How to Become an Accountant

Posted by: Andre Post Date: 16th June 2014

An accountant is one of the most important people within any business, helping it to meet regulations, and to grow and develop. Accountants are often well paid, and there is lots of opportunity for career progression, and even self-employment. With every company requiring an accountant, it’s always a good time to become qualified.

If you have a passion for numbers, great organisational skills, and are looking to embark on a promising career, you might be wondering how to become an accountant.

How to Become an Accountant

Many begin the route into professional accounting with a three-year university degree. Lots of people choose to become qualified outside of higher education, however, rather than facing expensive university fees. You can begin your professional journey without any previous qualifications, and without being employed in an accountancy role already. So, let’s take a look at how to become an accountant.

What does it take to become an accountant?

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Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) courses allow you to start climbing from the first rung of the ladder, and you don’t need any qualifications to start studying.

Work your way up through the qualifications, from the Level 2 Foundation Certificate to the Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting. It can take anywhere between one and three years to complete the three levels.

After completing the AAT courses, you will be a fully qualified accounting technician, and can to apply for all kinds of roles, from Payroll Manager to VAT Accountant.

When thinking about how to become an accountant, you might also be considering whether to take the route to becoming a chartered certified accountant or a management accountant.


After achieving AAT qualifications, or if you already have two A Levels, you can move on to become a chartered certified accountant by completing the ACCA courses.

If you already have the AAT Diploma in Accounting, you won’t need to take the first three ACCA papers. It normally takes between three and four years to become ACCA certified, although you have up to ten years to complete the qualification.

ACCA qualifications are globally recognised, preparing you for a broad range of accountancy roles in any type of organisation.


If you decide to embrace management accounting, CIMA is the route to go down.

By gaining the highest level of qualification with CIMA, you will become a chartered global management accountant. As a management accountant, you will have strategic influence over major financial decisions within an organisation.

CIMA consists of the Certificate in Business Accounting and the CIMA Professional Qualification. If you are AAT qualified, however, you are exempt from the first of these.

The Professional Qualification, made up of ten exams, often takes around four years to complete, but you are free to take it at your own pace.

How to Study

In the Classroom

If you would like to study full time, you can attend classes for any of these courses. You will be taught course material by a qualified tutor, ideal for those who prefer to be fully guided throughout a course.

Distance learning

Many people have commitments, such as work or family, which mean they can’t study full time.

All of these courses have distance learning options, meaning that you can take them at your own pace and in your own environment.

Studying independently can seem intimidating, but you’ll receive the support you need to feel confident as you progress through the courses. Online resources mean that you can access everything you need at the click of a button, and you will still be able to talk to your tutor.

If you would like to find out more about how to become an accountant or management accountant, one of our course advisors would be happy to talk you through your options, so please get in touch below.

Want to become a qualified accountant?

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