Busting Myths About ACCA

Is ACCA difficult to pass? Will you lose out on work-life balance? We address these common misunderstandings here.

Do you know what it takes to be a future accountant? Find out during Taylor’s International Accounting Day Fest 2022 here.

If you’ve stumbled upon this page, chances are you’re curious about pursuing the prestigious and sought-after programme, ACCA which stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

That said, the programme has garnered a reputation for itself and like any other programme, it’s tied with some pre-conceived notions that we’re here to debunk! 

We spoke to Ms Katharene Expedit, a senior lecturer from the School of Professional Studies at Taylor’s College, with years of experience in the field including the Big 4 under her belt, to clear the common misconceptions about ACCA and even the field of accounting itself.

Q: Some think that by pursuing ACCA, they'll have a limited pathway set for them. Are there other career options available besides being an accountant?


A: There are two main pathways to being a professional accountant. One is a degree pathway and the other is a professional pathway. 

So what happens after you complete your professional qualification, whether it’s via the degree or professional pathway:

You’ll need to meet the 36-month work requirement prior to obtaining full membership of any accountancy professional body. Here you’ll have to work in an organisation where you’re supervised by a qualified accountant.

Thereafter, you may decide to take on any employment with no restrictions. One has to remember that ACCA is a stepping stone into a new world of opportunity. You don’t have to work as an accountant only.

There are many other opportunities out there from which an ACCA graduate can pursue especially in the corporate field such as finance and business, management, and marketing. Take Tony Fernandes who has an accounting degree as an example. He’s ventured out of accounting and is a renowned entrepreneur. 

Q: As more people are concerned about work-life balance, there's a perception that being in accountancy meant that you’ll lead a monotonous lifestyle. Based on your experience being in the industry, is work-life balance difficult to achieve?



A: The term work-life-balance can be tricky. Work-life balance is how you make of it. To me, it’s subjective. Any given profession can be both stressful at times especially during a peak season and slightly more relaxed at other times.

And how busy you are also depends on your seniority in your field.  

At the end of the day, it’s really your choice. I know of a friend in the accounting field who leaves work at 5.30pm and hits the gym but, I also know some who don’t mind spending a few more hours and leave later.

If you have deadlines to be met, then you’ll have to get it done anyway — and that depends on your own time management. Yes, it can be stressful and challenging, but which profession isn’t?


Q: Some perceive ACCA as all about accounting and nothing else. What other useful skills or knowledge will students gain through ACCA? 


A: With ACCA being a professional accounting qualification, the focus is definitely on accounting and finance topics. However, at Taylor’s we like to do things differently. 

Last year, Taylor’s School of Professional Studies started an initiative to equip students with more soft skills that are useful in the workplace. As ACCA tends to be more focused in exams, we want to make sure that our students don’t miss out on the more social aspect as well.

So, we got our students to participate in various activities like becoming moderators in various talks and even organise events such as the Duckie Virtual Fun Run to get them out of their comfort zone. By encouraging our students to step out of the shell, they’ll definitely be more skilled and employable compared to others in the league. Seeing its success, we plan to continue with the initiative this year. 

Q: Many have said that ACCA is extremely tough and difficult to pass. What do you think about this?


A: ACCA is a reputable professional qualification that’s globally recognised. Hence, it can be challenging but certainly not impossible to pass. It requires focused commitment and good time management.

Q: Is it a must to pursue ACCA after their degree? Will missing out on ACCA affect their employability?


A: Unless you take a recognised accounting degree that’s entitled for exemptions, to be professionally qualified in Malaysia, you’d still need a professional accountancy qualification such as the ACCA which is recognised under the Accountants Act 1967.

I do think that students with the ACCA qualification stand a higher chance in employability as ACCA is known to be more challenging in nature and are trained to have the strategic thinking, technical skills, and professional values.

Q: Can students who studied science in high school pursue ACCA? Do they need Accounting in SPM as an entry requirement?



A: Certainly. This is common.

The entry requirements for ACCA Foundation in Accountancy and ACCA do not specify the requirement to have accounting in SPM or STPM.

You just need a pass in SPM or equivalent with a minimum of 5 credits including Mathematics and English.

For more ACCA entry requirements, refer here.

Q: How can one know if ACCA is suited for them? 


Speaking from experience, when you’re very sure you want to pursue an accounting career and you want one that is globally recognised. 

That said, as mentioned, you’re not confined to accounting only. In fact, there’s a lesser known option, where you can master in other fields should you decide to take a pause on accountancy after 2.5 years. You can do a Research & Analysis Project from which you’ll gain a BSC (Hons) in Applied Accounting by Oxford Brookes University. From there, you can pursue your masters degree in another field.

Q: What can students do to prepare themselves before taking up ACCA?



A: Getting into the programme by understanding what the programme offers and requires as well as the demands of the programme is important.

ACCA‘s website has all information required on the programme. Additionally, speaking to the academic team at Taylor’s would be extremely useful as we can share some insights about the programme.

We hope these Q&As have answered your queries and doubts about the programme. 

With that, remember to also carry out your own research and talk to someone before committing to a programme

Not sure about the difference between ACCA and a Degree in Accounting? Find out here. If you need more help, our friendly counsellors would be able to advise you here!

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