So you’re thinking of becoming an Accountant?

So you’re thinking of becoming an accountant. What routes can you take?

Accounting is a well-respected and in-demand profession, and there are many different ways to become an accountant. With exam season fast approaching and following last months National Careers Week 2023, we thought now is the perfect time to explore the different paths you can take to become an accountant. Spoiler alert: there are many more routes than you might think!

Let’s look at the most common routes to becoming an accountant, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities that you may face along the way.

Let’s first address a few challenges and debunk some common misconceptions about becoming an accountant.

While it’s true that being good with numbers is a big plus, you don’t need to be a maths prodigy to make it as an accountant. A solid understanding of numbers is important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.

No – not true at all! Many people follow the academic route to qualification, but you don’t need a degree to become an accountant. We’ll explore the alternatives in a moment.

If you do choose the degree route, it doesn’t mean you’re limited to accounting, maths, or economics. In fact, languages or sciences can be just as useful in your accountancy career.

Now that we’ve cleared up a few misconceptions, let’s take a look at the different paths you can follow to become an accountant.

If you enjoy studying and want to gain a degree, this might be the path for you. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily have to study accounting, maths, or economics; any degree can be a useful stepping stone. Once you’ve graduated, you can then pursue professional qualifications like the ACA, ACCA or CIMA to become a fully-qualified accountant.

But of course, you can also take an undergraduate course. There are many universities in the UK that offer undergraduate programs. These are typically courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation. You’ll learn about different types of businesses and how they operate. You’ll also learn to develop skills in financial analysis and reporting.

Do you prefer a more hands-on approach? Then apprenticeships offer an excellent way to gain practical experience while working towards a professional qualification. Apprenticeships are available at various levels, from intermediate (Level 2) up to degree (Level 6) and beyond. You can choose the one that suits you best.

You’ll typically work for a company or organisation that offers accounting services. You’ll learn about the different aspects of accounting by working on real-world projects, and you’ll also receive formal training from your employer.

Maybe you don’t want to study accounting at university or take an apprenticeship, and yet accountancy still attracts you. In this case, you can become an accountant by taking professional qualifications. There are many available, some of which are recognised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

If you opt for this route, you’ll study at home or through a distance learning program. You’ll learn about the different aspects of accounting by taking courses and exams. You’ll also be able to gain practical experience by working on real-world projects.

Inevitably, for those who are keen on a career in accountancy, there will be challenges. After all, what worthwhile occupation comes without a challenge or two? One of the biggest is that accounting is a highly competitive profession. There are many qualified accountants in the UK – you’ll need to make sure that you have the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

Accounting can be demanding too. Accountants often work long hours, and can have lots of travel time.

Do these challenges outweigh the enormous opportunities? Accountancy also provides countless opportunities – opportunities that come with working in a variety of industries and in numerous specialist areas. Do the challenges outweigh these opportunities? Only you can decide.

If accountancy appeals to you, then there are many different routes that you can take. Which is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. No matter which route you choose, you’ll need to be prepared to work hard and to be committed to your career.

When it comes to deciding which path is right for you, consider your personal strengths, interests, and goals. If you’re still unsure, you can watch our video and read our people stories (link below) -you’ll see not all journeys into accountancy are the same and each member of our team has their own story. You can also drop us a line to find out more about what’s involved. We can offer valuable insights and advice based on our own experiences. 

At Dux Advisory, we’re committed to helping new accountants to develop a successful future, one step at a time. Hear from some of our team and learn about their paths to accountancy here. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive place to work, where each member of our team has experienced their own unique journey into accountancy. So why not start yours today?