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Professional qualifications in accountancy

Whether you aspire to work in public practice, the private sector or for a government body, getting a professional qualification in accountancy should be your priority.

A key advantage of a career in accountancy is the abundance of opportunities to develop your knowledge. On top of the ongoing training and progress reviews you receive when you join your first employer, you will be expected to become a qualified Chartered Accountant. This will combine work and study – and your employer may even fund it. Chartered Accountancy is an internationally recognised mark of quality and professionalism, signalling to clients and the rest of the industry that your work is top notch.

Training to become chartered normally takes place via a training contract in an accountancy practice or business, and usually takes about three and a half years.
However there are now other flexible routes as a result of recent changes to the education model with Chartered Accountants Ireland, you can study outside of a training contract at a time and place that suits you. You can also avail of a new distance learning education model where lectures are offered online.

Apart from Chartered Accountants Ireland, there are a number of other professional accountancy qualifications (covering both Ireland and Northern Ireland, listed below) for you to choose from. While your employer will help select the one most suitable, the decision on which path to follow is regularly down to the student, so choose a qualification that best suits your career aspirations. Qualification processes can vary but you will need to complete examinations. Graduates of all disciplines are accepted into the profession and train to become accountants; those with a finance / accounting degree are may be exempt from some parts of the qualification process.

Most trainees will work full-time while you study, however if you are not working you it is possible to clear exams with the professional bodies. While you shouldn’t underestimate how tough this can be, your employer and professional association will support you. Most employers are well aware of the demands of juggling full-time work with study, and many give study leave – some even put you in touch with a recently qualified mentor as well. Often employers will cover the costs of your study. These days professional associations provide web resources and online communities for their graduate members.

Professional bodies

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) www2.accaglobal.com
Chartered Accountants Ireland www.charteredaccountants.ie
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) www.cimaglobal.com
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy www.cipfa.org.uk
Accounting Technicians Ireland www.accountingtechniciansireland.ie
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) www.cpaireland.ie
Irish Tax Institute www.taxinstitute.ie