There are four main qualifications that you could get to be able to work as an accountant:
Some of those qualifications do not require you to hold a university degree in accounting, most of them are accessible with a mix of GCSEs and A-levels. However, most of them will allow you to skip parts of the exams if you hold a relevant university degree.
In most cases, professional accountants first complete a university degree in Finance and Accounting before enrolling in one of this Accounting qualification programs.
So which university course should you take to get on track with your career in accounting?
Accounting is the universal language that everyone in the world of business, finance and commerce will understand. As an accountant, your job will be to evaluate, process, interpret and report financial information about a company or a financial institution to a variety of concerned parties, including investors, creditors, management, lawmakers and the general public to facilitate improvements and adherence to established rules and guidelines.
Most people think that accountants are merely glorified calculus practitioner, but in reality, accountancy is a multidisciplinary profession. Accountants are trained in fields such as technology, law, statistics, business and economics. From preparing financial statement analysis to budgeting or completing tax returns, an accountant is a master of business.
Besides, there is a wide variety of accounting disciplines: financial accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, taxation, fiduciary, and forensic accounting. Each of these branches of accounting requires accountants to specialise through different courses and to gain practical knowledge through work experience.
This job requires a lot of studying, on average it takes three to four years to get one of the above accounting qualifications, even if you hold a university degree. You will also have to go through a work placement to gain practical experience, which is often mandatory for the completion of your certification.
Accounting is one of the safest jobs in the world. Since the industrial revolution and the diversification of the manufacturing and banking sectors, the need for accountants never stopped. Through recession and economic crisis, accountants have held their positions and were identified as one of the most essential roles in any business.
Once you hold an accounting qualification, you can pretty much work in any industry you would like or maybe join one of the Big Four accounting firms: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG or Ernst & Young. Combined, those four companies audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 Index.
As well as working anywhere in the world, accountants are often very well compensated for their work. In the UK, the average salary for accountants ranges from £45,000 to £64,000 a year, two to three times the national median yearly wage.
Accountants role have evolved from counting every penny coming in and going out of a company’s account, to become a highly specialised field giving technical advice on complicated financial issues.
The British capital, the economic centre of the country and one of the major financial hub of Europe is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to study accounting.
Many majors banks are bases in the capital, and the Big Four all have offices across town. But which university course should you pick to begin your accounting career?
The LSE is a public research university located in London and is one of the 18 institutions members of the University of London. It was founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb and joined the University of London, essentially becoming the Economic Faculty of the collegiate.
When the LSE started its BSc in Economics, it became the first British university to offer a Bachelor degree in social sciences. Today, the LSE has been recognised as one of the best universities in the country, continually ranking in the top 15 in national surveys. It also ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide.
The Bachelors in Accounting and Finance on offer at the LSE is a three year, full-time course that will teach you everything to know about modern accounting techniques, current legislation and it will give you the necessary tools for you to be able to analyse and assess the suitability of accounting and finance techniques in different contexts.
Graduates from the LSE are widely sought after, both in the public and private sectors.
London is not the only city to offer great options when it comes to accounting classes. Manchester was the first industrialised city in the world. The former centre of the cotton industry, Manchester is today one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. It is also the home to more multi-millionaires than anywhere outside London.
The BA (Hons) Economic and Social Studies programme – or BAEcon – is a long-established and popular degree. This bachelor degree offers a wide range of internationally recognised and research-led teachings in accounting, finance, economics and law taught by a panel of experts in their fields.
The university also benefits from close working relationships with three of the leading accounting qualification institutions, the ICAEW, the CIMA and the ACCA. The university also has strong ties with international businesses such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kellogg’s and Rolls Royce.
Some of the courses that you will have to follow during your first year include Financial Reporting, Introductory Management Accounting, Financial Decision Making, Introduction to Development Studies, Introductory Mathematics, Advanced Mathematics, Advanced Statistics, Computing for Social Scientists and Microeconomic Analysis.
At the end of the three years of studies and with your BAEcon in Accounting and Finance in hand, you will have the opportunity to pick pretty much any accounting job you want or maybe continue your studies towards a masters degree.
Today’s accountants usually don’t use old style calculators, and most accounting tasks are done by accounting software.
As the second largest economy in the UK, the third most globally influential city in the country after London and Manchester and with an economy worth £65 billions a year, Birmingham is very much on top of the financial world.
For all the Brummies out there with a knack for numbers and an eagerness to make a name for yourself in the world of finance, Birmingham does not lack options.
With this three years accounting program provided by Birmingham University, you could choose any financial career you would like: accountant, auditor, tax specialist, financial analyst, fund manager, trader, broker or investment researcher.
The core module of the curriculum will include:
With such a wide range of knowledge, every student graduating from Birmingham University will be ready to take on the world of accounting.
Note that like most universities, the Birmingham University will require that you have at least three A-levels, as well as a mandatory GCSE in Mathematics at grade 6/B. However the university will also accept (on a case by case basis) students with a BTEC Diploma in Business, an AAT level 3 Diploma in Accounting, a Certificate in Financial Studies, a Diploma in Financial Studies or an EDI Level 3 Certificate in Accounting.
Thanks to the Internet and technology, you can also follow an entire accounting course from the comfort of your home.
Online courses are an excellent choice for those wanting more financially flexible and less time constraining courses than those provided by classic universities.
The London School of Business and Finance will let you study your whole ACCA qualification online through the InterActive platform. The same requirement of eligibility apply and depending on your studying rate, it could take you anywhere between six to 30 months to get your ACCA qualification.
The ICS is AAT accredited meaning that you could follow any of the AAT course from your computer. All you will have to do is choose which Accountancy and Bookkeeping course you want to take. With a diploma from the Association of Accounting Technicians, you are assured to be earning a decent income as an AAT Certified Public Accountant averages £49,500 a year.
The AAT qualification also opens many careers, and you could choose to become a Finance officer, a Cost accountant, a Payroll manager, a Commercial Analyst, a Senior bookkeeper or even an Accounts administrator.
With more than 4,000 accounting tutors registered on our platform, Superprof’s got you covered. If you need some help with your ACCA qualification or you want some help in preparation of that Economics exam coming up, the tutors on Superprof will be there to help you.
Many of them are Accounting and Finance post-graduates or certified accountant that desire to help future accountants further their studies and career. Have a look, read the comments left by previous tutorees and pick the accounting tutor that you prefer the most. Easy!
For more information on studying accounting, see our blogs covering the following: