Accounting school leaver programmes

Careers in accountancy

Before you start studying with ACCA your ACCA study, you’ll need to choose which level you start studying at. This will depend on what qualifications you have already. You will either start at our Foundations-level, or with the ACCA Qualification. Read on to find out how to study ACCA and which level is most suitable for you.

Foundation level qualifications

Our Foundation-level qualifications are perfect for you to start at if you are a school leaver who does not have the minimum entry requirements to start studying the ACCA Qualification. The awards within our Foundation level are broadly equivalent to GCSE level and a degree or HND programme.

We recommend you start with the ACCA Diploma in Financial and Management Accounting (RQF Level 2) if you have no formal qualifications. This is because students who start with this qualification and work their way through the Foundation-level perform better in the ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business (RQF Level 4) higher-level exams. 

The awards within our Foundations level will provide you with the skills and expertise to work in a range of different jobs. This means you can start working in accountancy from the very start of your journey as you progress towards becoming an ACCA member. For example, with the first award, the ACCA Diploma in Financial and Management Accounting (RQF Level 2), you will be able to work in a number of junior accounting or bookkeeping roles.

To find out more about our Foundation-level qualifications and decide which qualification you should start at, visit Foundation-level Qualifications.



If you are a school leaver with an Irish Leaving Certificate in 5 subjects with 3Cs at 3 higher level papers, and a pass in English and a pass in Maths, or if you have equivalent qualifications, you can start your studies at the ACCA Qualification.

The ACCA Qualification is broadly equivalent to degree standard when you take the first nine papers (the Fundamentals level). When you take the Professionals level, it is equivalent to a master’s degree.

Once you have successfully completed your exams, ethics module and work experience and applied for ACCA membership, you will be able to use the ‘ACCA’ letters after your name and, you will be able to work as a professional accountant.

To find out more and decide if this is the right place for you to start your studies, visit the ACCA Qualification page.