Aspiring accountants come from all walks of life. While some may have only just left school, others might be looking after a family, or already be part way through their career. Those with an interest in accountancy have one thing in common, though – at some point, they will all be asking the question, “what qualifications do I need to be an accountant?”
While you don’t need one specific qualification to become an accountant, you will be required to have one of a range of recognised qualifications, depending on your career ambitions.
Is a degree necessary?
You might be pleased to hear that a degree is not necessary for a career in accounting. While many people with a passion for accountancy are eager to study the subject at university, they will still need to gain a vocational qualification after graduating. A degree gives you useful theoretical knowledge, but the qualifications we’ll look at arm you with the practical skills needed for a successful career.
What does it take to become an accountant?
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AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications are the minimum you’ll need for a blossoming career in accountancy. A great starting point for those new to the industry, AAT can take you all the way to a level 4 qualification, the equivalent of studying at university for a year.
You don’t need any qualifications or experience to begin studying, just good numeracy skills and enthusiasm. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills essential to a career in accounting, from financial administration to financial management.
You can also complete these qualifications while gaining workplace experience and weekly wages on an apprenticeship. Click here to search for an apprenticeship, or get in touch below to find an opportunity that suits your needs.
Once you’ve completed level 4, you can go on to become a professional member, and use the letters ‘MAAT’ after your name. With the full AAT qualification under your belt, you’ll find that new doors are open to you, and it is highly recognised among employers.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Accountants) qualifications are recognised around the world by finance employers. You’ll cover everything from risk and ethics to advanced taxation.
Giving you an even more advanced understanding of the profession than AAT, ACCA is ideal for those wanting to rise to the upper echelons of financial accounting. Completion of the Professional units is equivalent to a Master’s degree, equipping you for roles such as Personal Banker and Financial Analyst.
If you’re hoping to go into management accountancy, you’ll need to become CIMA (Certified Institute of Management Accountants) qualified.
With a range of levels, each made up of with three main knowledge areas, CIMA will give you both a broad and deep knowledge of management accounting.
A qualification from the largest professional body of management accountants in the world will equip you for some exciting roles, from Finance Analyst to Financial Director.
If you’re specifically looking to become a chartered accountant, you will need to become qualified with one of the following bodies:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
Hopefully, we have now answered the question, “what qualifications do I need to be an accountant?” If there is anything else you want to know about becoming a qualified accountant, though, we would be delighted to hear from you, so get in touch below.