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Which Accountancy Qualification should I choose?

A question I get asked often by candidates is which qualification is best to get into professional Accountancy. Two of the most popular courses to gain the full Chartered Accountant status are CIMA and ACCA and both of these routes are highly respected and sought after globally. But which one is the right one for you to study?

The major difference between CIMA and ACCA is their focus and your decision needs to be based on your career ambitions, as both qualification’s allows you to specialise in different areas of accounting. Both courses take about the same amount of time to complete.

If you are looking to focus your career on Business, the CIMA route would be a great match. This will give you the Chartered Management Accountant Qualification and allows you to take on highly commercial roles in any kind of organisation or industry, looking at strategies to make financial decisions.

After qualification you could expect to gain roles as :

  • Assistant Finance Manager
  • Assistant Accountant
  • Accountant
  • Financial Manager
  • Finance Analyst with progression likely to get you to Financial Controller or CFO.

The ACCA Qualification places more emphasis on auditing and compliance with many working in practice roles, looking at financial assessment and compliance rather than the commercial forward- thinking parts of Accountancy. You would qualify as a Chartered Certified Accountant, and your focus is very much around the professional values in the world of accountancy.

This qualification is equivalent to a Master’s degree, setting you up for a successful career. You could enjoy roles from Financial Analyst, Audit & Compliance or Tax, Financial Accountant or quite often candidates become self-employed with their own accounting practice.

My advice would be to research both in detail using the available online resources below:

One thing that is not in doubt is that it takes a unique variety of skills and characteristics to excel in a Finance career and many candidates are unaware how many different roles and job opportunities exist within the finance sector. Finance is such a broad area with so many routes to choose from and you have to unpick the puzzle to work out what is right for you. I know candidates in finance that spend 100% of their day buried in spreadsheets running models, and they love it. I also know candidates in commercial finance that spend most of their day Business Partnering with the stakeholders making recommendations, and they love it!

Choose well and you will have a highly successful and enjoyable career. For more advice or for an informal chat please Call 07891809218 or Email

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