Article by Mark Abela, Malta Institute of Accountancy

Accountancy continues to be one of the most popular options for young people who are considering their career options. In Malta the accountancy profession can boast full employment.

There are various routes that an individual can take to become an accountant. In Malta the main qualifications are ACCA (offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants - ACCA), ACA (offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales - ICAEW) and the Masters in Accountancy. The former are UK qualifications that are offered in Malta by ACCA and ICAEW in collaboration with the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA), whilst the latter course is offered by the University of Malta (UoM). These qualifications are recognised by the Accountancy Board for registration as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in terms of Maltese law.

This article explains in some more detail, the International passports to an Accountancy qualification, ACCA and the ACA qualifications.


Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), is a globally recognised qualification. ACCA has over 110 years of experience, innovation and excellence. The association champions opportunity within accountancy, demonstrates excellence through their suite of qualifications, and acts as a driving force within the accounting profession to constantly improve working practices.

In order to become a qualified ACCA member, a student must complete:

  • The professional level of exams
  • The ethical requirements as outlined by ACCA   
  • Three years practical, relevant work experience.

Throughout this Qualification, there is a strong focus on professional values, ethics and governance. This is essential because the profession has a central role in protecting the public interest and delivering public value. As a global organisation, ACCA is ideally placed to advise and support the profession, and influence governments, regulators and employers to act in the public interest.


On the other hand, studying ACA will allow the student to become a Chartered Accountant. The ICAEW chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA, is one of the most advanced learning and professional development programmes available. The ACA has as four key components:

  • Professional development
  • Ethics and professional scepticism
  • Practical work experience
  • Accountancy, finance and business modules.

The integrated approach to ACA training means you will develop an in-depth understanding across accountancy, finance and business. Combined, they help build the technical knowledge, professional skills and practical experience needed to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

MIA - ACCA joint examination scheme 

For those ACCA and ACA graduates who are then interested in obtaining the local certificate to practice accountancy, the Institute would be their next port of call. The MIA - ACCA Joint Scheme was established in 1973 and brought about International recognition of the Institute's own qualification by virtue of which MIA graduates would be granted exemptions when pursuing ACCA studies overseas. MIA's relationship with ACCA was fully consolidated in 2003 through the ACCA-MIA Joint Examination Scheme agreement (JES) with which graduates obtained both ACCA and, subject to them sitting for the local variant papers, an MIA qualification. In 2013, ACA students started benefiting from this scheme in view of a multi-lateral agreement between MIA, ACCA and ICAEW.

The JES includes two main subjects, advanced Maltese tax and Maltese law that are required by the Accountancy Profession Act (CAP 281 of the Laws of Malta) before qualified individuals are given a certificate to practice the profession of accountant in Malta. Additionally if the individual wishes to register as an auditor, then he or she would need to pass the relevant audit and assurance papers.

These subjects are known to ACCA and ACA students as local variants because they tailor the ACCA and ACA qualifications to take into consideration our fiscal and legal requirements. Since these exams are required to become a registered accountant or auditor, it is vital that the standard remains high and consistent and that is why papers are reviewed on a regular basis. Not every ACCA and ACA graduate is required to sit for the local variants and as long as the individual does not hold himself out as a practising Accountant then he or she can still work as an Accountant in employment.

Malta can boast a better than global average for the majority of papers that are sat for by Maltese students. Both ACCA and ICAEW aim to make their Qualifications and its papers fair, balanced and relevant. Thousands of people around the world pass these expert papers every year, and progress to have successful careers as professional accountants.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.