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How to become an accountant without an accounting degree

How to become an accountant without an accounting degree

You might be pleased to hear that a degree is not necessary for a career in accounting. While many people with a passion for accountancy are eager to study the subject at university, they will still need to gain a vocational qualification after graduating. A degree gives you useful theoretical knowledge, but there are qualifications available that will arm you with the practical skills needed for a successful career.

Positions in the field of accounting that do not require a degree include bookkeeper, accounting clerk and auditing clerk. The requirements for these combine formal education and on-the-job accounting training. You need high school GCSE’s and some college qualifications. Basic math and computer skills are essential. You should be detail-oriented and honest. Useful college courses include basic bookkeeping and accounting, as well as classes teaching the use of spreadsheets and other accounting software.

On-the-job training takes up to six months. In large companies, the training may be through a formal accounting training program. A small business might pair you with a supervisor or experienced co-worker. You'll learn how to use specialised software and follow your employer's procedures.

What are the most popular accounting qualifications?

  • AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting courses - made up of three qualifications across three levels, they combine industry knowledge and practical work skills.
  • ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualifications - comprise of two levels; Fundamentals and Professionals. Modules cover a variety of topics from corporate and business law to audit and assurance.
  • ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) chartered accountant status - also referred to as the ACA, this qualification consists of three to five years of practical work experience and the completion of 13 modules.
  • CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) business finance award - oversees the widely-recognised CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), which requires you to have already gained the postgraduate-level Certificate in Business Accounting.

Many accountancy firms will accept qualifications from any board, but if you have a definite career path in mind it's worth taking a look into the preferred qualifications of that specialism. For example, if you're interested in becoming a chartered accountant, you'll need to have studied for the ACCA qualification and have three years' work experience in a relevant role. It usually takes around four years in total to become fully qualified.

You can become a chartered accountant without a degree. You can apply for the ACCA qualification with a combination of GCSEs and A-levels. However, by already holding a degree or Masters in any subject, this may make you exempt from some of the exams. Even without any formal academic qualifications, you can enter the accounting profession and study at the foundation level first.

Want to become an accountant and looking for finance training that suits you? Find out more about the financial accounting courses we offer today!

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