1) Recognised worldwide – international travel – global network
ACCA has 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 181 countries around the world, and once you sign up to study, you instantly become part of this ever-growing network. That means you will be part of a network of over 600,000 people around the world.
‘ACCA is internationally recognised,’ says Josh Rufus, manager, Morgan McKinley, ‘so if you do wish to travel you will be able to do so with ease. Accountancy is one of those professions where positions all around the world are freely available; so many people take the opportunity to visit and work in new countries.’
2) Highly regarded by 8,500 employers globally
ACCA’s qualifications are developed with employers that teach international accounting standards. This means that employers all over the world have confidence that ACCA members and students understand the rules and laws of corporate finance in their country.
‘It’s a seal of approval and it’s essential to have a qualification as an accountant to sign off on reports,’ says Simon Smith, director, Marks Sattin.
Furthermore, having a professional qualification is essential for employers to benchmark each candidate: ‘It shows passion and drive but also gives a good account of technical ability and experience,’ says Andrew Setchell, director, Robert Walters.
3) Career progression
‘Ideally anyone who wishes to have a career in finance and achieve senior management positions should have a formal qualification in accounting and finance,’ says Giles McIntyre, associate director, Investigo.
‘The ACCA Qualification is highly regarded by employers,’ continues Giles. ‘While it’s not impossible to be in a senior management position without one, there is more and more emphasis being placed on qualifications and quite simply more choice available to qualified accountants, than non-qualified. The qualification is assurance for the employer of your technical knowledge, so coupled with your experience they can determine your suitability for a role.’
In developed countries with mature financial and corporate systems, possessing a professional accountancy qualification is standard to be able to compete, says Martin Fox, a manager at recruiters Robert Walters. ‘Recruiters and employers will enquire how long it has taken a candidate to complete ACCA, so I recommended finishing the exams as soon as possible to ensure maximum career and salary development.’
4) Flexible study - anywhere, anytime, in your own time
Studying ACCA is flexible. You can organise how and when you study to suit any situation. If you want to complete it as quickly as possible, you can attend an Approved Learning Provider as a full-time student; some degree courses will give you exemptions from ACCA papers; if you’re already a working accountant, but want to get qualified to progress your career, you can study part-time, in class or over the internet, at your own pace.
‘It’s really about choice,’ says Stuart Pedley-Smith, head of learning at ACCA Platinum ALP Kaplan. ‘If you just want to buy a book from us, you can, or there’s distance learning programmes, or you can study online, or in a classroom.’ Not only that but you can pick and choose between the different channels. So let’s say you think you’ll benefit from face-to-face learning for a certain paper, but for another you’d be happy to study online. You can change your learning style depending on
5) Practical experience
It’s not all about exams and studying. To become an ACCA member you need to have completed three years of practical experience. While this may sound intimidating, this is key to ensuring that you’re the complete package before becoming an ACCA member and enjoying all the career benefits this brings.
The best way to gain this experience is to work and study at the same time. Some companies may even sponsor your studies and give you time off for classes, studying and exams. Many people study in the evening and work during the day. A workplace mentor will guide you through the requirements and support your progress.