Choosing ACCA paper variants – UK or International?

ACCA students who are about to start the Strategic Professional level have a few key decisions to make around which papers you’ll sit. Firstly, you will need to choose two out of four optional papers. You can find our advice on how to choose here. If you choose to sit the SBR or AAA modules, your next decision will be whether to sit the UK or International paper variant of each exam.  In this article, we share our best advice on how to make that important decision.

Choosing ACCA paper variants – UK or International?

ACCA students who are about to start the Strategic Professional level have a few key decisions to make around which papers you’ll sit. Firstly, you will need to choose two out of four optional papers. You can find our advice on how to choose here. If you choose to sit the SBR or AAA modules, your next decision will be whether to sit the UK or International paper variant of each exam.  In this article, we share our best advice on how to make that important decision.

What’s the difference between UK and International?

The first thing to bear in mind is that the UK and International exams for SBR and AAA are very similar and are written from the same starting point. However, the UK exams have some additional content added to the syllabus which you’ll need to spend extra time studying.

For example, in the UK variant of SBR you’ll need to learn about UK GAAP as well as IFRS. In the UK variant of AAA, you will need to learn about insolvency plus some additional requirements relating to ethics and auditor’s reports. These topics will add an extra one to two days to your total study time. So, if it involves more work then why would you want to take the UK variant of these exams?

Why choose the UK paper variant?

If you wish to run your own practice or become an audit partner, you will need to apply for a UK practising certificate after you qualify. More information on this can be found on the ACCA website.

You can only obtain a practising certificate if you’ve passed the UK variant of both the SBR and AAA exam. You will also need to have previously passed the ACCA UK Tax and Law exams. There are further details on this on the ACCA website.

Making the best choice for your career

You may wish to seek advice from your employers but ultimately it is up to you based on your future career aspirations. If you do not see yourself running your own practice or working as an audit partner, then you should take the easier option and go for the international variant.

Do I need to decide on a paper variant before I book my course?

Whichever path you choose, the First Intuition study materials and courses cater for both variants. So, you can book your course as normal, even if you haven’t made the decision yet.

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