5 Steps to Becoming an Accountant

In the ever-changing world of tax and finance, accountants are invaluable employees for any company. Accountancy is one of the most secure professions around, as businesses both large and small will always need the skills and knowledge an accountant provides to ensure all tax laws are followed and their accounts are in good standing.  

Step 1: IATI Qualification

The Accounting Technicians Ireland (IATI) qualification is the minimum standard required in order to become a qualified accountant. It is a popular entry route for anyone hoping to become an accountant who does not have any formal qualifications, and once you have achieved an IATI accreditation you are able to offer your services as a professional bookkeeper. As you gather more experience, the qualification allows you to add to your services to include payroll, taxation, VAT and accounts preparation.  

Step 2: ACCA Qualification

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is one of only two qualifications that allow you to legally sign off on accounts for organisations all over the world. The ACCA accreditation allows you to become a fully qualified accountant and can offer a full range of accountancy services including tax and audits. You will also be qualified to offer advice to businesses regarding improvement of business finances. The AAT qualification covers some of the same material as the ACCA, therefore if you have this accreditation you are exempt from the first three ACCA exams.  

Step 3: Experience

If possible, you should attempt to gain as much experience as you can from the start of your accountancy journey. While the AAT and ACCA qualification will give you all the knowledge you need in order to become a qualified bookkeeper or accountant, practical experience will allow you to see how to put this knowledge into practice. It can be difficult to find paid jobs straight away but many accountants offer internships to expand your skills and experience.  

Step 4: Specialisations

There are several different types of accountants but they fall into four broad groups - public accounting, management accounting, government accounting and internal audits. Choosing a speciality that you enjoy can differentiate you from other accountants in the field.  

Step 5: Marketing Yourself

Once you have achieved your accreditations and have become a fully qualified accountant you can choose whether you want to work full time in-house or become self-employed. Whatever you decide it is important to market yourself well to be attract future employees or clients. Using social media is a great way to market yourself initially, as it is a cost free way to get in front of potential clients. Although the road to becoming an accountant isn’t the quickest, following this path will lead to a career that could span your lifetime.