So you have decided that being an accountant is your dream job. You have made a good choice as accountants are rarely unemployed, which is a brilliant thing to hear during this recession. Every business needs to make sure their accounts are prepared and approved.
If you're still in school you need to make sure you do the right subjects so that you can lay the foundations for your career. This may be taking GCSE maths and then maybe looking at doing A Level mathematics too.
To become an accountant you need a reasonable degree it does not have to be in accountancy, although that would be a good start. The next step is to decide which accounting body you will get a qualification from.
There are three different bodies:
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and
- Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA)
If you want to work for a firm of accountants and do auditing it is best to train as an ACCA. These companies are good as they are very lenient at giving you study leave. If you want to work for a company while you study, then the best qualification is CIMA. Most firms only give limited study leave though. An average of 2 weeks per set of exams, unlike the average 6 weeks or more which ACA trainees get.
If you want to work in industry CIMA is the path to go, but if you prefer to work for a firm of accountants, and maybe working towards becoming a partner, then go for ACA.
Once you decide which one you wish to go for, contact the relevant institute, and find out what preliminary qualifications they recommend. It will be hard work, but it will be worth it.
Employers usually cover the training costs if a student has secured employment based on a training contract (agreement between employer and employee). If the employer is a training company the fees will vary depending on how much the employer is willing to cover and, of course, the tuition provider.
Fees payable at the Professional stage will be around £60 - £80 each. The advanced stage is £155 - £240. On top of this there is the cost for the learning materials which starts at £20 and can go up to £130. International students who wish to study in the UK will need to make an application for a permit. Qualifications for accountancy are recognized worldwide because it's one of the oldest professions.