We’ve previously covered careers in Law but if you’re looking for a career that is equally rewarding, well regarded and offers a huge range of progression options then accountancy might be for you.
Why Become an Accountant?
While accountancy has something of a drab image, it is completely undeserved. In fact, accountancy can offer a vibrant and challenging career, with significant financial rewards – or excellent salaries, to put it another way. With this in mind, here is how to get on your way to being an accountant.
To be an accountant you will need to be motivated, logical and enthusiastic about learning. There are two key routes into accountancy: the first being earning a qualification through university. Alternatively, it is possible to become an accountant via on the job training. As both options require a firm academic foundation, this is where we’ll begin.
In terms of academic qualification, your journey begins with A Levels. Regardless of the route you choose, you will generally be expected to have achieved A-B grade in 3 A levels. If you haven’t got the grades required, then you may wish to consider re-doing your A levels via distance learning. This allows you to study in your own time, from home and lets you fit in study sessions around your own commitments. We would recommend that you include Mathematics and the Russel Group suggests Business Studies and Economics as facilitating subjects.
Route 1: University
Once you have signed up for your A levels, the next step is to apply to choose the universities that appeal to you and apply. A good place to start your search is UCAS’ course finder tool. You will find that there are a variety of courses available. It’s worth considering a 4 year ‘Sandwich’ course, which will allow you to complete a placement for one year. This is a great opportunity to network and build up contacts while getting practical experience. Once you’ve found the courses most suitable for you, then next step is to apply. Conveniently this is all done directly though UCAS.
During your time at university, you will need to think ahead when it comes to applying for jobs. Make the most of career fairs held at university and use the opportunity to build a list of companies that you would like to work for.
When applying for a position, remember that you will still be expected to study as you work! Most companies will give you both practical experience in the office and with clients, whist training you to complete the ACA exam. The ACA exam typically takes 3 years and will grant you the opportunity to register as a Chartered Accountant.
Route 2: On the Job Training
If you choose not to go the University route, then there are a number of alternatives. Becoming an accountant without a degree can be more competitive, so you may wish to consider completing a Level 3 Diploma course, which will introduce you to the basics of accounting and give your CV a boost. One option is to study a course such as the AAT, which can be done fulltime, part time or even via distance learning. This consists of multiple levels, each taking around a year to complete. Once you’ve finished, you will have the opportunity to join the AAT and will have a recognised qualification suitable to enter the workforce.
Alternatively, you can look into training schemes offered by large established companies such as PWC or KPMG. PWC in particular offers a higher Apprenticeship scheme that allows you to be paid whilst learning.
In conclusion, there are a number of routes that allow you to become an accountant but each requires you to have a solid academic background. If you haven’t got the necessary qualifications, then it’s never too late to start! Oxford Learning College can help you to achieve an A Level in one year with a Fast Track course, or over two years with a standard course.
Looking for something a little less less corporate? Check out our tips on how to become a social worker.
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