A career as an accountant can provide you with limitless opportunities, allowing you to work in a diverse range of specialist areas and hold influential positions within leading organisations.
But first you have to go through the necessary training and as accountants work with numbers, it is a common assumption that you have to have an A-Level in Maths in order to become an accountant.
So, can you train to become an accountant without a Maths A-Level? In this article we look at what an accountant does, the different qualifications available to you and the entry requirements for each.
What is an accountant?
In short, an accountant is a person who records business transactions and issues financial statements on behalf on an organisation or individual. They report on company performance , deliver financial audits and research and communicate financial data and advice to clients.
There are two main types of accountancy; management accountancy and financial accountancy. Management accountants provide financial insight internally and can be involved in tasks such as decision making, budget analysis and forecasting.
Financial accountants provide information externally and will report back to shareholders, investors and creditors.
How can I become an accountant?
Depending on what type of accountancy you want to practice, there are a few options available to you.
If you want to become a chartered accountant, you will have to achieve the ACA qualification. This is set by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and is a globally-recognised qualification. The ACA qualification is done on the job with an authorised employer. You will need 450 days’ work experience and will have to pass a number of exams before you become chartered.
If you want to become chartered certified accountant, then you will have to undertake the ACCA qualification. This qualification covers all the essential skills needed to understand the financial activities and performance of a company. There are 14 exams in total, and how many you have to complete depends on what prior qualifications you have. However, to become a Certified Accounting Technician you have to have at least one year’s practical work experience.
To become a management accountant, you will need to achieve your CIMA Professional Qualification which you can do alongside your work. You should ideally have around three years of professional experience to gain your professional qualification. You can read more about CIMA here.
So those are just some of the ways you can become an accountant. For more information, read our article here.
Can I train to become an accountant without an accountancy degree?
Now you know how to become an accountant, what are the entry requirements?
It is quite a common belief that you need an accountancy or finance degree to become an accountant, but this is not the case. In fact, a majority of accountancy firms open up their graduate schemes to all disciplines. So even if you have an English degree, you can still apply to an accountancy graduate scheme.
However, some accountancy firms require you to have a degree in a finance based subject, such as accountancy, finance, economics or business studies, but this tends to be the exception, rather than the rule.
Can I train to become an accountant without a Maths A-Level?
While you may not need a finance-based degree to train to become an accountant, do you need a maths A-Level?
Again, it’s a common belief that you need a maths A-level to train to become an accountant, but this is not the case. For graduate schemes, you will often need a certain number of UCAS points, but this varies from employer to employer.
There may be some firms that require you to have a maths A-level, but this depends on the firm and again, is often the exception not the rule.
So as long as you have enough UCAS points, it doesn’t matter which A-Levels you have done.
What do you need to train to become an accountant?
We’ve established what you don’t need to become an accountant, so what do you need?
Well, if you have a degree, a majority of accountancy firms require a 2.2 degree in any subject. You will also need a minimum number of UCAS points, but these can be in any A-Level.
You will also need a GCSE in maths. This will often have to be a B or above, or a 6 or above in the new grading system. This is because to be an accountant, while you don’t have to be a mathematical genius, you do need to be proficient in maths.
If you are looking at an accountancy apprenticeship, the entry requirements may differ. You may need a higher grade in maths or a higher number of UCAS points, but this depends on the employer so it is advisable that you check with the employer you are looking to apply to.
In conclusion, you can train to become an accountant without a maths A-Level. However, you will need at least a B at GCSE and many employers require a minimum number of UCAS points, as well as a 2.2 degree for graduate schemes. For more information on what individual employers require, you can take a look at our employer directory.