What qualifications do you need to become an accountant?

Considering a career in accounting? With so many different qualifications, which is the right one for you?

We’ll take you through the different qualifications in accounting, whether you need a degree, and how to get a foot in the industry.

Can you become an accountant if you studied a non-accountancy related degree?

The good news is that no, you don’t need a degree in accounting or finance to become an accountant. The good news is yes, you don’t need to have studied a degree in accounting or finance to become an accountant. Social science, technology or students from any subject discipline can make great accountants.

One of the key skills for being an accountant is the ability to research and analyse information; something which a degree in any subject will set you up for.

What if you did study finance of accountancy?

A degree based in either finance or accountancy can certainly streamline your route to a career in the industry. Depending on your degree, you may be automatically eligible for some professional qualifications, or at least part-way there.

If your degree is in a different subject then the skills and techniques you used on your path to graduation are still massively in demand. If you want to move into accounting, you might explore what finance graduate schemes are available or start with AAT, which we describe below. Some employers might take you on whilst you study, too!

 AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)

The AAT is the most common entry point to a career in accountancy. It’s considered equivalent to the first year of a degree (Level 4).

The AAT has three levels of qualifications which equip you with the essential knowledge and skills you need.

The levels include a Foundation Certificate, Advanced Diploma and the Professional Diploma which you can study at various colleges around the UK.

If you already have an accounting or finance degree, you may be able to skip levels or assessments if you’ve already covered the subjects.

Accountancy firms will often take on accounting trainees who have begun studying for the AAT. Some may even fund the exams or provide paid time off to take them.

 This means you might not have to become fully qualified before getting your first job in the industry.  
Becoming a chartered accountant
Becoming a chartered accountant means you become a member of either the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA).

These organisations only accept membership from accountants who complete a series of exams, and with a certain level of work experience.

This means that chartered accountants have more training and experience in specialised accounting practices.

As a result, chartered accountants typically earn more, and are in more demand from larger firms and businesses.

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

The ACCA qualification is considered equivalent to a master’s degree and usually takes about three to four years to become fully qualified.

Once qualified, you become a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

It is possible to study for the ACCA directly (without doing the AAT first) but you will need to complete the foundation level before you can progress.

ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)

The ICAEW also has rigorous assessments, but you get to use the impressive title: ‘ICAEW Chartered Accountant’ once qualified.

According to the ICAEW, 83 of the FTSE 100 companies have an ICAEW Chartered Accountant on their team.

This makes it ideal if you’re looking to work with a big company or want a career in practice.

It also opens doors to career paths such as forensic accounting, public sector tax and corporate finance.

To get the ACA qualification, you will need to secure a training agreement with an ICAEW-authorised training employer.

 CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)

CIMA is a specialised qualification for those who want to go into management accountancy.

 Management accounting is a specialised branch of accountancy which involves creating financial reports and advising businesses on financial strategies.

Anyone can study for the CIMA but those without experience usually need to complete a Certificate in Business Accounting first.

Which qualification is right for you?

The AAT is the ideal entry point for most people looking to get a foot into the industry. On the other hand, if you’re set on becoming a chartered accountant, a direct path to the ACCA might be preferable.

For those undecided, the AAT is a solid starting point which will give you a good foundation in accountancy. There’s always the option to progress with different qualifications if you wish to specialise further!

Article by The Accountancy Partnership – Online Accountants

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TARGETJobs events

Bringing yourself to work – celebrating National Student Pride Week’ – 20 April 2021 at 2pm (Webinar)

Join us to discover what some employers are doing to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace – particularly when it comes to LGBTQ+ employees – and listen to thoughts around ‘coming out’ (whether explicitly or implicitly) and being yourself at work. Sign up here: https://targetjobs.co.uk/events/employability-webinars

‘BAE Systems – how diversity and inclusion makes all the difference’ – 22 April 2021 at 2pm (Webinar)

Join BAE Systems and hear directly from graduates on what diversity means to BAE Systems. Find out exactly what the organisation is doing to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging and what life as a graduate might look like. The graduates will also be running through the roles they are currently hiring into. Sign up here: https://targetjobs.co.uk/events/employability-webinars

TARGETjobs Aspire – 23 April 2021

Championing Black Heritage students from campus to the boardroom! Do your students Aspire to be senior business leaders of the future, maybe even at one of the biggest organisations in the world? Our new event, Aspire, is here to start them on this path. Students can register using the following link: https://targetjobs.co.uk/events/aspire?utm_source=emailroundup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Aspire%20April%202021

What to do if you haven’t got a summer internship and how to boost your employability’ – 27 April 2021 (Webinar)

Join us for this webinar where we’re talking all things placements, work experience and improving your skills over the summer. Find out what other options are available to you and what you can do if you discover you suddenly have more free time than you expected.

You can sign up here: https://targetjobs.co.uk/events/employability-webinars

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Tesco Spring Recruitment webinar – Wednesday 28 April

Tesco Supply Chain Development would like to invite students and graduates to a webinar on Wednesday 28th April.

‘How Tesco tackles Food Waste through the Supply Chain’ will take place between 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Members of the team will give an insight into their work, how they tackle various issues around food waste and make a big difference to the world!

They have a number of great roles available, particularly relevant to those who have a keen interest in problem solving and process change. They are relevant both for new graduates finishing undergraduate degrees this summer as well as postgraduates and those who are further on in their careers. This is a chance for them to find out more about their work and how to apply.

You can book through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-tesco-tackles-food-waste-through-the-supply-chain-tickets-147147061823.

