The Right Accounting Qualification To Launch Your Career
Are you looking for the right accounting qualification for a successful and rewarding career? With so many options, knowing which one will give you the qualifications you need to stand out in the field can be hard.
In this article, we will discuss which accountancy qualification is best and how it can help you build a strong foundation in accounting. We’ll explore the different types of qualifications available, the advantages of each option, and the steps needed to become qualified.
Chartered Accountancy Qualifications
Chartered accountancy is a highly respected and sought-after profession in the UK. To become a qualified chartered accountant, there are several qualifications that you must acquire. These qualifications ensure you have the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this field.
The first qualification you will need is an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field. This degree should be from an accredited university or college covering financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, auditing, and business law. Once you have obtained your undergraduate degree, you can move on to the next stage of your qualification journey.
The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA)
ACA is one of the most prestigious and respected organisations for those interested in pursuing a career in accountancy. The ACA offers internationally recognised qualifications, making it an ideal choice for those looking to work overseas.
To become an ACA member, candidates must complete rigorous training and pass several exams. The qualification covers accounting, finance, taxation, auditing and business strategy. This ensures members have a comprehensive understanding of core accounting principles and practices.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
ACCA has a long history dating back to 1904, when eight people formed the London Association of Accountants. Today, ACCA has over 219,000 members and more than 527,000 students across 179 countries worldwide.
One of the main reasons why ACCA is so highly regarded is its rigorous qualification process. To become an ACCA member, candidates must complete 14 exams covering financial accounting and reporting, taxation, audit and assurance, and corporate governance. They must also gain three years of relevant practical experience before being granted full membership status.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Founded in 1919, CIMA has become one of the most respected accounting organisations globally, with over 650,000 members and students in more than 100 countries. The institute primarily focuses on management accounting and its role in driving business performance.
The qualifications offered by CIMA are internationally recognised, providing individuals with an excellent opportunity to enhance their careers. To qualify as a member or student of CIMA, candidates must pass rigorous exams covering areas such as financial accounting, management accounting, taxation and corporate law. They also need to have relevant work experience before being awarded membership status.
Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
With over 140,000 members worldwide, the AAT is the leading provider of vocational qualifications in accounting and finance. Founded in 1980, the AAT has been committed to promoting high standards in accountancy education and ensuring that its members are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.
The AAT offers a range of qualifications at different levels, from entry-level courses for those new to accounting to advanced diplomas for experienced professionals looking to develop their skills further. All AAT courses are designed with input from employers, ensuring that students learn practical skills that are relevant and valuable in today’s job market.
The Institute of Public and Finance Accountancy (CIPFA)
Established in 1885, CIPFA is one of the oldest accounting bodies in the world. The CIPFA offers a range of qualifications and training programs that are specifically designed to meet the needs of public sector finance professionals.
One of the most popular qualifications offered by CIPFA is its Professional Qualification (PQ).
This qualification provides comprehensive financial management, governance, and accountability training within public services. It covers various topics, including audit and assurance, business strategy and taxation. Professionals who achieve this qualification are well-equipped to pursue senior roles within their organisations.
The CIPFA also offers specialised qualifications for those working in specific areas such as local government finance, health care finance or education finance.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Established in 1854, ICAS is the world’s first professional body of accountants and has provided high-quality education and training to aspiring accountants ever since.
The ICAS provides various qualifications for individuals who wish to become chartered accountants, including the CA qualification. This program combines academic study and practical experience, equipping individuals with the knowledge, skills and experience required to become successful professionals in accounting. The ICAS also offers various other qualifications recognised across the UK and internationally.
As a member of the ICAS, individuals gain access to a wide range of benefits, including high-quality training programs, networking opportunities with other professionals in their field, and valuable resources such as research papers and reports.
Factors to Consider
In the UK, there are several accountancy qualifications that you can pursue, each with its own set of benefits and requirements. Knowing what factors to consider when making this decision is crucial.
First, consider the level of qualification required for your desired job role. If you aim to become a chartered accountant, then pursuing an ACA or ACCA qualification would be more suitable for you. However, if you seek a career in finance management or bookkeeping, then AAT or CIMA qualifications might be better options.
Additionally, evaluate the time and cost of obtaining these qualifications, as they vary significantly depending on your chosen path. Some courses require several years of study, while others may take just a few months.
In conclusion, choosing the right accountancy qualification can seem daunting. However, by considering your educational background and career aspirations, as well as the different types of qualifications available and their respective benefits, you can make an informed decision that will benefit you in the future.
It is important to remember that each qualification has advantages and disadvantages, and no solution is perfect for everyone; the key is to find what works best for you.
What skills should an accounting qualification build?
An accounting qualification should build various skills to prepare individuals for the ever-changing accounting world. These skills should include strong technical knowledge, an understanding of financial principles, and an ability to interpret and analyse financial data.
Additionally, it is important to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills so that accountants can identify opportunities or risks and make informed decisions. Finally, good communication skills are essential for any accountant, as they will need to explain complex financial information to their clients clearly and concisely. These combined skills will ensure that accountants are well-prepared for the challenges they may face in the modern accounting environment.
What is the average salary of an accountant in the UK?
The average salary of an accountant in the UK is £41,000 per year. This figure can vary depending on experience, qualifications and work sector. For instance, a qualified chartered accountant with several years of experience may earn up to £60,000 per year.
On the other hand, a newly qualified accountant may receive around £25,000 per year. Salaries also vary by region and the size of the company or organisation they are employed.
What are the most famous UK companies in the accounting field?
The United Kingdom is home to some of the most prominent accounting firms in the world. The “Big Four” accounting firms in the UK and in the world are Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG).