Considering a career in finance and accountancy, but not sure where to start?

Wherever you are in your life and career, ACCA qualifications create opportunities for you to have a flexible, rewarding career.

We live in a fast-paced world. Every day, all around us, things are changing. Technological advancements, global politics and economics, even the weather, all affect the way we live.

This includes the decisions we make about our futures. The world of work is rapidly transforming, career paths and access points have changed, and there are more options available to us now. You can go to university, but it’s not the only option and it’s no longer a prerequisite for a good job or a long and varied career. There are still ‘jobs for life’, but fewer and fewer, and it’s becoming more common for people to move between companies and even roles frequently. And more people are finding security in being freelance or starting their own companies as entrepreneurs.

And the great thing is, that wherever you are in your life and career, ACCA qualifications are open to you.

1. About to leave school?

Companies are promoting and expanding their school leaver programmes. The managing director of Michael Page UK, Nick Kirk, says: ‘We can expect companies to increase the space for school leavers. This should involve an acceleration of the efforts to recruit them and provide the sure-fire promotional paths previously reserved for graduates. Historically, we have seen entry-level programmes targeted solely at graduates, but as the next generation of workers emerges, we can expect to see initiatives targeted explicitly at school leavers who are keen to get on to the career ladder.’

For school leavers there are several ways you can enter the finance profession and start the ACCA qualification:


In the UK the apprenticeship system has long been an access point for school leavers to enter trades and industries such as construction or engineering. This is changing to encompass other professions, including accountancy. An ACCA apprenticeship means you don’t have to wait three years after leaving school to get your career started, or rack up huge student debt. Instead of going to university, you could be earning and learning with an ACCA accountancy apprenticeship, which is funded by the government and employers, so it costs you nothing.

ACCA apprenticeships are available through a wide range of employers across a variety of industries in the UK. You learn (and earn) on the job and in classrooms, eventually attaining the ACCA qualification. If you’re not in the UK, check your local government initiatives for vocational education schemes – going forward, expect to see these become more commonplace globally.


Many companies, especially multinationals and professional services firms or accounting practices such as the Big Four – Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY – offer trainee roles that incorporate the ACCA qualification. Other firms pay for trainees to study ACCA and give them study leave, workplace mentors and training support. These are often very competitive positions, but are a great start to a career, and you get paid while you study!

ACCA Foundations in Accountancy

Let’s say you don’t have the minimum entry requirements to begin studying the ACCA Qualification – don’t panic! Our Foundations exams are your stepping stone for starting the full ACCA qualification. Start with the ACCA Diploma in Financial and Management Accounting, and in no time you can start working in the accounting profession in junior accounting or bookkeeping roles.

2. At university or about to graduate?

Universities all over the world have had courses accredited by ACCA so that people who study them can claim exemptions from ACCA exams. This is a great choice if you want to combine university life with gaining a degree and getting a speedy first step on the career ladder. Ask your programme leader about ACCA Accelerate, which means that after graduating you can enter the workplace as an ACCA affiliate and become a qualified ACCA member in as little as 36 months. If you’ve already left university, don’t worry – you may still be able to claim exemptions from some of our exams.

If you have already graduated, you could also consider joining a company’s graduate scheme that provides the ACCA Qualification as part of its training programme. This is more common with large companies and is a really good step on a strong career path.

3. If you’re already in employment

Gaining the qualification can give your career a boost and open doors to more varied and senior roles. The skills you’ll gain can really help set you apart from your peers, and it can show to prospective employers that you really mean business. Also, for people who already have both life and professional experience, adding ACCA qualifications to your CV can make you a truly valuable asset to an organisation.

Studying ACCA is flexible, based on your lifestyle and responsibilities. You can learn at your own pace, whether this be full-time or part-time, in a classroom or online – our approved learning partners have a method to suit everyone.

straight road with snow-capped mountains in the distance

Work in almost any industry

From fashion to entertainment, construction to non-profits, one thing ties (almost) every industry together - they need finance professionals to help manage and advise them. When you train as an accountant, you gain skills that can apply to almost any industry of your choosing.

Get started

Plan your own journey

Begin your own ACCA journey. Learn in your own way, at your own pace, and take your exams at a time that suits you.

By All Accounts...

‘Is accountancy boring?’

Join us for our brand new podcast series to explore this and other topics.

Ready to begin your career journey?

Direct to your inbox

Stay up to date with our industry newsletter