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Qualifying as an accountant is a big deal, whether you’re going down the ACCA, CIMA or even AAT, there are factors to consider when working towards completing.

Exemptions from University degree

Completing a finance based degree is a great step towards becoming an accountant, as a result of your degree you may be eligible for exemptions from certain ACCA or CIMA modules. Consider this carefully, sure not taking the exam is easier (although doesn’t cost much less!), but consider it long term. Do you still remember all the information from the modules you’re being exempted from? Did you pass well or just about? Would you be able to practically implement the theory that you learned? It might be worth sitting the exam just to give yourself that boost of confidence or to get a refresher of the material. After all, if you’ve got the exemption, passing the exam should be a breeze. However, if you’re confident with the material and feel you’ll have no problem recalling it down the line, take the exemption and focus on the modules you need.

Qualifying too soon

It’s a great feeling to feel like you’re one step closer to not having to study anymore, but qualifying too soon can also cause problems. Do the modules you’re studying correspond to your practical duties at work? If not, this might be something to think about. The other common misconception is that you can work as something different entirely while you take your exams and then walk into a high-flying accountancy job once you’ve passed some/all of the exams. It just doesn’t work this way. The same way you wouldn’t want a doctor who had just read all the medical books but had never seen a patient before! The practical experience is just as valuable as the qualification.

Qualified by experience

There is a lot of debate around individuals who are qualified by experience, on one hand learning on the job is a great way to absorb knowledge however, you can see why exams could make a difference. From the point of view of a prospective employer, it’s almost a checklist of what you already know, they don’t have to worry about those parts. Whereas with QBE accountants there’s always a worry that there may be something they’ve not covered in their practical experience that could be integral to the role that gets covered in ACCA/CIMA.

When to call yourself part qualified

Common misconception is that anyone who has sat one/some papers is “part qualified”, of course in a literal sense they are part way to being qualified, but it’s generally accepted that “part qualified” actually means a certain amount of exams at certain levels have been completed. For ACCA, part qualified means you have passed F1-F9, for CIMA you’ve passed all your management level exams.

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