1. Through working for a firm

Firms, especially the bigger ones, will often put you through accounting qualifications and support you fully while you balance work with study.

PwC and KPMG, for instance, will enrol you onto the ICAEW qualification, ACA, while Deloitte and EY use ICAS. The qualifications are completed over the course of three years and include a mixture of exams and work experience.

While studying alongside a full-time job sounds demanding, firms place great emphasis on their accountants gaining these qualifications. As a result, they usually meet all course costs, enrol you in classes during work hours, and give you study leave which doesn’t count as part of your holiday.

2. Via membership of a professional body

There are several professional accounting bodies which operate in the UK and around the world, which enable aspiring accountants to gain accounting qualifications.

You can do no wrong by starting with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification which is the perfect route into a range of entry-level accountancy jobs across different industries. There are no formal entry requirements, so you can apply to start this immediately.

You have a range of options once you have gained your AAT qualification. You can apply for your first accountancy job, work on building specific skills by taking short courses, or even use the credit gained from your AAT qualification to join the second or third year of a degree course.

You can also become members of bodies such as the ICAEW and The Association, to then take higher qualifications like ACCA or CIMA and become a chartered accountant.

3. Through a distance learning provider

Rather than launching straight into being a member of a professional body, you might choose to study for an accounting qualification for an online and flexible learning provider such as AVADO. These learning providers allow you to choose the qualification you would like to take, for instance AVADO offers AAT courses and ACCA course, and then study for it wherever you like in your own time.

This means that you could get the qualification while working or even choose to study it alongside your degree.

4. While you are working in industry

You might be able to get an industry accounting role, or at least start working in the finance team of a company, before you have your accounting qualification. If you can work in a relevant role while studying you will be able to apply everything you learn as well as getting tips from colleagues who have already been through what you are doing.

If you are going to an interview with little educational or professional experience of the accounting industry, think about impressing your interviewee in other ways. Show off your knowledge of current affairs and financial news or discuss something you have read which demonstrates your interest in the sector.

5. As part of your degree

You can begin studying towards a chartered accountancy qualification as part of your degree if it is accredited, for instanced by ICAS. This could exempt you from certain elements of the chartered accountancy qualification and mean you don’t have to take as many exams towards it.

If you choose a non-accountancy related degree or a degree which is not accredited you can either begin studying for your qualification after graduating, or even choose to start it while you are still at university depending on how much work you want to have at once.

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