When I first started studying for ACCA in 2007, I was told that it's an internationally recognized qualification. But when I came to the US in 2008, I quickly realized that it's not as international as I thought because nobody here knew or heard about ACCA, and the only public accounting qualification accepted in the US is the US CPA. Well, we know how everything is different in the US right? Anyway, I finally completed all my exams for ACCA in 2011 and successfully secured a job in Malaysia with this qualification.
Ironically, as much as I hoped not to sit for any more exams, I transferred to the US and continued working in public accounting, so I had no choice but to take the CPA exam. =.= (Oh all the things i do for love & marriage...lol!!) Fortunately, the firm paid for everything (including Becker's study materials) so it wasn't that bad after all. But still, going through the entire application process and having to study for exams while working full time ain't no fun at all!
Even though I'm currently working in Alabama, I couldn't apply for the exam in state of Alabama because (1) US Citizenship is required and (2) postsecondary education has to be accredited by a regional accreditation board such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. Oh well, not very international-friendly but why am I not surprised. :P
The alternative route for me was to apply for the exam in the state of Georgia, which has the following (international-friendly) requirements:
- No US citizenship required.
- No residency requirement.
- Have earned a baccalaureate degree or higher with 20 semester hours in accounting subjects above the introductory level at a four-year accredited college or university that offers a baccalaureate degree as defined by the Board.
- Education requirements for international candidates: Must be met through academic coursework completed at an accredited institution. Professional training is not acceptable toward these requirements. Coursework completed as part of a Chartered Accountant program is considered professional training and is, therefore, not accepted toward the education requirements for the U.S. Uniform CPA License. (P.S. That means my ACCA qualification means absolutely nothing!)
- Applicants who obtained their education outside the United States must have their educational credentials evaluated by NASBA International Evaluation Services.
Just in case anyone (international accountant/auditor) happens to stumble upon this post, here's a timeline of all the
hassle process that I went through to apply for the CPA exam:
24 April 2015: Requested transcript from TARC (Total fee = RM 82.95)
6 May 2015: Requested transcript from SHU (Total fee = £58)
(P.S. Official academic transcripts must be sent directly from the university to NASBA)
8 May 2015: Submitted application for evaluation to NASBA International Evaluation Services
12 May 2015: SHU posted academic transcript to NASBA
19 May 2015: TARC posted academic transcript to NASBA
22 May 2015: NASBA received transcripts
29 May 2015: All documentations received by NASBA, ready for evaluation
20 June 2015: International education evaluation complete. Evaluation report sent to the accounting board. (I actually completed a total of 166 semester hours: Diploma = 91 hrs; Advanced Diploma = 60 hrs; Degree = 15 hrs)
15 July 2015: Submitted application for CPA exam
July & Aug 2015: Studied for FAR. Traveled for work to Tampa for 3 weeks in August.
Exam date: 29 Aug 2015
Result date (Pass): 10 Sept 2015
Oct & Nov 2015: Studied for REG.
Exam date: 25 Nov 2015
Result date (Pass): 9 Dec 2015
March & Apr 2016: Studied for AUD. Traveled for work to Dallas for 5 weeks in March.
Exam date: 4 April 2016
Result date (Pass): 5 May 2016
May & June 2016: Studied for BEC. Traveled for work to Dallas for 4 weeks in May.
Exam date: 8 June 2016
Result date (Pass): 21 June 2016
21 June 2016: D.O.N.E!! After one year of lifeless life of work & study, so glad to finally complete all 4 exams without failing!! Now that I've completed both ACCA and US CPA, I guess I'm officially 'international'? Hahaha!
Now that I've passed the exam (not officially a CPA yet coz I still have to apply for the license), here are my few personal thoughts:
- Personally, I think it's easier to pass CPA than ACCA.
- Even though CPA is primarily multiple choice, it's not as easy as it seems because you have to pretty much know every area.
- I study better when I'm traveling (especially during flight time when I have no internet), as evidenced from my scores. Scored lowest for REG when I wasn't traveling...haha!
- I need music to study. Oh on a side note, thanks to Bigbang's MADE album and all their old songs for keeping me entertained throughout this one year of boring study life. =)