Share this content
11

ACCA professional papers: Where to start?

I’m looking to get back into accounting after graduating nearly 10 years ago. Any advice?

Didn't find your answer?

I graduated from university nearly 10 years ago with a degree in accounting and finance. I checked on the ACCA site and as far as I'm aware I have 9 exemptions from the fundamental papers. I've had jobs in the social care and housing sector since graduating but now I want to go back into accounting. 
 

My plan is to self fund a couple of professional papers before seeking a trainee job where I can gain the relevant experience and funding for the rest of the qualification. 
 

I'm just looking for advice on which paper to start with. My initial idea was to start with the strategic business leader as it's one of the compulsory papers. 
 

 

Any other tips from those who have self funded would be really useful.

Replies (11)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Accountant A
06th Nov 2019 11:03

With respect, if all you have is a 10 year old accounting degree, you're not getting "back into" accountancy as a job. You'll be starting at the bottom like we all did - irrespective of paper qualifications.

If you pitch up for a junior accounting post and tell them that your priority was to complete a "strategic business leader" module, I imagine most perspective employers will think you have ideas "above your station" and avoid you like the plague. I suspect that they would be more impressed if you got a grasp of the fundamentals by, say, doing AAT - or part thereof.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Accountant A:
avatar
By Vienna123
06th Nov 2019 14:29

Thanks for your response. I would have thought that attempting, and passing, one of the essential professional papers in the ACCA qualification., would be admired by employers rather than looked upon negatively. Maybe doing the AAT qualification may be an option as I do feel that a reminder of the fundamentals would be useful.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AdamC2112
06th Nov 2019 12:36

I'm not not sure I would agree with employers thinking you were above your station for completing a module?

I would definitely consider which of the options you would want to sit as these are the harder of the professional exams and may be ones you would prefer to tackle first and leave the ones you are more confident with until last. Coming from someone who has recently sat and passed the SBR & AFM exams, do not underestimate them, they are difficult and require a lot of time and effort! Pass rates for the options are 30-35%!

I would recommend looking at Open Tuition as there are some free resources on their website and they tend to be pretty good as if you have been out of Accountancy for 10 years, a lot of what you learnt may be irrelevant now.

Thanks (1)
Replying to AdamC2112:
avatar
By Accountant A
06th Nov 2019 12:57

AdamC2112 wrote:

I'm not not sure I would agree with employers thinking you were above your station for completing a module?

The OP is "seeking a trainee job" and has zero working experience in accountancy. If I was recruiting, I'd be focused on the candidate's knowledge for a junior accounting position. To be honest, I'm very surprised that ACCA give credit for a university course nearly a decade ago. Like I said, I'd be looking at some AAT courses to demonstrate a basic grounding in routine accounting matters. That's what I'd be more impressed by as a prospective employer.

Thanks (0)
Replying to AdamC2112:
avatar
By Vienna123
06th Nov 2019 15:09

Thanks for the advice and congrats on your exam success! Will definitely look into open tuition. Maybe one option would be to forego the exemptions and just sit the fundamental papers so I can update my knowledge.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Vienna123:
avatar
By Accountant A
06th Nov 2019 18:16

Vienna123 wrote:

Maybe one option would be to forego the exemptions and just sit the fundamental papers so I can update my knowledge.

That sounds like a good idea, to be honest. I don't know which papers you are exempt from with your degree but many aspects of accountancy and tax change frequently and so what knowledge you have retained may not be absolutely current.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By paul.benny
06th Nov 2019 13:54

Agree with Accountant A. With no practical experience in finance, you should think more about getting relevant work rather than gaining qualifications.

You might also want to think about your career story: whilst understandably you haven't given us your full CV, a prospective employer will see that and will want to know why the change of direction and have some confidence that you will stick it out.

Don't get too hung up it doing ACCA just because you can get some exam exemptions. As noted, AAT is a good 'junior' qualification; some organisations that train ACAs may welcome a more mature candidate; depending on what kind of business you want to work in, CIMA may be a good route.

(Apologies if anyone feels I've downgraded or ignored their professional body)

Thanks (0)
Replying to paul.benny:
avatar
By Vienna123
06th Nov 2019 15:30

Thanks for the advice. One of the reasons I’d like to get an exam or two under my belt is to show prospective employers that I’m committed to this and am capable of passing the exams, thus (hopefully) increasing my job prospects.

The ACCA qualification starts from level 4 and I just feel that it would be more suited to me. I’m starting to lean towards the idea of foregoing the exemptions and doing the fundamental papers to get me up to speed with my knowledge.

I agree with your point that I need to get some experience now rather just gaining qualifications. I guess I’m trying to make myself an attractive a candidate for employers hence trying to pass one or two exams first before I start job searching.

I’ve got some prior education in accounting so just feel that AAT would be quite basic for me.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Vienna123:
avatar
By paul.benny
06th Nov 2019 16:29

It strikes me that you have formed a view of what you need to do/learn without actually tested that on prospective employers (easily done to solutionize (sorry) before we've properly defined the problem)

It might be worth sticking your toe in the water to find out whether you are hireable now. You might be surprised to find that you are employable now.

Try going back to your university careers service. They may be able to direct you to businesses hiring trainees that are less concerned about unorthodox career paths.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Vienna123:
avatar
By JoF
06th Nov 2019 22:20

Vienna123 wrote:

I’ve got some prior education in accounting so just feel that AAT would be quite basic for me.

Why not just do the AAT exams then? Can be all done in a few days before the year end if you get booking them now.Shows intent, probably better than just one ACCA exam.

Agee with the others that experience is something to focus on, but be aware you will probably start at the very bottom, on naff wages.

I think you shouldn't apply for the ACCA exemptions, again you can probably rattle through some of them fairly quickly if you are that confident.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Vienna123:
x
By rockallj
07th Nov 2019 10:52

I’ve got some prior education in accounting so just feel that AAT would be quite basic for me.

[/quote]

Believe me, AAT is not "basic". It is relevant, better suited to someone learning on the job. And if you find later that it is harder than you think (and it will be!), you have a standalone qualification.

If you attempt a couple of papers at ACCA and don't go on and complete it, they mean very little.

As someone who has both qualifcations, AAT is better for the all round accountant, whether in practice, industry or govt than ACCA, especially when you have limited experience.

Thanks (0)
Share this content