Exemptions aren’t the easy way out.

Over the last 2 months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet 17 (and even interview one for a job)students who were starting off with professional accounting exams. a few of them had already taken 1 or 2 papers, while the rest would be taking their first papers in December 2014. What was common to all of these students was that they had all received exemptions from some of the Fundamental Level papers.

10 of these ACCA students (who have exemptions) that I met had already sat for some ACCA papers, but only 2 of them had passed an exam since registering. Now, I’m not quite sure if this is peculiar to ACCA students in Nigeria, but I noticed, while interviewing an ACCA student (who was half-way through the fundamental level), that the candidate lacked basic accounting knowledge, which should be common to anyone who has studied through the introductory accounting exams.

An exemption is given on the basis that a student has knowledge of a paper, and is qualified to take a higher level paper. When an exemption is awarded, the ACCA assumes that a student’s knowledge of the paper on which an exemption is given is fresh, and as such the student has no difficulty progressing to the next stage. Students without prior knowledge of papers in which they have exemptions obviously will struggle with further exams.

I’m not advising against applying for exemptions – it is after all time saved (just time, not money, as each exemption is paid for). Rather, go back to the basics; buy Frank Wood/or other introductory accounting textbook/textbook on the subject, and work through past papers you have exemptions on.

Good luck to all of you receiving your results on Friday!

© countingonaccounting and Nuan Moji, 2013. The unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts & link may be used, if full & clear credit is given to Nuan Moji (blog owner), and countingonaccounting, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




3 thoughts on “Exemptions aren’t the easy way out.

  1. You are doing a good job here, thank you for taking out the time to address these issues. I am trying to apply for acca.
    But i can’t seem to get any accounting or accounting related jobs for someone without work experience,even though i studied banking and finance a related course.
    Do you have any suggestion on where i can get accounting jobs, even if it’s internship with low pay?

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      It can be a bit hard breaking into the industry without any prior experience. I don’t know what country you live in, but generally speaking, try volunteer organisations; you could also try approaching smaller accounting firms, who may be willing to take on graduates with good grades, but no prior accounting experience for a few months.
      Ultimately, I think your goal is to get a full-time accounting job, so do keep on applying for jobs that interest you. Look into re-writing your CV, highlighting those skills that are relevant to accounting job functions.

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