A career in accountancy isn’t glamourous and is not one that many young people originally aspire to join!
However, it is a career where you can train and qualify whilst working – meaning that there are numerous options for career progression.
Employers often give day or block release for paid study leave, as well as funding the course and examination fees. The fact you are undertaking practical learning on the job means that you can find the training more relevant.
For accountants in practice, such as ourselves, there tend to be three main qualification routes.
The route that our qualified accountants (Claire, Katy, Lucy and myself) took was ACCA (Association Chartered Certified Accountants). To qualify you will need to complete up to 14 exams (some exemptions are available depending upon other qualifications held), have a record of 36 months’ work experience in a relevant role and complete a professional ethics module.
The other main route to qualification is the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales). The components of this qualification are professional development, ethics and professional scepticism, 3-5 years’ practical work experience and 15 accountancy, business and finance modules.
Neither option is easy, they are a huge commitment and require you to study at home in the evenings and weekends, in addition to your job.
As employers fund study, wages for trainees are not amazing but, once you have qualified and gained your practical experience, this is when you can improve your salary significantly.
Many people do not want to commit to either of the above qualifications so choose the AAT (Association Accounting Technicians) option.
It is a lesser qualification but still very useful . It comprises of three qualifications across three levels in accounting.
Once you have qualified and gained your letters after your name, it requires maintenance.
Each year we are obliged to undertake CPD (continuing professional development) by way of courses and technical reading to ensure our skills and knowledge are kept up-to-date. We have to keep records of these and submit them to our professional body each year.
In summary, an accountancy qualification is not an easy option – but it can be a rewarding one.