ACA / CIMA / ACCA

Accountancy is becoming an increasingly popular career choice for many recent graduates, as the opportunities span across many different industries and locations. Bijan Golchin has analysed the different qualifications available to those wanting to pursue a career in this field.

accountancyThe accountancy profession is increasingly becoming a more and more attractive option to recent university graduates. The benefits are clear. In an increasingly global financial market, accountancy has transformed from being an industry of taxmen and bookkeepers to an industry of highly specialised financial experts.

Careers cut across many different industries and across many different locations. Moreover, progression opportunities within accountancy have never been better with an increasing number of FTSE 100 CEOs coming from an accountancy or financial management background. As a graduate an important step in this direction is to complete an accountancy qualification.

For recent graduates looking to embark on a career in accountancy there are three main study options; the ACA / CIMA / ACCA qualification. Each qualification has its virtues and advantages.

CIMA qualification

Studying for CIMA will involve passing 14 examinations, although many degrees provide exemptions to some of these. University of Bath research suggests that a CIMA qualification covers more management accounting, more business strategy and more financial strategy material than the ACCA syllabus. CIMA qualified accounts will typically choose careers within industry in forward thinking and strategy based roles. We would recommend CIMA for graduates looking for a career primarily in business and industry.

ACCA qualification

The ACCA in comparison tends to be more focused on financial accounting and technical practices of accountancy. The ACCA qualification will also require 14 examinations to be taken, although a degree in accounting and finance or similar can exempt you from the majority of these. Industry evidence suggests that the ACCA will give you a stronger grounding in accounting principles than CIMA but at the cost of management reporting and corporate strategy. We would recommend ACCA for graduates looking for a career primarily in practice, audit or tax.

ACA qualification

Those of you who have been applying for graduate schemes with the ‘big four’ will undoubtedly be aware of the ACA qualification. The ACA requires 450 days of relevant work experience and 15 examinations. Whereas anyone can study for a CIMA / ACCA, you can only study for the ACA if your employer is an approved institute for training. For this reason we find that ACA qualified accountants are in higher demand. In terms of content the ACA is very similar to the ACCA with perhaps a slightly more external focus. If you are lucky enough to work for an employer who gives you the option to study ACCA or ACA we would recommend the ACA.

If you’d like to discuss this in more detail call us on +44 (0)1273 651 500 or email contactme@grovelands.co.uk.


 

Grovelands Graduate Recruitment

The Grovelands Graduate Recruitment team are currently hiring for many graduate roles. Get in touch with Li Yen Tan for more information on accounting and finance roles.

For more help or advice on graduate roles within accountancy or financial services, head over to our resources page where you’ll find our Grovelands Graduate Insights report.

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