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Accountant Career Path – How To Be An Accountant

Mohamed Hesham

With no doubt, pursuing a career in accounting is very awarding nowadays. This is due to the high salaries accountants can make everywhere around the world. Also, pursuing a career in accounting gives a high chance to be promoted to higher positions in the future at the company or the organization you work, especially when you keep working in developing your skills, and earning the required professional certificates to advance in your career.

We always have to remember that it is never too late to start. If you have passion towards accounting, you can start preparing yourself to pursue your career, even if you do not have a bachelor degree, and you have no time to go for it. In this post, we are going to talk about the accountant career path, the way to pursue a career in accounting, in case you already have an accounting degree, or if you have a degree in another field, or even if you do not have a degree.

Case one – you do not have a bachelor degree

Accounting is not like nuclear engineering, which means that it is not required that you have a degree to work in it. Only a relevant experience and some skills may be sufficient to get a job in accounting, but definitely this is not enough to advance in your career. In case you do not have a bachelor degree, but you have passion towards accounting, you have two ways: the first one is to pursue short term certificates, which enables you get knowledge about accounting in general or a specific field in it, and some skill that will be added to your resume to facilitate getting a job

Accountant Career Path

The other way, which is better in terms of that it gives you a professional accreditation which helps you to advance in your career, is the ACCA ( the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certificate. The ACCA is a global accounting body that works on putting the principles and regulations for chartered accountants, and ensuring that they are followed.

The ACCA offers the professional certification in chartered accountancy, which is recognized in 100 countries around the world. The advantage of ACCA is that it does not require a bachelor degree to register for it, but to be ACCA certified, you must have a minimum of 3 years as a work experience, which you can do in parallel with studying. This is another advantage of the ACCA, is that it is designed in a simple way which allows studying and working at the same time.

The suitable steps to pursue the ACCA are as follows:

  1. Register in ACCA,
  2. Study until having suitable knowledge to apply for an accounting job,
  3. Find a job.
  4. Continue studying and get the required experience.
  5. Pass the exams and become ACCA certified.

After you are ACCA certified you can advance in your accounting career and there will be no limits to you.

Case 2 – you have a bachelor degree but not in accounting

If you have a bachelor degree in a field far away from accounting, but you want to pursue a career in accounting, you can take the same options as above, or you have another awesome choice which is the CMA. The CMA ( Certified Management Accountant) is a professional accreditation awarded from the IMA (the Institute of Management Accountants), which is one of the largest international association for management accountants.

Certified Management Accountant

From its name, the CMA certificate qualifies for management accounting, which is mainly for accountants who want to work in business and industry. This is more specialized than the ACCA certificate, which is more broad and gives the opportunity to specialize in other areas in accounting too.

CMA, like ACCA, requires work experience in order to take the license. If you decide to take the CMA path, you can start by registering for it, then studying until you get the required knowledge to apply for a job, then you can take the required work experience at the same time while studying the rest of the CMA courses.

Case 3 – you have a bachelor degree in accounting

Definitely, if you have a bachelor degree in accounting, this will make it away easier to get a career in accounting, but in some point, you will need to take a further step to advance in your career to the highest applicable positions. So you will need to take a professional certificate, such as the ACCA, CMA, or you have another great option which is the CPA (Certified Puplic Accountant) which is mainly awarded by the AICPA (The American Institute of CPAs) which is the largest association in the world for accounting profession with more than 418,000 members around the globe in 143 countries.

CPA Global

The CPA certificate is the best accreditation an accountant can have, but it requires at least studying 150 semester hours to be eligible for it. Those hours can be accomplished either in a bachelor degree, or a master’s degree, or a combination between a bachelor and master’s.

Also, like the ACCA and CMA, CPA licensing requires work experience of 1-2 years. Having a CPA certificate will enable an accountant to advance and promote in his career, especially that there are certain jobs that are restricted for CPA qualified accountants, such as launching a CPA firm or signing an audit report of a company, especially in USA.

So, what can we conclude?

So, at the end of this article, we can conclude that being an accountant is very awarding in terms of salary, and it is not difficult to pursue an accounting career. If you have passion about it, you can start wherever the point you are in. It is never late to do anything, just start searching for what you like, what you think you will find yourself there, then start following your dreams.

In case somebody has more information, or a comment, I will be very happy if you share it in the page. We all have the same goal: helping each other to become better.

  1. Petra Petra

    Hi Mohamed: Thanks for this great information. I know now better as of what to expect when choosing to become an accountant.

    Best,

    Petra

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      You are welcome. I am really happy to know that, Petra.

  2. Mr. Progress Mr. Progress

    Hey man! Thanks for the article! I didn’t even know you could be an accountant without having a degree. Great how you lay out the options, I am still considering the career of accountant and this leaves the options open.

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      You are welcome. I am glad to give you useful information. Choose the career you like and start working soon to achieve your goals 😉

  3. Andrew Bromley Andrew Bromley

    I can see the path to become an accountant is not an easy one but once you are there you are ready. The certain criteria that you need yo be an accountant can be obtained but like all things in life you have to work to achieve them.

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      Yes, I agree. Nothing is easy, but nothing is impossible too. So we have to start working to achieve our goals.

  4. Maurice Jackson Maurice Jackson

    Your post is excellent for anyone pursuing an accountant career. The preparation for meeting the requirements to qualify as an accountant are very well defined.

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      Thank you so much for the feedback. Hope you enjoyed and got useful information.

  5. Matts Mom Matts Mom

    I am very good with numbers and with math. I got a degree in accounting many years ago. Would it be wise for me to take some more courses to get caught up and brush up on it? I think this is definitely so m

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      According to your career. If you feel you need to get extra knowledge and credentials to advance in your career, then you have to. Working experience is also very important, so I think this may be an asset to you if you want to get a better job or get promoted. Anyway, good luck with your career 🙂

  6. Jim Schmitt Jim Schmitt

    Mohamed:

    Nice article. I am a retired CPA so I would add one thing to your suggestions. Find a mentor and learn from that person who is already working in the field. A mentor might shorten the path to becoming an employed accountant and keep you from making costly mistakes as you work toward getting your credentials.

    • Mohamed Mohamed

      Thank you for this valuable piece of info. Yes, if somebody finds a mentor, this will help him to get a job, and definitely this is very important, as working experience nowadays is sometimes even more important than having credentials.

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