ACCA Careers - Career Options
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a professional accountancy body. The ACCA qualification is widely accepted as one of the best qualifications in accountancy.
Students who complete the ACCA qualification can have the initials ACCA after their name and have the option to embark on a wide range of ACCA careers. Students not only gain skills and knowledge in accounting and finance, but they also obtain hugely valuable skills in areas such as organisational management and strategy. As well as ACCA careers in chartered accounting, ACCA-qualified students can work in many other areas of finance, including banking, auditing, consulting, taxation and law, as well as other general areas of business management.
The ACCA qualification is the equivalent to a full university degree. It is a flexible qualification in that students have up to ten years to complete all of the 14 exams, and they can study in the format that best suits their requirements, such as online tuition or attending courses. During that time, students may already work in an accountancy setting, which may make them exempt from some of the examinations.
The flexibility of the course and the wide range of skills gained mean that pathways for ACCA careers are varied and exist at all different levels. Many students begin their ACCA careers in entry-level positions, such as in accounts payable/receivable, for a range of organisations. Further tuition and experience can lead to more senior positions over time, such as a financial controller or director.
Public practice accountants provide advice to individuals, businesses and governments, offering services such as business support, tax advice, auditing, insolvency or forensic accountancy, for instance. Accountants working in the public sector oversee projects, work on budgets and track costs for public sector projects. Those accountants working in the corporate sector work to maximise profits and meet government financial requirements. Many accountants also work in the financial services sector, covering banking, insurance, investments and pensions.
Advisory roles are also a big component of ACCA careers and include consultancy areas covering corporate services, mergers and acquisitions, loan applications support, advice on risk and business development. The work can vary enormously, depending on the client's requirements, and often involves collaboration with tax and audit experts. Careers usually start at trainee level, with staff working their way up to more senior positions.
Auditing is also a popular career pathway and involves giving an opinion on the financial statements of a company based on a set of approved standards. Entry-level positions in auditing require the candidate to possess a degree in accounting or finance or a professional accounting qualification such as ACCA. Career progression within auditing tends to be very structured, and auditing is considered one of the most challenging areas of accountancy.
Tax is another career pathway for ACCA students, with a wide range of tax advisory services available. Career development in tax is generally structured, and continual further training to keep up with changes in regulations is a necessary part of this area of work. Trainees usually start out as an assistant and can work their way up to senior manager or director level.
Our Finance & Accountancy Salary Survey 2015 is now available.