The ICAEW CFAB (Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business) and ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) are both qualifications offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). ICAEW CFAB is the same syllabus content as the first six modules of our world-leading chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA. You can study ICAEW CFAB as a stand-alone qualification or as a possible stepping stone to the ACA qualification.

Let’s look at studying ICAEW CFAB as a stand-alone qualification or as a possible stepping stone to the ACA qualification.

Level of Qualification:

CFAB: CFAB is an entry-level qualification that provides a foundational understanding of finance, accounting, and business principles. It is designed for individuals who want to gain essential knowledge in these areas but may not necessarily pursue a full chartered accountancy career.

ACA: ACA is an advanced professional qualification that leads to the title of “Chartered Accountant.” It is a comprehensive and rigorous qualification that encompasses in-depth technical knowledge, practical experience, and professional ethics. ACA is suitable for individuals aiming to become chartered accountants and pursue senior roles in finance and accounting.


CFAB: Upon completing ICAEW CFAB and the work experience, you are awarded the BFP designation.

ACA: Upon completing ACA and the required accounting work, candidates will be eligible to become ICAEW Chartered Accountants.

Content and Focus:

CFAB: CFAB covers a broad range of fundamental topics in finance, accounting, and business. It provides a comprehensive understanding of key principles in these areas but does not delve into the same level of detail and complexity as the ACA.

ACA: The ACA qualification is comprehensive and detailed, covering advanced technical knowledge across various areas such as financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, audit, business strategy, and financial management. It integrates modular assessments with practical work experience, a professional development programme and ethics training.

Length and Complexity:

CFAB: CFAB is shorter in duration compared to the ACA. The CFAB modules can typically be completed within one to two years, depending on individual study pace and commitments.

ACA: The ACA qualification is more extensive and typically takes three to five years to complete, including practical work experience. It involves passing a series of exams, completing a structured training program, and meeting practical experience requirements.

Career Opportunities:

CFAB: CFAB can open doors to entry-level positions in finance, accounting, and related fields. It provides a solid foundation for roles such as trainee accountants, financial analysts, or entry-level finance positions.

ACA: ACA is a prestigious qualification that enhances career prospects and can lead to senior positions in finance, accounting, and business. Chartered accountants with ACA accreditation often pursue careers as auditors, financial controllers, finance directors, consultants, or even move into leadership roles within organizations.

The decision between CFAB and ACA depends on the individual’s career goals, level of commitment, and aspirations within the finance and accounting profession.

At Kaplan we offer CFAB training with a unique and affordable study option giving you flexibility to study at your own pace. The product is built to  help you cover the entire syllabus through  pre-recorded videos, focused study materials and tutor support through live questions solving sessions to help you hit the right milestones. Contact us  to study with Kaplan is the leading global publisher of financial and accounting study material for hundreds and thousands of students and business professionals around the world.