With the introduction of HDA (Higher Diploma in Accounting) in Pakistan, the students vying for the ACCA qualification have got another entry route at hand. Previously, students wanting to join ACCA had to qualify CAT (now called FIA) to get an entry into ACCA with three papers exemptions. Now students can go to ACCA through HDA getting “double” the exemptions that the CAT/FIA gives. This is something that’s making it irresistible for the students. That’s equivalent to getting the student half-way through ACCA; I repeat “half-way”, i.e. almost. And the time it takes is approximately 1 year. That’s a big savior of time considering what an average student normally takes for getting half-way through ACCA, i.e. around 2 years. Previously, it even took 1.5 years just for qualifying the CAT qualification i.e. to get to the 3 papers milestone out of the total 14 of ACCA.
For the students who were not getting through the papers of CAT/FIA, who were getting frustrated by paying the Exam Fee again and again (£72 per paper), HDA emerged as a savior. You only have to pay the £295 Initial Registration Fee and that’s it. No annual subscription, no exam fee, nothing! So you can virtually give any paper without paying anything, not for the first attempt, nor for the second, nor for the any-th attempt! That’s the freedom a student of accountancy could only dream of previously, but HDA made it a reality.
MCQ’s based papers will be assessed through CBEs now. Monthly exam schedule changed a bit. Only 1 essay-type exam can be given in a month at 1st date of every month. Two MCQ’s based papers can be given on specified dates from 2nd to 7th date of every month.
Going through the list of changes that I have given above, one can easily figure out that the changes are all positive and HDA is making its way positively in the accountancy field in Pakistan. After the “SQA-stamp”, the certificate of HDA has got a new worth in market due to the standing of SQA in the education market of UK. And it was a pleasant feeling to see the HDA now listed for 6 exemptions on the ACCA Global website. Hats off to the BIMS team. All in all, there is optimistic advancement by HDA and the best part is that the students are loving it even more.
Another big benefit of the qualification is the monthly exams format. You can give any paper in any month, whether the CBE’s or the manuals. There’s no such limitation as giving the exams in June or December only. Unlike the ACCA, where you have to wait for 6 months to give a manual paper, HDA gives a lot more flexibility to a student to plan his exams according to his own time-table.
With the ability to give CBEs and paper-based exams monthly and with no worries of paying exams fee any more, students can concentrate more on preparing for the actual exams instead of worrying for the risk of time and money!!!
So who’s gonna do FIA now? FIA just got busted!
About Author:Irfan Ullah Khan was (at the time of publication of the article) Head of Department (Accountancy) at Institute of Professional Studies, Peshawar.Article published at: HDA Pakistan