If you have any further questions this can be directed to shona.gibson@tesco.com.

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FDM Sandwich placements

FDM have opened applications for their sandwich placement years this week and you can find them all advertised here: https://www.fdmgroup.com/careers/internships-placements/


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Eagles information session Tuesday April 20th, 11:00-11:45 am

Come and hear about ELBA’s placement scheme Eagles. This is a six-month, paid graduate development programme. You can experience a variety of different roles with Financial Services compnaies. It’s a unique opportunity for you as a recent graduate to join a top London firm, and gain up to three weeks of inclusive training, giving you the tools and experience you need to build a career in the City.

You will hear about the scheme, hear from recent grads that have been / are on the scheme and be talked through the application process.

The scheme is suitable for anyone searching for graduate employment, regardless of what you studied.

Sign-up here

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April careers webinars

Wednesday 14 April 2.00-3.00pm 
Career planning: get the job you want 
Know what job you want, but not sure how to get it? Understand that you need work experience but not sure how to go about getting it. This interactive session will help you to start formulating a career plan to set yourself achievable steps in order to reach your career goals. 


Friday 16 April 3.00-4.00pm

Develop your interview skills

In the current climate, employers are adopting a virtual approach to hiring and conducting interviews remotely. Using our own webinar format this workshop provides an essential guide to delivering an effective interview performance. Whether you are a current student or recent graduate about to embark on your career journey, this session is designed for you. It takes you through the various types and stages of the interview process and what is typically involved.

This is an interactive session to help you develop strategies for responding to interview questions and present your strengths so that employers see their value to the organisation. You will be introduced to additional resources that you can use to practice and hone your interview skills so that you approach the selection process with greater confidence.

Tuesday 20 April 11.00am-12.00pm

Common mistakes students whilst searching and applying for jobs

Attending this session will stop you falling into common traps when

  • Developing skills
  • Searching for roles
  • Applying 

Thursday 22 April 2.00-3.00pm

Creating an excellent CV and cover letter

In an increasingly competitive job market, you need to make an impact when completing your CV and cover letter. Come along to this workshop to find out how you can make the most of your skills and promote yourself effectively in your CV and covering letter.

Wednesday 28 April 11.00am-12.00pm

Using LinkedIn to get jobs and build a network

This workshop is an introduction to your professional presence online and the networking site LinkedIn. In this interactive session you will gain an insight into the different ways in which you can use LinkedIn and learn about the key elements of developing an effective LinkedIn profile.

Friday 30 April  2.00-3.00pm

Finding the Job you Want

This session will equip you with a range of different skills to source and create job opportunities.

To book a place on go to : londonmet.ac.uk/careersevents


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A Career in Government – Part 3

This is the final of a 3 part event for students and graduates interested in a career in government.

Building on Parts 1 & 2 which focused on the range of careers in the Civil Service and the application process, Part 3 is designed to be an interactive careers event focusing on one of the key professional areas in Government service: the policy profession at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The session is organised by the diversity team at MHCLG but the content and activities are for everyone interested in policy work, law / governance & Civil Service administration in any of the Government’s departments.

Whether you are a student of law, politics, economics, public health or community development, whatever your subject discipline, if you are open to where your degree could take you, this session could be the next significant step in your career development.

About this Event

Join this careers event with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to develop your:

Understanding – how policy professionals support ministers to shape and deliver policy that delivers the government’s objectives

Insight – to provide you with insight into the policy profession at MHCLG, how policy goes from ideas to implementation

Skills – an interactive activity giving you a taster of what working in a policy role really entails

Date: Thursday 22 April 2021

Time: 16.00 – 17.15 pm

This is a virtual session and you can register on the link below:

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FREE digital student & graduate careers event

PinkNews Futures is a bi-annual (digital) student and graduate careers conference which aims to provide support and valuable resources to LGBT+ youth, whilst connecting them with inclusive employers from across the UK.

It will take place from 12 – 15 April.

More information is available on the link here

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Free Training Programme

At Laamiga, our aim has always been to empower women and improve their skills and knowledge to achieve their career goals, therefore, we’re excited to launch our new mentoring project, Sheba, to continue our support for women from Black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME), migrant and refugee backgrounds.

All the sessions in Sheba will be held ONLINE and it’s FREE to enrol on this programme.

Over a period of twelve months, Sheba will help women identify their goals, overcome emotional and practical barriers in their career aspirations, and take steps towards employment, self-employment or further training. Each woman will be offered free one to to one career coaching from an experienced career coach and 1-1 mentoring sessions with a trained and supervised volunteer female mentor, along with various workshops and group sessions to enhance their employability skills and grow their network.

Women need to meet the following conditions to join Sheba:

-Aged 18 and over, and come from a  Black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME), refugee or migrant background.

-Living in Camden, Islington and neighbouring boroughs.

-Currently unemployed and not taking part in any formal programmes of education or training.

-Have the right to live and work in the UK.

At the end of the programme mentees will have an improved sense of confidence and well-being, and be better equipped to take the next steps or start their career.

For further information and to apply for the programme, please contact Dr. Emua Ali at: info@laamiga.org

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Law Society Diversity Scheme – closing date is 25 April

Applications for the Law Society Diversity Access scheme opened on 1 March and has a closing date of 25 April. The scheme offers:

  • Finance for the LPC or SQE
  • Mentoring
  • Work experience

The application fo‌rm, guidance and eligibility criteria will be available o‌n their website: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/diversity-access-scheme

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