Becoming an accountant

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by Matthew J, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Matthew J

    Matthew J UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    Hi guys

    I was wondering if I could get some advice from you.

    I would like to work towards becoming an accountant.
    I would rather avoid going back to uni and the monies and debt related to it.
    Is there a way to become an accountant without going through a uni?

    Ive been reading about ACCA but Im not sure if I can study it without being in an accounting role, which I am currently not.

    any advice would be great. thanks guys
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: Matthew J Member since: Oct 16, 2019
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Have known some accountants who have non accounting degrees. They get their qualifications via working for their employer and studying for the qualifications. Takes a few years.
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  3. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Hello @Matthew J

    You certainly can become a qualified accountant without going to uni.

    What type of accountant would you like to be ie do you want to work in industry as an accountant for a large company or do you want to work in an accountancy practice?
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
  4. Anna Chandley

    Anna Chandley UKBF Ace Free Member

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    There are various apprenticeship schemes available which would allow you to qualify as a chartered accountant. Have a look at the ICAEW website
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: Anna Chandley Member since: Jun 2, 2008
  5. Matthew J

    Matthew J UKBF Contributor Free Member

    78 5
    Thanks everyone

    I think along the lines of financial accounting rather than cost accounting (not sure that makes sense). Id rather work for a corporation rather than personal finances if that helps.

    Thing is Im 37 so apprenticeship are probably out of the question. It seems with recognition of prior learning, I could pass all the necessary exams in about four years. Thing is I need that three years work experience aswell

    It seems my age might be the main issue. My plan so far is to complete the
    Applied Knowledge and Applied skills from ACCA first, then move onto the ACCA Strategic Professional courses, hoping that by then I may be in an accounting role.

    If there is another way that might be better Id be every interested in further advice
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: Matthew J Member since: Oct 16, 2019
  6. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

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    You're not that old mate, you can do it.

    Get yourself a couple of tins of beans and get cracking.

    You'll become a top bean counter in no time.
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  7. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    If you’ve no prior relevant qualification or experience, I wouldn’t jump straight into ACCA.

    I would start off trying to get an entry level job such as sales / purchase ledger with an employer that offers study support for AAT.
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
  8. Matthew J

    Matthew J UKBF Contributor Free Member

    78 5
    Haha thanks mate, I hope so

    Im looking at that too. I have studied intro to accounting, management accounting and financial accounting at undergrad but need to read up as Ive forgotten everything. Nevertheless the first lot of ACCA courses I mentioned are at a doable level. I aim to take their exams in March so I should be ok. But its the next lot that are hard...

    That is really the only way I see it. Ill try get a level entry job but again I am 37, and those jobs understandably do normally go for the younger ones.

    I have just discovered CIMA however, a better choice?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: Matthew J Member since: Oct 16, 2019
  9. namesweb

    namesweb UKBF Regular Full Member

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    As someone who went down this exact route you need to have a think about what you actually want to be doing day to day for grunt work. I was studying toward my CIMA (my career direction has diverted quite substantially since and as a result there are more immediately relevant qualifications I'd need instead) but I'm not sure if and when I'll get round to finishing mine.

    I've held the following jobs; management accountant, commercial finance analyst, financial reporting analyst, financial planning & analysis analyst (bit of a mouthful!), and a few along those line but very similar and ended up leaving accounting/finance as senior/group FP&A.

    My ten pence worth for what it is worth is decide what your passion/skillset is as each qualification sets you up for fairly different paths (though not interchangeable if determined to do so).

    - Some of the more commercial/business partnering roles (helping analyse performance drivers and assisting the business to make decisions) - more suited to CIMA; potential jobs include Commercial Analyst, Finance Business Partner, FP&A, Sales Analyst, Management Accountant, etc.

    - Some of the more numerical roles, where you're allocating expenses, doing more ledger work, debits/credits; ensuring compliance, auditing accounts, even things like forensic accounting (which actually sounds fascinating - used to get some interesting stories from a forensic accountant I used to work with). These tend to eventually normally lead to somewhere like Financial Controller~ type roles, and you'll be more suited to ACCA (though you can still get those as CIMA I'm sure). You'll expect more fiscally focused industries like insurance, finance/banking will favour ACCA though CIMA isn't a barrier as far as I know.

    I always thought you needed to generally be more rules/detail orientated for ACCA - more detailed work, whereas the commercial roles would allow a bit more flexibility to be a bit more creative with analysis or provide ad hoc support.

