Broad parameters of difference are as follows:
a) Pass Rate: CA pass rate is usually low i.e. between 5 to 10%, ACCA and CIMA Pass Rates are on an average between 50 to 60% and CFA pass rate is not fixed but top 40-45% students are able to pass in every attempt.
b) Focus: CA and ACCA are primarily Accounting Qualifications having more focus of Accounting, Taxation and Audit. CFA is a hard core Finance qualification, while CIMA is a qualification having equivalent focus on Accounting, Finance and Management. That is why CIMA is called as combination of CA and MBA – best of both the Worlds.
c) Duration: CA takes on an average 5-6 years, ACCA can take from 1-3 years depending upon exemptions, CFA takes around 2-3 years to complete 3 levels and CIMA takes 1.5 to 2.5 years to complete exams depending upon prior qualification.
d) Group System: Apart from CA, there is no group system anywhere in ACCA, CIMA or CFA.
e) Job Prospects: CA has immense job prospects in India, CIMA and ACCA job prospects are increasing because of KPOs in India. CFA job prospects are also good.
f) Value: In CA, we have value only after completing CA while in case of CIMA, ACCA and CFA, we have value after each level.
g) Costing: Costing for CA is around 3-4L, while for ACCA, it is around 1.9-4L depending upon exemptions. CFA costing is around 3-4L and CIMA costing is between 2.5-4.5L. Note that costing includes training/coaching as well.
h) Eligibility: Students can enter into CIMA or ACCA after 10th as well. While in CA, you must be a 12th standard pass out and in CFA, you must be a Graduate. Candidates in Final year of Graduation can apply for CFA exams.
i) Training/Experience Requirement: All these qualifications require Training/Practical Experience Requirement (PER). CA, ACCA and CIMA has 3 year Training/PER and CFA has 4 year experience requirement to become a member. In CA, our 3 year article ship experience is not counted for Professional Career, we are considered as fresher after qualifying CA. While in CIMA, ACCA and CFA, it is counted from the day one.