How to become a Chartered Certified Accountant
What does an accountant do?
Accountants are a trusted advisor within an organisation, providing financial advice to help businesses manage their money and maximise profits.
Your Accountancy role will vary depending if you work for a small or large business, or you’re a private accountant working with clients. In all cases you will all use your skills in maths, accounting, law and finance to prepare and analyse financial records, ensuring money transactions such as payroll and invoices are accurate and that taxes are paid on time.
Like solicitors, accountants can also specialise in a specific area, such as audit, financial reporting, risk management, tax, sustainability and of course, consultancy.
How much does an accountant earn?
According to the ACCA, part-qualified accountants can expect to earn around £26,000, increasing to £40,000. When fully qualified, depending on the organisation and sector you choose, you could earn anything up to £150,000 plus benefits.
Do I need to be a Chartered Accountant?
You can be an accountant through professional experience, or through qualifications. The main difference between an accountant and chartered accountant is that the latter is more highly qualified, and a member of a professional body such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). These organisations only allow membership after the necessary financial and accountancy qualifications have been gained and after 3-years of work experience has been undertaken.
So, you cannot call yourself a chartered accountant without passing a series of professional exams and the required work experience.
For a firm looking to trust someone with their financial health and legal compliance, they are more likely going to employ or work with an accountant who is accredited and backed by a professional body.
What qualifications do you need to become a Chartered Accountant?
If you choose the academic route, you’ll need GCSEs at grades 4/C or above, including English and maths, and ideally a finance related degree. Many universities offer degrees like our Accounting and Finance BSc(Hons) which is accredited by five professional bodies, offering exemptions from their professional body exams – so it’s worth making sure your degree includes these if you’re serious about becoming an accountant.
Of course, not everyone sets out in their career knowing what they want to do, and some fall into accountancy through picking up different responsibilities at work. In this case, your employer may use their apprenticeship levy to offer something like our ACCA Professional Accountant apprenticeship, where you would qualify as an accountant whist working.
If you already have some Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) qualifications or other exemptions, you can go directly to the a professional body and join their qualification programme. These are often run through an accredited training partner, like the University of Brighton, who offer a Professional Diploma in Studies in Accounting (ACCA)which is aligned to the ACCA Applied Skills Papers (formerly papers F4-F9) and our Accounting (ACCA) MSc, which is mapped to ACCA’s Strategic Professional (Essential) papers as well as one of the ACCA Strategic Professional option papers.
To then become ACCA qualified you will also need to complete one further ACCA option paper, this can be done alongside the Accounting MSc. The ACCA will also require you to have completed their Ethics and Professional Skills module and hold a minimum of 3-years work experience before you can be fully qualified.
We hope this article has helped, but if you have any more questions about what it’s like to study here please feel free to ask us a question, you might want to check out our Student Bloggers blog for an honest view from all Brighton’s students too!