Accounting qualifications: How to become an Accountant

Accounting qualifications

Accounting qualifications: How to become an Accountant

Whether you are switching careers or just starting out, getting the right accounting qualifications is essential for a role in this field. An accounting career accessible to people of all levels and backgrounds. There are accountancy courses and roles suitable for anybody including retraining and beginners.

What skills do you need to become an accountant?

As a profession, accounting attracts people with various skill sets and qualities. Broadly speaking, to carve out a career in accounting you’ll need the following skills:

Analytical skills

Having a good eye for detail is essential for a successful accounting career. You’ll need to be able to accurately work with and report on data. It will also be your responsibility to spot any discrepancies and make sure the data is accurate.

Communication skills

As an accountant, your job means conveying important and complex information to others. You’ll also need to work with others, so being able to get along with people of all levels is important.

Business Acumen

While working as an accountant you’ll need to understand the basics of running a company. This includes understanding how accounting supports other areas of the business.

What does Accountancy involve?

A normal day in the life of an accountant depends on the role you have and the type of organisation you work in. Daily duties for accountants include:

  • Preparing and filing tax returns
  • Performing monthly or weekly payroll processes
  • Controlling income and expenditure
  • Auditing accounts and other financial information
  • Preparing and presenting reports, budgets, financial statements and adding to business plans
  • Plus, much more

What accounting qualifications do you need?

There are different qualifications depending on the expertise you wish to achieve. The most popular qualifications are;

  • AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications. There are four different courses covering different qualifications. They are AAT Accounting qualifications, AAT bookkeeping qualifications, AAT business skills qualifications, and AAT essentials one-day finance training programs.
  • ACA qualifications provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). This course consists of a mixture of 15 exam modules and 450 days of practical work experience.
  • ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Qualifications. The ACCA qualification is amongst the most recognised qualifications for aspiring accounting professionals. To start studying with ACCA you’ll need two A levels and three GCSEs in five separate subjects. This includes English and Maths (or equivalent)

An ACCA qualification is ranked at Masters level and on completion students become an ACCA member.

  • CIMA business finance award provided by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. This course requires students to have already gained a postgraduate-level CIMA certificate in Business Accounting. On successful completion students are awarded the status of Chartered Global Management Accountant.

 Add to your accounting skills with online courses    

Once you have completed an accountancy course there’s no time to rest on your laurels. Keeping up to date with changes to accounting software will set you apart in your profession. Regularly updating your knowledge should be a natural part of your routine.

Keep on top of industry and software changes by completing online training courses, such as the Sage 50 Accounts course. Learn step by step and fully understand the features of Sage 50 Accounts in your own time.

Sage 50 Accounts is used by more than 300,000 companies in the UK and a Sage qualification will go a long way on your CV. In fact, many accounting jobs now require applicants to be competent using the latest Sage software package.


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