Alternative Routes Into Accountancy
23 March 2017
Accountancy can often be viewed as a career path for the elite – straight A students who have soared through university without too much of a struggle. The reality is that there are plenty of alternative routes into accountancy. Whilst a university degree would immediately attract employers, there are ways to achieve a role in the industry without ever having set foot in a higher education institution.
The first step to a successful career isn’t always the obvious one. Many people make their way into accountancy via an admin role. Or maybe they simply had to cover for someone who was on holiday and realised they have a natural flair for the role.
If you’re just on the cusp of leaving school and don’t fancy another four years in full-time education, you can still get access to qualifications and a career within accountancy.
There are a wide range of school leaver apprenticeships on offer, providing you with both on-the-job experience and an exciting alternative to university. You can work towards your qualifications at the same time as being in full-time employment – meaning you’re taking home a wage whilst you learn.
Depending on your employer, you may also have the opportunity to progress on to a chartered qualification in the future.
You can work towards qualifications such as AAT which provides a good understanding and basis for working towards your chartered qualifications such as ACCA or CIMA. In addition, by working whilst you learn, you can also become ‘qualified by experience.’ Employers can often contribute towards the cost of studying for these qualifications and provide the necessary time off to study which makes it more achievable for candidates. Dependent on your study contract with your employer, this often means that you achieve your qualification debt free.
But if that seems unsuitable, there is also the opportunity to study at night school. Training centres such as Kaplan Glasgow offer a wide range of qualifications from bookkeeping to Foundations in Accountancy. Dependent on the level of your qualification, these courses can require you to have practical exposure to working in an accounts department in order to pass.
In actual fact, if you undertake exams whilst you are working, you’ll become a qualified chartered accountant one whole year quicker than someone who went to university.
If you have secured work with an accountancy department and prove to be adept at using their particular software and Excel spreadsheets, there is always the chance that your line manager may recognise your talent and suggest that you pursue the appropriate qualifications to progress your career.
All and any experience within an accountancy department will prove valuable.
More often than not, if you demonstrate reliability and enthusiasm, this will also stand you in good stead. Soft skills, such as strong interpersonal communication, are also markers of a good candidate.
You should also take the opportunity to attend any networking events, conferences or seminars that you are able to. This will give you a chance to get a deeper understanding of the market and talk to others who could provide you with career advice.
Not having a degree in accountancy should not hold you back from pursuing a career. If you have just left school or are ten years in to working life, there are plenty of ways to achieve qualifications.
If you would like to speak to me about opportunities within accountancy, click here for my contact details.
Written By Eilidh Black