    I'd add, whichever route you pick, just stick to it as there are 16 exams in CIMA to get through; not sure about ACCA but I'm sure it's rigorous. i.e don't try and switch streams half way through. Also try and bang it out asap otherwise you might end up like me!

    Thankfully the concept of month end is one I've left long behind me, but some people love it!

    If your goal is to one day be a CFO/FD either will serve you well, and your personal/leadership skills will need to shine brighter than technical skills.

    Hope that helps and happy to answer any other q's. I'll add, the above is very much my experiences about the directions when I explored, and it may have changed, and some of my pre-conceptions may be completely unfounded.
    Posted: Aug 4, 2020 By: namesweb Member since: Jan 27, 2015
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  10. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

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    All you need is a brown cardigan with faux leather patches on the elbows, a slight whiff of dust about you, and an urge to tell people how great spreadsheets are.

    Before you know where you are, you'll be buying your first Volvo.
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
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  11. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I wouldnt be in a rush to complete ACCA. I appreciate you probably want to complete it quickly but the AAT will give you a good relevant grounding for an accountancy career before you move onto ACCA or CIMA (both are good for what you want to do)
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
  12. Matthew J

    Matthew J UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    thanks so much for your detailed reply. A lot to think about and surprisingly now perhaps CIMA maybe better.

    Ideally I want to become a CPA and be able to live around the world and find a job. I think accounting is a good choice?

    thanks again. I had a look at AAT but as mentioned the foundation stuff I have done and got undergrad credit passes for (3 separate modules) . I’ve just honestly forgotten it all, but reading my textbooks again it’s slowly coming back, even though the nightmare of cost accounting is still just as scary.

    Looking at CIMA and running the prior learning calculator I will be exempt from a couple of units. Plus unlike ACCA, I don’t have to be in an accountancy role to start.

    Still undecided but slowly getting clearer.

    Other option is two year degree with UOL distance learning but financially makes no sense if I can take the CIMA or alternative certified routes
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: Matthew J Member since: Oct 16, 2019
  13. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    You can gain the AAT By just doing level 4. Your degree may give you exemptions on some of the modules. If that’s the case, you’d be able to gain an accredited qualification in less than 6 months. The AAT would then give you exemptions at ACCA and CIMA level.

    You’d be a fool not to explore it further.
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
  14. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I agree and think that's very good advice.

    Don't think by passing the exams that you'll be able to walk into a job and know what to do. Experience really is essential.
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
  15. Matthew J

    Matthew J UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    mm interesting thanks, Ill have another look now.
    Posted: Aug 5, 2020 By: Matthew J Member since: Oct 16, 2019
  16. Mattymoomoo

    Mattymoomoo UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I agree re going AAT route. You will get credits for work done and it will lead to the same place, just cheaper. Definitely not worth doing a degree...Re age, i used to employ all sorts, for me it was the attitude. Someone who has decided that their passion is accounting later in life is probably twice as good as some kid who has been told by their parents to go into accounting and they also probably know how to work hard and not be on TikTok every moment.
    Posted: Sep 16, 2020 at 7:45 AM By: Mattymoomoo Member since: Sep 15, 2020
  17. Cloud Accounting

    Cloud Accounting UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    Agree with last few posts. If you can get in on AAT at level 4, you can polish that off in 6mths & then have a head start with ACCA/CIMA through the exemptions. To me sounds like ACCA may suit you better than CIMA, particularly if you may want to make the leap into practice at some point.
    Posted: Sep 17, 2020 at 3:59 PM By: Cloud Accounting Member since: Apr 22, 2020
  18. Rawlinson Pryde

    Rawlinson Pryde UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    At our firm we have often taken school leavers and put them on the ACCA courses with BPP, so you do not need a degree and can earn and learn. It of course helps with the exams being in a job where you see some of the theory in practice.

    Nowadays you can get a business to put you onto the apprenticeship scheme and they can save a huge chunk of the training costs.
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 at 8:12 PM By: Rawlinson Pryde Member since: May 9, 2020
  19. KAC

    KAC UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I agree. My firm used to take school leavers and dependent upon their school exam results start them either on AAT or ACCA. We also used to give day release to attend a local university for ACCA exam tuition classes. To be honest, as I messed up my sixth form exams, it was the route I followed myself and am now ICAEW and ACCA qualified and audit qualified. So it can definitely work.
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 at 8:24 PM By: KAC Member since: May 7, 2017