As the title chief suggests, the chief accountant plays an important role in the organisation as the head accountant in the accounts department. Duties include overseeing:

  • month-end accounting activities such as reconciliations and journal entries
  • preparing and analysing financial records
  • production of monthly, quarterly and annual accounting reports to management. 

Chief accountants must supervise and work with the accounting team to complete accounting assignments within an agreed timetable.

Entry and progression

Fulfilling a key role within the accounting function of large organisations, chief accountants work in:

  • corporates
  • public sector
  • financial services
  • shared service organisations. 

These sectors provide many entry points for those who wish to become a chief accountant.

ACCA develops the skills and knowledge required by forward thinking professional accountants, including chief accountants.

Exam options

For those who work as a chief accountant, or aspire to be a chief accountant, the most relevant exam options are: 

Performance objectives

Remember it’s not just about exams. You need to have the right experience so that you are competent – you have the experience and knowledge – to start and continue your chief accountant career.

Performance Objectives (PO) which would provide great experience and must be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) could include:


High level competencies required by a chief accountant include:

  • Leadership and Management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, harnessing appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.

  • Stakeholder Relationship Management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Ethics and Professionalism

    A. Develops advanced ethical values and professional skills in the promotion of public interest and the profession.

    B. Demonstrates personal effectiveness in fast changing environments.

    C. Encourages innovative thinking within the context of professional scepticism.

    D. Thinks proactively about the future, applying professional judgement and commercial intelligence and seeks specialist input when needed.

    E. Communicates effectively and influences others.