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How to start your accounting career

You want to be an accountant. You love numbers, maths and money. So, how do you get started? Where do you go to get certified so that your services will be in demand? If you do not have any recognised qualifications, your clients will not be able to know if your standards meet their requirements. People hire Chartered Certified Accountants with a full practising certificate because they know that they can trust in their expertise.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has over 100 years of history as a leader in the development of the global accountancy profession. The United Nations has chosen the ACCA syllabus as the basis of its global accountancy curriculum and the ACCA qualification is well recognised in an ever-growing list of countries including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Pakistan. Many ACCA graduates work in premier companies such as British Airways and Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Any old accountancy certification will not do. You need an internationally recognised global qualification to compete in today's industry, and the ACCA qualification fits this demand perfectly. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the world's largest international accountancy body, with over 300,000 members and students in more than 160 countries.

The good news is that there are many professional accounting and finance schools such as FTMS Global that offer ACCA courses. The better ones have a cast of highly qualified and experienced lecturers who are ACCA-certified. These teachers know what the ACCA syllabus requires and can dramatically increase your chances of passing the examinations. Definitely, it is highly recommended to enlist the aid of a mentor who can show you the ropes.

The syllabus spans 16 topics each with its own examination to test your competency in that subject. It usually takes 2 years for a student to obtain the ACCA qualification. This is broken up into the "Fundamentals" stage that consists of 9 papers and the "Professional" stage that consists of 3 papers and a choice of 4 options. With so many examinations to pass, self-study can be difficult.

The ACCA is the only accountancy body that provides a disciplinary system which offers remedy if any ACCA member breaches its high standards.

After qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant by passing the examinations, to obtain the practising certificate you must have had sufficient experience in a practising accountant's office. On top of all that, you must continue to keep yourself updated by attending courses on a regular basis.

Once you obtain the ACCA certification, your clients know with certainty that they can depend on:

  • Your integrity
  • Your absolute respect for the confidentiality of your client's affairs
  • Your knowledge and expertise
  • The fact that there is a regulatory body who will ensure that standards are maintained
  • The fact that you must operate within a strict framework of rules and ethics

The entry requirements of the ACCA qualification are 2 A-Level passes or a bachelor's degree from a recognised university. If you do not meet this requirement, you may opt to go for the open-entry route by taking the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification first. Upon completion of the CAT course, you may progress to take the ACCA qualification.

As an ACCA graduate, you can look forward to rewarding accounting career in a variety of fields such as accountancy, auditing, financial management, taxation, business development and management. Numerous opportunities will be available to you, whether you choose to work in a small practice, run your own company or lead a large multinational organisation. Indeed, ACCA graduates are in high demand worldwide.

So, if you are looking to start a career in accounting, you might as well do it right. Be internationally recognised and sought after, and you will do well wherever you may be.

About the Author: Jonah Yong works for FTMS Global, Asia's largest provider of the ACCA professional accounting and finance certification.

Visit www.ftmsglobal.com for information on all available courses such as ACCA, CFA, CAT, CIMA and HKICPA.

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