How to start your career in accounting

With salaries up to £25,000 before being fully qualified, it’s easy to see why accounting jobs are attractive to those with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.


Although entry into the profession without a degree is possible, candidates with formal qualifications have the edge over those who don’t in this highly competitive industry. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 5 years to study to become an accountant dependent on the type of accountant you want to become and what qualification you pursue.

What qualifications are there?

The Association of Accounting Technicians

Many accountancy roles require a qualification from AAT (The Association of Accounting Technicians). Their qualifications range from preparing you for junior and entry level accounting roles to professional diplomas, which cover higher accounting tasks including financial statements, managing budgets and tax.

AAT qualifications can be studied at your local training provider, usually a further education college, and can cost anywhere from £600 – £3000 dependent on level and place of study. There are a number of funding options available for people who want to gain a qualification from AAT.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

If your goal is to become a chartered accountant, the best route is to follow the ACA qualification from ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). ICAEW offer other qualifications similar to AAT but studying ACA means you will gain chartered status. There are different ACA study routes that can be taken dependant on what stage you are at in your career or education. You can expect to be studying for 1-5 years to become a chartered accountant with on the job training. Currently, ACA is funded by your employer.

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Among other routes to becoming a chartered accountant is studying the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualification. To study the ACCA you need to have a minimum of three GCSEs and two A Levels in five separate subjects including maths and English. If you don’t, ACCA offer foundation qualifications to prepare you for ACCA study. Studying on the ACCA has a variety of study options and can be studied flexibly at a training provider or online. The ACCA charges a registration fee of £79 and then an annual subscription of £95. After that, you only pay for entry into the exams which range from £70 – £300.

Other chartered accountancy institutes

If you want to hone your accountancy skills in certain industries there are a number of other chartered institutes that can help you reach your goal. All these institutes offer chartered qualifications so you can pursue your goal in your chosen industry.

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

No matter what stage you are at in your financial career we have a number of vacancies that will suit the level of qualification or experience you have. Get in touch with us today to find your new accountancy job.

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