There are many different ways to become an accountant and you don’t always have to go through University to become one. University however is the most common way of becoming an accountant and the option that the majority of people think about for a career path into accountancy. To gain a place on an accounting course at University you will usually be expected to have good GCSE grades in English, Maths and Science, with many Universities wanting a grade C minimum.
It is also important to have 3 A levels with many Universities showing preferences for A levels in business, accounting or economics. It is essential to have a strong academic history in mathematics because this is necessary for an accounting degree. The best University accountancy degree programs are Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ACA) programs. This is because the ACA is a leading business and finance qualification which is recognised internationally and therefore will open doors to a number of future career prospects.
There are however other routes to go through in order to become an accountant such as courses and qualifications from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). The AAT is broken into 3 levels; level 2 Certificate for Accounting, level 3 Diploma and level 4 Diploma which will provide you with the skills and knowledge to further your career. The AAT is essentially a fast track on the way to becoming an accountant without going to University and it means you can fast track to the ACA. You do not need any qualifications to study for an AAT at the lowest level and if you do have qualifications such as A-levels then you may be able to go straight onto a higher AAT level. Once you reach the highest level and receive the AAT Diploma then you can fast track onto the ACA qualification.
The AAT-ACA Fast track has been designed to encourage students to further themselves with an ACA qualification to be on the way to a chartered accountant. The AAT works closely with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) so that people can go on to studying for the ACA qualification. A person who takes this route can actually become qualified quicker than those who take the University route.
Usually training will last between 3-5 years but this varies dependent on the entry route taken into the ACA. Those who do the AAT-ACA fast track can actually complete the qualification in a minimum of four years. If you are a fast paced worker then you can achieve this in four years otherwise you can fit it to suit you studying styles.
There are many different routes to take to become an accountant. Ultimately the best qualification is that of the ACA qualification. It does not matter how you get to this qualification whether through university if you have the A-level grades or through a different route such as AAT as mentioned above. There are many other routes too such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offering Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualifications which can eventually help you achieve an ACA qualification.