Before going into detail about the different qualifications it is worth mentioning the difference between financial and management accounting.
Financial Accounting can be defined as “The reporting of the financial position and performance of a firm through financial statements issued to external users on a periodic basis”.
Management Accounting can be defined as “The process of identifying, measuring, analysing, interpreting and correcting information for the pursuit of an organisation’s goals”.
The key difference between financial and management accounting is that the financial accounting is aimed at providing information to parties outside the organisation, whereas management accounting information is aimed at helping managers within the organisation make decisions.
ACA – Association Chartered Accountant
Usually for students working in Practice (ie. with a firm of Accountants). Financial Accounting Qualification. Open to Graduates or those with AAT. For more information look at www.icaew.co.uk
ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Can be studies while working in Practice or Industry. Combination of Financial and Management Accounting. Open to students with 2 ‘A’ Levels or AAT. For more information look at www.accaglobal.com
CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Usually for students working in Industry/Commerce. Management Accounting Qualification. Open to students with 2 ‘A’ Levels of AAT. For more information look at www.cimaglobal.com
AAT – Association of Accounting Technicians
For students in Industry or Practice. Gives exemptions from some of ACCA/CIMA. Varied accountancy qualification with no minimum entry requirements. For more information look at www.aat.org.uk
CIPFA – Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
For students working in the public sector. For more information look at www.cipfa.org.uk
ATT – Association of Taxation Technicians
Specialist Taxation Qualification. For more information look at www.att.org.uk