4.8 out of 5 based on 14076 reviews

4.8/5 from 14076 Reviews

5 Essential Steps to Choose the Best Accountancy Qualification in the UK

Need help determining what accountancy qualification is right for you? Follow these 5 essential steps on how to choose the best accountancy qualification in the UK!

Accounting qualifications are one of the best ways of landing a successful career in the accounting and finance industry. These qualifications empower you with the knowledge and skills needed for your accountancy roles. However, with the vast array of accountancy qualifications UK offers, how do you know what qualification is right for you?

So, in this article, we'll share a 5-step process of choosing a relevant qualification for your career goals.

Determine Your Career Goals

Determine Your Career Goals

The first step in choosing an accounting qualification in the UK is determining your career goals. A clear picture of your career plans is important because different accounting qualifications have different career paths for you.

Remember, there's no single " right " answer to establishing your career prospects. Finding a qualification that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to thrive in your chosen field is more important.

Research Different Accounting Qualifications and Their Awarding Bodies

Research Different Accounting Qualifications and Their Awarding Bodies

Accounting qualifications have their strengths and areas of focus that you need to know before you select one for yourself. The three most recognised awarding bodies that provide these prominent accounting qualifications in the UK are AAT, CIMA, and ACCA. Let's discuss the awarding bodies of these major accountancy qualifications in the UK.

The Association of Accounting Technicians

The Association of Accounting Technicians ( AAT ) is a professional body suitable for those new to accountancy.

AAT offers flexible and beginner-friendly professional qualifications that help you enter bookkeeping roles or hone you to be an accounting technician. These qualifications can even help you pursue higher qualifications from other professional bodies.

e-Careers is an AAT-accredited training provider that trains you with invaluable accounting and finance skills to kickstart your career. We provide AAT's three accounting courses and three short bookkeeping courses to help you develop core skills needed for work.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ( CIMA ) is a professional body catering to individuals focusing on management accounting. CIMA offers professional qualifications that are equivalent to an accounting and finance degree.

Upon completing the professional qualifications, you can apply for a CIMA membership and officially become a Chartered Management Accountant. You can also take it further and earn the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

We at e-Careers provide comprehensive CIMA training qualifications to help you prepare for professional exams and achieve your career goal. We provide CIMA's business accounting qualification and CGMA professional qualifications that equip you with business strategy, management accounting, and finance skills.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ( ACCA ) is a professional body for individuals seeking international chartered accountancy designation.

ACCA offers a highly valued qualification, which awards you with a Chartered Certified Accountant designation upon completion.

Compare Entry Requirements

Compare Entry Requirements

After researching all the major awarding bodies in the industry, the next step is to compare their entry requirements. All qualifications have varying entry requirements. Make sure that your current academic qualifications match their requirements so you can enrol on their programme. Let's discuss the entry requirements for each major accounting qualification below.

CIMA Requirements

While the Professional Qualification Level has high formal entry requirements, you can use CIMA's Certificate in Business Accounting or AAT Level 4 Accounting as a formal entry point to the qualification. CIMA's Certificate in Business Accounting requires zero formal entry requirements for aspiring chartered accountants.

To study the Certificate in Business Accounting and complete the CIMA chartered accountant path, you:

  • At least 16 years of age.
  • Have the willingness to learn bookkeeping skills.
  • Basic numeracy skills.
  • Proficiency in English.
  • Don't need prior work experience in accounting.

ACCA Requirements

If you want to take ACCA, they need college-level qualifications as part of their minimum entry requirements.

To study ACCA qualification, you:

  • Must have two A-Levels and three GCSEs or their equivalent.
  • Don't need prior work experience in accounting.

Consider Your Commitment and Flexibility

Consider Your Commitment and Flexibility

Choosing an accounting qualification is a big decision, and it's important to consider how it will fit into your life. When selecting a qualification, consider the courses' flexibility and your commitment to your studies. Some qualifications offer various study formats that let you take accounting courses full-time or part-time. Make sure that the qualification has a flexible study format that meets your commitment level.

Moreover, accounting qualifications will have vast options for delivering their accounting courses to you. At e-Careers, we provide you with every learning resource to match your learning preference. Our learning resources include our industry-leading e-Learning platform, live online lectures, textbooks, and AAT-approved learning materials.

Evaluate the Course Content and Structure

Evaluate the Course Content and Structure

Finally, the last step in choosing the best accountancy qualification in the UK is evaluating the course content and structure. Accountancy qualifications will cover specific topics, concepts, and practices based on their accounting specialisation. Each qualification will structure its syllabus and courses differently, offering varying depths of knowledge in different areas.

