The accounting profession is very broad to the extent that no one person can do all the types of accounting, at some point, the person will have to specialize in a particular type of accounting in order to become an expert.
To start your full accounting career as an accountant, you have to first graduate from a university, polytechnic or college with an accounting degree which is usually obtained after four years of study.
Now, let us talk about the difference between ACA and FCA.
ACA and FCA are both Professional accounting qualification. ACA is an acronym for ASSOCIATE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT. One can become an associate member of an accounting body when the person has finished a professional accounting program from a professional accounting body. A person will qualify as an ACA when they are inducted as a Chartered accountant. Therefore, ACA will be added to their names when addressing them. E.g Michael Collins, ACA.
On the other hand, FCA means Fellow Chartered Accountant. Becoming an FCA is the pinnacle of your accounting career. Almost every accountant is aspiring to be FCA. An accountant qualifies to be an FCA if he or she practices accounting i.e working as an accountant, or working with an accounting firm for 5 years after qualifying for ACA. But if the person isn't practicing accounting, it will take him or her 10 years to qualify as FCA. So while addressing the person, FCA will be included in their names. E.g Onyema Donald, FCA.
In summary, An ACA is the first step to becoming an FCA. You become an FCA after 5 years of practice as an accountant after qualifying for ACA. You don't need to write any examination to qualify for FCA, just practice accounting for 5 years as an ACA while you will write some examinations before qualifying as an ACA. FCA is chartered accountant who holds certificate of practice for more than 5 years while ACA is a chartered accounts who holds certificate of practice for less than 5 years.
I hope this article has given you an answer to your question. You can use the comment box if you still have more questions or contribution.