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There are nine exams for the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification. The essence of the exams is to determine your competency for a supporting role in accounting or finance. There is no time restriction when writing the exams.
You do not need formal academic qualifications as a prerequisite for CAT qualification. If you have previous qualifications, you might be entitled to exemptions from some of the CAT exams. Rather than starting at the introductory level, you will join at a level commensurate with your knowledge and skills. That will save you time, and most importantly, money, on subjects you already know.
The exams are divided into three levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced. In total, there are 10 exams out of which you write nine. Each exam is called a paper. They are numbered as papers one to 10. The first two levels have two papers each. At the advanced level you are required to write five out of six papers. The introductory part tests your knowledge in Recording Financial Transactions and Information for Management Control. The intermediate level is the second part in the CAT examination series. The first paper covers Maintaining Financial Records followed by Accounting for Costs. While it is advisable to take the papers in numerical order, students are allowed to write them according to career needs. For example, you can sit for paper three ahead of paper one and two if that is what your career demands.
The Advanced Level
At this level, the subjects of your exams are Managing People; Drafting Financial Statements; and Planning, Control and Performance Management. You also choose two subjects out of three options: Implementing Audit Procedures, Preparing Taxation Computation and Managing Finances.
While you are allowed to write the papers as computer-based exams (CBEs) at the introductory and intermediate levels, that option is not available for the advanced level. The advantage of CBEs is that you are able to know the results of your exams upon completion. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exams are usually held in June and December of every year, meaning you can attempt one paper twice a year, if you need to. But you can write a computer-based exam outside the June and December sessions.
Gilbert Manda has written financial news since 2000. He holds a professional diploma from the London School of Journalism, a Bachelor of Science in global business and public policy from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University London.