CPA USA is a course provided by AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) a professional body formed in 1887. AICPA is an accounting body that fosters the largest number of members around the world, around more than 6,65,000. ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountant) is an UK based professional organization formed in 1904. The qualification goes by the same name.
With regards to the enrollment eligibility, the ease of entering is higher for ACCA UK than CPA USA. Although candidates normally opt for the ACCA after their 12th grade, 10th grade students can also enroll via the FIA route, also known as Foundation in Accountancy. On the other hand, students who hold a B.com degree and are done with the 1st year of their M.Com is fit to enroll for CPA — equivalent to a 4-year graduation. As per the rules set by AICPA, you require 120 credit points to appear for the exam. Additionally, you would need 150 credit points to acquire a license. However, chartered accountants can directly admit oneself to the CPA course.
With respect to exams, CPA USA contains 4 exams with no exemptions, no matter what your prior qualifications are. ACCA includes 13 exams, and a student is supposed to appear for all 13 if he/she holds no exemptions. However, if one holds a B.Com degree, you can avail a minimum of 4 paper exemptions, a CA Intermediate qualified candidate can avail a minimum of 6 paper exemptions and a CA Final qualified student can avail up to 9 paper exemptions.
The papers in CPA are Financial Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, Regulation and Business Environment and Concepts. CPA follow US Accounting standards, normally known by the name US GAAP. ACCA has 3 levels — Knowledge Level (3 exams), Skill Level (6 exams) and Professional Level (4 exams). The accounting standards followed by ACCA is called IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). CPA exam windows are open throughout the year whereas ACCA consists of 4 exam windows — March, June, September, December.