How To Become A Qualified Professional In Accounting

This question may be raised by anyone who is going to build his career in accountancy profession. Of course it’s very natural that smart people always keen to get some proof of the competence and skills they possess. Same happened with me when I’ve just started my career in accountancy firm, but it was easy for me to decide on as there were too many good advisers around. However there are lots of people who considering to develop in accounting but they are currently not employed in any accounting area and don’t have any relevant academic background.

Therefore, in this article I’ll try to briefly address the following issues:

* What do you need for obtaining professional qualification and becoming recognized in accountancy profession ?

Professional qualification in accounting is granted through various certificates issued by accounting bodies in the most countries worldwide. This qualification can be obtained after you already have some academic degree. Such bodies are acting throughout the world in the form of organizations, associations, societies, etc. Mainly they all have 2 objectives:

Protect public interests by setting high standards in profession’s practice (including certification process) and protect interests of professionals. However in real life their activities often repeat ones of labor unions.

But today across the job market accountants possessing such qualifications are considered to be capable and credible for wide range of careers, offered higher positions and paid almost twice more than those who doesn’t have it. Apart from that accounting qualification automatically gives an opportunity for ordinary accountant to be promoted for managing positions in any company.

There is a presumption that such qualification is necessary only for people who work in practice (under practice it means companies providing accounting, auditing, tax, financial advisory and similar services). But even assuming it to be partially fair, it doesn’t still mean that possessing such qualifications in industry will not entitle you to higher salaries and opportunities.

* What are the most recognized and respected professional qualifications in accounting ?

Mainly all such certificates can be obtained upon passing certain set of examinations and proving practical experience. However most of accounting certificates are recognized only within the country where the issuer (professional body or institution) resides. When it comes to internationally recognized and really valuable certifications there are not so many around the world. If we take only those which may really add value to your resume records the list will be like following:

ACCA – issued by UK based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (www.accaglobal.com). – more practice oriented, internationally recognized certificate.

ACA – issued by UK based Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. www1.icaew.co.uk – more practice oriented certificate.

CIMA – issued by UK based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. www.cimaglobal.com – more industry and management accounting oriented.

CPA – issued by USA based American Institute of Certified Public Accountants www.aicpa.org – widely recognized in practice and industry within US and Canada.

* What are entry requirements for starting professional qualification ?

Minimum entry requirements vary depending on country, but the most of professional qualifications in accounting are open to anybody with some previous higher education. In some countries it even possible for school leavers to start with certain terms and conditions met. For more details you should refer to web pages of bodies stated above.

Generally what you need for sure, it is good skills of English especially written. Previous experience or knowledge of basic accounting would be an asset as well, but not that critical.

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