5 things you should know about becoming an ACCA qualified accountant

By Robert Half 9th March 2017

There are many benefits to becoming a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) - the global professional body offering the ACCA chartered accountant qualification. With over 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, it is a highly-respected organisation within the finance sector. The body's qualifications are benchmarked against education levels around the world, and recognised by key regulatory authorities, to ensure only high-calibre individuals become ACCA accountants.

Related: How to become an accountant

If you are training to become (or are) an ACCA chartered accountant, or if you’re deciding whether to choose a CIMA vs ACCA qualification, here's what you need to know:

1. ACCA chartered accountants are highly respected

As an ACCA chartered accountant, you'll have the opportunity to work anywhere you choose, in any business sector, at home or internationally. Employers know they are getting someone who has up-to-date technical skills and knowledge, and as such, is able to deliver for their organisation. This is because, as an ACCA chartered accountant, you've committed to continue your professional development. Supported by a body known for its commitment for driving standards of professionalism, ethics, integrity and accountability, you'll be able to develop your career and earn a higher chartered accountant salary.

2. ACCA qualifications should be on your CV

On your way to ACCA membership, you may study for a number of qualifications, including a Diploma in Accounting and Business, an Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business and a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Accounting (awarded by Oxford Brookes University). Being able to document these professional achievements on your CV can show your knowledge and skills, and potentially differentiate you from other candidates.

As well as your qualifications - culminating in your Chartered Certified Accountant status - you should also document your minimum three years of relevant accountancy experience in a prominent place on your CV. Include all roles you have held, responsibilities you have taken on, the skills you have gained and the value you added to employers.

3. ACCA accountants should keep learning

As an ACCA chartered accountant and member, you are required to continue your professional development. But this shouldn't be considered a tick-box exercise - you should view training, coaching and further learning as being an investment in your career. The nature of accountancy is changing; as the finance function moves ever closer to the centre of business, the role accountants play is changing with it. As such, it is important to keep up to date, learn new skills and techniques, and document your progress on your CV to show your commitment.

4. ACCA accountants have various career options

Gaining Chartered Certified Accountant status ensures you have a range of career options. For instance, you could choose to work in tax, audit or advisory roles. You may opt to work as an in-house accountant or for a specialist firm, in a large organisation or SME. The demand for skilled ACCA chartered accountants is rising across all industries, in both the public and private sector. Demand for accounting experts is relatively stable regardless of economic conditions; there is a need for skilled finance staff in times of both boom and bust.

5. Chartered Accountancy Salary: ACCA accountants can earn more

As an ACCA chartered accountant, you have the opportunity to negotiate higher pay due to the ACCA salary payscale and secure progression to more senior roles. You need to be able to demonstrate the additional value you can add, as a result of being an ACCA member. In the case of accounting degree vs ACCA, the Robert Half Salary Guide reveals that the average group accountant, working for a large organisation, can expect to earn between £47,000 and £75,500 this year, while a cost accountant working for smaller organisation should take home between £39,000 and £45,500. As an ACCA qualified accountant (calculate yours here), you may be able to negotiate a salary in the upper end of these brackets, as employers will be keen to secure your services.

How to become a chartered accountant - ACCA

If you are left thinking, "how do I become an ACCA chartered accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)?", because they offer entry to those with no qualifications as well as people with advanced qualifications, the time it takes to complete the process can vary. The ACCA advise working and studying simultaneously for the fastest results, which they predict could take as little as three or four years.

Related: Find out how to get started with ACCA

CIMA qualified and looking for career advice? Check out these 5 essential points to boost your career.

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