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Which Accountancy Qualification for Banking?

Which Accountancy Qualification? AAT, CIMA, CIPFA, ACA,ACCA

There are many different qualification routes to becoming an accountant. There is the university honours degree, which can be enhanced with a master's degree. Secondly, there is the AAT route, which can be commenced from the age of sixteen upwards and usually works in conjunction with complementary employment in an accounting-related environment. Finally, there are the more traditional routes of CIMA, CIPFA, ACA and ACCA. These four professional accountancy bodies provide various ways to enhance the level of expertise in any given specialism.

CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 

The CIMA, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants broadly aims its module structures at industry, in particular the techniques related to costing and efficient productivity.

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants

The CIFPA, Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants primarily for those working in local and central government, with certain compulsory modules related to specific regulations regarding the dos and don'ts of accounting for public money.

ACA, the Association of Chartered Accountants

The ACA, Association of Chartered Accountants generally is broad in it's spectrum of study as it is one of the main providers of qualifications that underpin private accountancy practices which offer audit, tax and general accountancy services. The employees of such partnerships are required to deal with a vast range of clients, which means their understanding ofaccountancy and financial regulations has to be flexible enough to cover anything from a butcher's shop to a large housing association.


ACCA, the Association for Certified Accountants

The ACCA, Association for Certified Accountants produces a qualification very similar to ACA in its focus, with one of the main differences between ACCA and ACA being that ACA requires all students to be articled for a minimum of three years to guarantee that they are given the required broad range of training while studying towards their qualification.


There is no actual accountancy qualification tailored specifically towards the banking industry

However, in general accountancy skills are highly transferable. At the core of any accounting qualification is the concept of double entry, together a thorough understanding of current statements of standard accounting practice. All routes of study will incorporate these at an in-depth level. The guidelines for recommended accounting practice, together with the specific financial regulations relating to the banking sector, effectively bridge the gap between the formal training route and the required specific knowledge base within banking.


Effectively, therefore, all accountancy qualifications can be the basis for a successful accounting career in the banking sector. 

However, due to the broader nature of the module bases and the equal emphasis placed on audit and tax when it comes to the actual accounting methods studied, the ACA and ACCA tend to be better choices than the alternative routes.

Written by Adam Tachauer of Circle Square  

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