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Career change - getting into accountancy

Advise on the best route in to an accountancy career

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I am looking to make a career change into accountancy with the aim being to eventually progress into forensic accounting, and I’m looking for some advise on the best steps to take.

My background: I am 26 years old, and went straight into office work after A Levels, gradually working my way over 8 years into a Portfolio Analyst role in the Tech industry (for context: also known as a PMO – it has a high focus on project management governance, overseeing both the overall Portfolio budget and individual Programme/Project budgets etc.). Finance/accounts, problem solving, and data analysis have always been where my strengths lie and after recently being made redundant I’m looking to take the plunge into a formal finance career. I have a Maths GCSE Grade A, however my A Levels were English/History so not necessarily relevant to finance.

I'm currently struggling to determine the best qualification to aim for - whether it be AAT/ACA/ACCA etc., bearing in mind my aspirations to progress into financial forensics and the fact I don't have a degree. I’d also really appreciate any guidance on the best route in – whether it be an entry level role with on the job training/studying, or obtaining relevant qualifications myself whilst working in an unrelated field, etc. – any advise is greatly appreciated!


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By memyself-eye
01st Feb 2019 19:10

Start with AAT, doesn't matter what your 'A' levels are - mine were in Art, History and English so no worries there Michelangelo (and I'm as thick as three short planks) Don't expect your expertise in project management to cut a lot of ice though: accountancy is a moving feast of basic technical stuff and never ending government meddling - of which the meddling is by far the biggest part. You will need a lot of empathy with clients if you go into practice - which means explaining bean counter 'stuff' to Joe Public. I started bean counting in my 40's and I'm now nearly 65 (In April if you must know) so you at least have 'youf' on your side.
Give it a go, your taxes will (hopefully) pay my state pension.

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By Moonbeam
03rd Feb 2019 10:36

I agree with memyself. As to getting your first job in this area, that's the really tricky bit. Can you move sideways in the business you're in to a junior job in the accounts department? That's the easiest way to start, as long as you can stand the loss of status. Presumably you accept you'll have a lower level of earnings. They know you so as long as they like you it should be much easier than looking outside and they'll have a ready made insider that they know will do a good job.
If that's not an option, then select similar types of companies and try to connect on LinkedIn with a mid level person in the finance department, having honed your cv and thought really clearly about what sort of message you would send such people. Management accounts would suit you, clearly. If you can sell your other skills at the same time you could get yourself an interview.
Sorry - I've just realised you said you'd been made redundant. So the Linkedin path is the way to go.

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Replying to Moonbeam:
By Accountant A
03rd Feb 2019 11:33

Deleted duplicated comment

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By Accountant A
03rd Feb 2019 12:54

If you type "career change" into the search function, you'll see the question is asked on here quite frequently.

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By trainingacc
18th Mar 2019 12:37

Hi! As we can see from what you tell, you have a lot of experience already. It doesn't seem that your career change will suppose the assumption of whole new responsibilities that you have to learn from scratch. Thereby, carefully consider the option of starting a degree. If you don't need to learn basic stuff about accounting then other options could better adapt to your current needs. You may want to try some suitable independent courses which are shorter and more practical for your situation. It could smoothen your career change fulfilling the knowledge gaps you may encounter at the beginning.

You can easily find many options. As someone has already said, take a look at other posted questions, you will find more information since this is a recurring topic.

Good luck!

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By ACAMasters
31st Jul 2019 13:43

Being a working professional from the technology industry, you should be considering ACA as an option for entering into accounting. You'll find it easy to understand & easy to cope fast as it also covers business management, financial management on which you already have hands on.

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