AAT Course Content

AAT has 3 course levels you must complete before becoming eligible for the AAT full membership (MAAT) designation. Here is the course syllabus for each AAT professional accounting level.

Level 2 Certificate in Accounting:

  • Introduction to Bookkeeping
  • Principles of Bookkeeping Controls
  • Principles of Costing
  • The Business Environment

Level 3 Diploma in Accounting:

  • Business Awareness
  • Financial Accounting: Preparing Financial Statements
  • Management Accounting Techniques
  • Tax Processes for Business

Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

  • Applied Management Accounting
  • Drafting and Interpreting Financial Statements
  • Internal Accounting Systems and Controls

When you reach level 4, you can pick two units from the five available optional units. These optional units help you specialise in a particular accounting and finance field.

The five optional units available for you are:

  • Business Tax
  • Personal Tax
  • Audit and Assurance
  • Cash and Financial Management
  • Credit and Debt Management

CIMA Course Content

CIMA qualification has one business accounting course and three professional qualification levels. The qualification also requires a Practical Experience Requirement (PER) or verified relevant work experience before you achieve chartered status. To help you reach the chartered accountancy designation, each professional level has subjects that align with CIMA's three learning pillars: Enterprise, Finance, and Performance.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the course syllabus for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting.

Fundamentals of Business Economics (BA1):

  • Macroeconomic and Institutional Context of Business
  • Microeconomic and Organisational Context of Business
  • Informational Context of Business
  • Financial Context of Business

Fundamentals of Business Economics (BA1):

  • Macroeconomic and Institutional Context of Business
  • Microeconomic and Organisational Context of Business
  • Informational Context of Business
  • Financial Context of Business

Fundamentals of Management Accounting (BA2):

  • The Context of Management Accounting
  • Costing
  • Planning and Control
  • Decision Making

Fundamentals of Financial Accounting (BA3):

  • Accounting Principles, Concepts and Regulations
  • Recording Accounting Transactions
  • Preparation of Accounts for Single Entities
  • Analysis of Financial Statements

Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law (BA4):

  • Business Ethics and Ethical Conflict
  • Corporate Governance, Controls and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • General Principles of the Legal System, Contract and Employment Law
  • Company Administration

Here is the course syllabus for CIMA's professional qualification levels.

CIMA Operational Level:

  • Managing Finance in a digital world (E1)
  • Management Accounting (P1)
  • Finance Reporting (F1)

CIMA Management Level:

  • Managing Performance (E2)
  • Advanced Management Accounting (P2)
  • Advanced Financial Reporting (F2)

CIMA Strategic Level:

  • Strategic Management (E3)
  • Risk Management (P3)
  • Financial Strategy (F3)

ACCA Course Content

ACCA has three exam levels, one module for ethics and professional skills, and a Practical Experience Requirement (PER) before you can become eligible for the Chartered Certified Accountant designation.

Here is the course syllabus for ACCA's professional exams.

Applied Knowledge:

  • Business and Technology
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting

Applied Skills:

  • Corporate and Business Law
  • Taxation
  • Financial Reporting
  • Performance Management
  • 1
  • Financial Management
  • Audit and Assurance

Strategic Professional:

  • Strategic Business Reporting
  • Strategic Business Leader

Aside from these two essential exams, you must take two exams from the four optional exams. These optional topics help you specialise in a particular accounting field.

The four optional exams available for you are:

  • Advanced Financial Management
  • Advanced Auditing and Assurance
  • Advanced Taxation
  • Advanced Performance Management

Conclusion

Overall, the best accounting qualifications to choose are the ones that align with your career prospects, learning style, and preferences. By following these 5 essential steps, you'll navigate well around the nuances of each accounting qualification.

Pursuing your ideal accounting profession is more than just selecting the right accounting qualification for you. More than choosing a qualification, you also need learning resources to guide your accounting journey. And that's where we can help you.

At e-Careers, we help with your AAT or CIMA journey by providing courses and resources crafted by expert accounting instructors in the industry. Having won the PQ Magazine Editor's Choice in 2023, we strive to consistently produce some of the highest pass rates in the country.

Call +44(0) 20 3198 7700 or email us at ask@e-careers.com to speak with our career advisors or visit our Accounting page for more information about our AAT and CIMA courses.

FREE Course Advice
Learn more about how we use your data

Join the thousands of individuals, small businesses, and large corporations who trust e-Careers. ​

Chat with our friendly experts today to discuss your training needs. ​
Speak to a Course Consultant today

Call us now on

+44 (0) 20 3198 7700 Lines open 9am-6pm GMT (Mon-Fri)

Alternatively, you can request a callback​

Enquire Now