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What qualifications do I need to be an Accountant?
To become a successful accountant you need to be logical, methodical and good with numbers. You need excellent IT skills as offices are increasingly becoming paperless environments. You also need good communication skills and to be able to understand the client’s business.
Before joining an accountancy practice, it is worth trying to decide where your long term ambitions lie. If you join one of the top four accountancy firms you will benefit from working with large quoted companies and specialize early on in your career. For example you might audit specific types of companies such as Insurance companies or energy companies. This may restrict you to working in certain locations such as London or New York. Alternatively, if you join a small practice you will be dealing with various different types of clients and gain a broader experience. You would be able to find work across the country.
You will either need to qualify with one of three main bodies outlined below, or you will need to do a lower level course such as the Accounting Technicians (AAT)course, the work your way up via training.
• The Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW) www.icaew.com ACA stands for Associate Chartered Accountant. This leading business and finance qualification is highly regarded worldwide due to its quality and professionalism. On completion, you can become a chartered accountant in industry or practice, giving professional advice and making high-level strategic decisions. On completion it could lead to a career in any of the following:
• The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) www.cimaglobal.com allows you to run the accounts of a business or be a finance director, but you are not certified to sign off audited accounts of another businesses,
People in the UK who want to train as a Chartered Accountant can do so not only with the ICAEW, but also with ICAS - the Institute of CAs in Scotland or CIPFA - the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
• ICAS is not limited to Scottish firms and many England based students get this qualification through the major firms. The website is www.icas.org.uk
• CIPFA is the qualification for people specialising in the public sector. On qualification people become a Chartered Public Finance Accountant The website for CIPFA is www.cipfa.org.uk
Degree or further educational requirement
How long will it take to get qualified?
There are an estimated 250,000 accountants in the UK
Typical salary £35,000 to £45,000