Since ACCA has launched the new suit of qualifications, much confusions are surrounding it. I must suggest that ACCA should write a whole student accountancy issue about it. Another problem is, ACCA has already issued FIA introductory document in addition to help available on ACCA website, but as the information is scattered, students are not finding it easy to understand.
First thing that we should understand is that FIA is NOT just one qualification as opposed to old CAT qualification rather FIA is suit of qualifications i.e. FIA contains more than 1 qualification under its belt. There are 3 certificates and 1 diploma, in total, under FIA suit of qualifications.
Now if one asks whether FIA has the same value as CAT qualification then it depends on the perspective and the dimension of the question itself.
If you are asking about the knowledge value of FIA against CAT then it is the same as if you do all the papers under FIA you will get the same certification as you would have got under CAT.
If you are asking about the time value or exemption value or money value of FIA against CAT, then in my opinion FIA has more time value then CAT. As in CAT you had to do all 9 papers to claim exemptions in first 3 papers of ACCA, but now you don’t have to do all the subjects under FIA suit to claim that exemption instead, just do the diploma that contains 3 papers and you will get the exemptions of first three papers of ACCA. So, its much better than CAT as you are being rewarded on the same grounds i.e. you do THREE papers and get exemptions in THREE papers. This was not the case before under CAT where you had to do NINE papers, thus was paying for and sitting in nine papers to get exemption in just THREE papers of ACCA qualification.
I recommend that students read the following answers, articles and pages to understand more about CAT and FIA transition: