Accounting professionals generally hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree when pursuing a career in the banking or accountancy sector, and the various accountancy qualifications available will assist you when looking to launch your finance and accountancy career.
Because of the vast array of accounting qualifications available, it can seem quite overwhelming when faced with abbreviations such as ACA, CIMA and CIPFA. The qualification you choose will depend on what you have previously studied, and what career path you wish to go down. Accounting qualifications are primarily focused on nurturing your understanding of subjects such as economics, mathematics, as well as other key skills.
These accounting courses can be taken at any stage of your career, and each has varied entry points to make them as accessible as possible.
Learn more about different types of accounting qualifications below and if you want to learn more about studying accountancy in the UK, arrange your free consultation with SI-UK London today.
Different Types of Accountancy Qualifications in the UK
The AAT qualification (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the starting point for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in accountancy but has no prior experience. The AAT Level 1 is equivalent to accounting technician level, whilst the AAT Level 2 is Equivalent to GCSE and AAT Level 3 to two A-Levels.
The ACCA qualification (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a graduate entry route into the accountancy industry. An ACCA course is generally completed in 3-4 years and, in order to gain an ACCA qualification, candidates will need to:
- Complete a maximum of 13 exams, depending on prior experience and qualifications
- Complete an Ethics and Professional Skills module
- Show evidence three years of practical work experience in an industry relevant role
ACA is a professional level examination that is available for finance professionals. Students who complete the ACA qualification are rewarded with the title of “ICAEW Chartered Accountant'' and there are 15 examination modules that test applicants on topics such as financial management, business, law and much more.
The ACA qualification can be achieved by following one of the many routes available, but there is a mandatory requirement of acquiring 450 days of work experience at an ICAEW authorised training employer beforehand
- ACA eligibility requirement: A recognized degree from a UK university (or any international equivalent), or any award which is comparable to GCSE and A-Level entry requirements.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a finance qualification that helps in acquiring the designation of a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
On average, the completion of a CIMA qualification can take 3-6 years, during which 12 exams are required to be passed by all applicants. Depending on the student's background, the route of CIMA can vary as there are different paths for undergraduates, graduates and CMA graduates, etc.
CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance) is one of the only finance bodies that is dedicated to public finance services. The syllabus of these examinations includes, but is not limited to, green finance, data analytics, ethical accounting and more.
Students generally need 3-4 years to complete the CIPFA qualification but it can alter or change depending on the qualification and work experience of the candidate. The exams are held in four stages and consist of 12 modules, training an individual with technical knowledge and exposure to public sector functioning.
- CIPFA eligibility requirement: Three GCSEs, grades A-C and two A-levels, grades A-C or equivalent. BTEC and SCOTVEC national certificates are acceptable as well. If a candidate has work experience of 3 years but not the right academic experience even then they can appear for the CIPFA examination.
Study Accountancy in the UK
If you wish to study accountancy in the UK, book a free consultation with SI-UK London's education experts today.