing the ACCA course are much lower than the cost of pursuing an MBA in accountancy from any reputed business school. However, the Master’s degree provides you with a much wider range of opportunities. Still, it is a heated debate about which one is better to pursue; ACCA vs. MBA.

4:- Is ACCA better than BBA?

Answer: Although the career option with the BBA degree is great, it is still better to pursue the ACCA certification. The ACCA certification is a well-reputed qualification that is recognized across 150+ countries, and it also offers more high-paying career options globally.

5:- Is ACCA tougher than MBA?

Answer: Commerce students usually puzzle themselves with questions such as ACCA vs. MBA. So, here’s a brief.

ACCA is surely not easy, for sure. It is a professional accounting certification; it is not meant to be easy. But, it is not that difficult to pass the ACCA exams. The ACCA course might not seem difficult at all if you are motivated. However, many candidates fail to pass the ACCA qualification. More than half of the candidates cannot complete the ACCA course without failing.

On the other hand, most candidates who join the MBA program can pass it. However, if you want to attend top business schools, you must pass the extremely difficult entrance exams.

6:- Which field of ACCA is best?

Answer: The ACCA qualification is best known for providing candidates with a specialization in accountancy and related subjects. As an ACCA, you become an expert in accounting, tax consulting, auditing, treasury management, and business valuations.

7:- Is ACCA higher than a master’s degree?

Answer: This question has puzzled many aspiring finance professionals. Let’s try to briefly get an answer to this question.

The ACCA qualification is considered to be equivalent to a master’s degree in some countries like the United Kingdom. The ACCA program also provides you with a deeper knowledge of the world of accounting than the Master’s degree. You can also get a high-paying job after completing the ACCA certification course. However, it is also quite an intense and tough course to complete. In short, there is no direct hierarchy between the ACCA vs. MBA programs; still, the ACCA program seems a tad better.

8:- Which is harder, ACCA or degree?

Answer: Which is harder to complete, ACCA vs. MBA degree? Generally, the ACCA course is considered harder than the degree. More than half of the students who enroll for the ACCA certification fail to ace the ACCA exams, while most of the students who join the MBA program pass the MBA course without much difficulty. However, if you want to join some top business schools, you may have to clear some extremely tough entrance exams, which more than half cannot complete. 

9:- Can I get a job directly after ACCA?

Answer: You can get a job after completing your ACCA certification program. The ACCA program provides you with end-to-end knowledge of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), which is useful worldwide. That’s also why you can easily get multiple job opportunities across various fields, not only in India but worldwide, directly after completing the ACCA course.


Both ACCA and MBA credentials have their pros and cons. You must decide which certification (ACCA vs. MBA) is better for your future career goals. 

Hopefully, our little guide on ACCA vs. MBA has helped you decide which one to pursue. If you want personalized guidance on the ACCA certification course, contact us at NorthStar Academy.

If you are someone who wants to pursue the ACCA, then it is highly recommended to join our ACCA prep course. The ACCA certification is not easy to crack and requires proper dedication and hard work from the candidates. However, with proper guidance and support from the top mentors, such as Mr. M Irfat, well-organized study material from BP Learning Media, mock exams, frequent doubt-clearing sessions, and a flexible study schedule in the NSA’s ACCA certification course, you can easily grab your desired professional qualification.

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