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Common questions about ACCA and employability

Ahead of a virtual student open day we asked people to submit their burning questions around employability and the ACCA qualification. And who better to ask than the team at our dedicated careers and jobs website ACCA Careers.

Does age matter when it comes to studying ACCA?

There is no age limit for people wanting to study ACCA. In fact, ACCA is a popular and powerful facilitator for career change. What’s important when considering ACCA is understanding that it’s challenging, but then ultimately incredibly rewarding. Many people of all ages from different backgrounds and situations have studied ACCA. There are flexible ways to study so you can fit it around work and family life. And if you are more senior and are considering ACCA, but are perhaps worried about your age, the experience you already have, whether it’s life or professional, will combine very well with the ACCA qualification. One of the most common employer requests is for experience.

We have some inspirational stories of people who changed careers to become an accountant and people who changed jobs while studying.

Read success stories on ACCA Careers

What employment opportunities does achieving the ACCA qualification give you?

In June 2020, ACCA Careers had nearly 150,000 job adverts from around the world from amazing companies such as EY, Amazon, PwC, Nestlé, Deloitte and State Street, all seeking ACCA candidates. ACCA students and members work in all sizes of companies, all over the world in a variety of roles.

You can learn more about employment opportunities by visiting ACCA Careers  and also following us on LinkedIn and Facebook where we share top jobs and content.

How do you prepare a road map for your career?

Good question. It’s all about setting yourself achievable goals in workable timeframes, while also being flexible and prepared for change or disruption. Start with an end goal; this could be a specific role or industry. Research how other people have followed similar career paths and try to connect with them, make them part of your network. Identify the skills you need and how to obtain them. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you make achievements.

ACCA Careers has several good articles on helping you plan your career (and how to keep sight of your goals.)

Besides the traditional career paths, where else has this qualification proven to be useful?

An accountancy qualification doesn’t limit you to being an accountant. It’s an entry into the broader finance profession, but it also provides a fantastic grounding in business and commerce. This means there are ACCA members who are entrepreneurs or CEOs; others work in sales, marketing, publishing, HR and so on. 

Another aspect of having the ACCA qualification is that you can work in any industry – there is not a single sector that does not need qualified accountants, finance professionals or leaders. That’s all commercial industries, the public sector (government, health services), charities, sport, cultural, sciences, education… the list goes on.

We have a load of inspiring ACCA member interviews on our dedicated ACCA journeys area of ACCA Careers.

What are my chances of getting a job?

Simply put, there is a shortage of accountants with strong contemporary skillsets in the world. If you gain the right qualifications, build valuable experience and develop an attractive skillset, then you’re vastly increasing your chance of finding not only a job but perhaps your dream job. However, there’s no hiding from the fact that becoming an ACCA member is a challenging path. Our standards are very high, and they need to be to ensure that ACCA members are high-quality professionals who uphold our strong reputation, which ultimately strengthens the employment chances of our students and members.

So it’s not the easiest option, but the rewards are evident in the huge ACCA network of professionals working in all industries all over the world and the number of jobs on the ACCA Careers website at any given moment.

How can the ACCA qualification help graduates who want to work in different organisations and countries across the world?

When you join ACCA, you become part of a diverse body of more than 247,000 members and 527,000 students in 179 countries. That’s a huge support network of people, some of whom might be future employers, mentors, study buddies or supportive peers and colleagues. ACCA is truly THE global accountancy body. We have partnerships and affiliations with governments, employers and educational establishments all over the world that help our students and members advance their careers and support their mobility.

A good place to start is by looking at the jobs available globally on ACCA Careers but also to read about ACCA member journeys – many are living and working in new countries.

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The world is changing rapidly and a lot of work previously carried out by people is now being done by machines and technological solutions – which are faster and more accurate. What scope is there for qualified accountants in the future?

This is a really good and very topical question. Yes, it’s true that the profession is being disrupted by technology and there will be certain disciplines and functions that automation and ‘robots’ can do better, faster and cheaper. But let them do it. Automation can’t replace humans; it can support them and make them better, not the other way around. Modern and future accountants who see this disruption as an opportunity can have really rewarding and exciting careers.

By learning to work with these new technologies and innovations, to make them part of their skillset and knowledge, accountants will become more important to businesses and employers. So let the robots crunch the numbers leaving more time and space for human accountants to do what they do best – add value, find trends and new ideas and strategies, communicate these to other humans, work multidisciplinary roles across entire businesses, be business partners, analyse data… it’s an exciting time to be an accountant!

Read more on common questions about studying ACCA.

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