What to do after ACCA

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An ACCA qualification can open many doors and many opportunities. But once you’ve passed your exams, what should you do next? Besides celebrating of course. In this blog, we’ll talk about the options available to qualified ACCA accountants, so you feel more confident about your next steps.

What jobs can I get with an ACCA qualification?

Most students go on to work as Certified Chartered Accountants. Once qualified, you have the freedom to pick a company and a role that suits you. After all, accountants are needed in all kinds of industries. The average salary for an associate or accounts clerk is around £23,000 per annum*. And with three to five years’ experience, you could earn up to £90,000 per annum.**

Here are just some of the jobs you could expect to get with an ACCA qualification:

  • Management Accountant
  • Financial Accountant
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • Financial Controller
  • Finance Manager
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Auditor
  • Tax Specialist

As a full ACCA member, you’ll be able to include the letters after your name, giving you full recognition in 179 operating countries. So if you’re looking to become self-employed, it’s an ideal way to boost your prospects with their world-class reputation. You’ll also have access to a range of CPD (continuing professional development) materials to further develop your skills.

What options do I have after ACCA?

Gain an MBA or MSC
If you have ambitions to reach the top, pursuing a type of master’s degree could be your ticket. An MBA focuses more on business aspects and is likely to land you a role such as Chief Financial Officer or Senior Financial Analyst. On the other hand, an MSC covers more maths, science, and technology. Both options can take you onto management or analyst roles, but which one you choose depends on your skills and interests. There are even some universities that offer combined law and accounting degrees.

Just keep in mind that you’ll ideally want a few years’ working experience before moving onto levels like these.

Become self employed
The beauty of an accounting role is that you have the option to work on your own terms. With an ACCA qualification, enough experience, and some confidence, you’re free to go solo. Work in all kinds of industries around the globe. No matter what you’re interested in, you can be sure that there’s a demand. Even if you decide not to move countries, you can fit your work around your lifestyle and eventually choose who you do or don’t work with. For more information, take a look at our blog on becoming a self-employed accountant.

To better help you decide which option could be best for you, consider these three questions:

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Do you aspire to start your own firm? Perhaps you’re particularly interested in becoming an auditor? The path you’ll need to take can differ depending on where you want to be.

2. What are you interested in?
Consider the core accountancy roles available, then decide where you might need to broaden your knowledge or upskill.

3. Do you want to explore outside of the finance industry?
Some accountants choose to undertake a business or management degree and work their way up to more senior roles. Instead of carrying out day-to-day jobs, they’re likely to be running a department or calling the shots financially at the top of the business world.

Our best advice is to research your options and find the right route for you. Keep your eye on the job market during your studies and find out what’s out there. If you’re not sure, don’t worry as you do have time to breathe after studying. Make sure you feel confident in your next steps and you’ll have a greater chance of success.

Can I do CFA after ACCA?

Chartered Financial Analyst status is a globally recognised and common qualification for many accountants who’ve completed an ACCA course.

To become a charter holder, students must:

  1. Pass all 3 levels of the exam.
  2. Have qualified work experience before, during, or after studying.
  3. Supply 2-3 reference letters.
  4. Apply to join the Institute (includes completing a professional conduct statement and becoming an affiliate of a local chapter.)

Potential roles for those who are CFA certified include Asset Management, Risk Management, Consulting, and Corporate Banking.

Each exam comes with a minimum of 300 study hours, which can increase if you have to re-sit. To put this into perspective, the average pass rate (over 10 years) for Level I is 40%, Level II is 43%, and Level III is 51%.*** It takes time, dedication, and of course money, so you’ll need to be sure it’s what you want to do before you start.

However, it does bring attractive salaries and benefits. The average UK salary for a Chartered Financial Analyst is £51,000 per annum. In contrast, a Financial Analyst makes on average £39,000 per annum.****

The simple answer is yes, you can do CFA after ACCA! And many accountants do. But you’ll need to weigh up the money and time that goes into getting CFA status to determine if it’s right for you. As a Chartered Certified Accountant, you’ll already have a wealth of expertise to match a host of careers. But adding new accolades to your toolbelt will always help you stand out from the crowd.

Continue your ACCA studies today

Ultimately, you’re free to develop your career even further. However you want to. From continuing studies to gaining more work experience, you’ll have support as an ACCA member to take your skills to the next level. Staying relevant and keeping a competitive edge will open even more doors for you.

If you’re studying ACCA, or want to start, why not take a look at our affordable subscriptions? We’re here to help you achieve your goals.

*Source: Total Jobs
**Source: ACCA Salary Survey
***Source: Investopedia
****Source: Kaplan