Accounting Qualification…You Mean There’s More Than One?

We recently launched a new series of blogs to share our top tips for navigating your career post college exams, and to give you expert insights in the big and exciting world of accounting and finance.

First we looked at the big question, ‘Accounting and Finance – Is It For Me?’. In this edition we’ll look at what’s your next best step once you’ve decided accounting and finance is for you. Read on to find our more on where’s the best place to qualify, what exams should you sit, how long will it take…and many more essential questions…

Accounting Qualifications

You mean there’s more than one accounting qualification? Don’t worry we understand that feeling of confusion! To be very honest each qualification will allow you qualify as an accountant, but to help you get your head around the different routes we’ve outlined a brief summary of what you need to know about the main accounting bodies in Ireland.

In simple terms…

…there are four well known accounting bodies in Ireland – CIMA, CPA, ACCA and ACA. To help you become more comfortable with each accounting body, we have broken them down to give you the basic facts about each organisation below.

*Disclaimer – if you have studied a business/accounting related degree it may be possible to claim exemptions from each accounting body, ultimately reducing the number of exams you will be required to sit.

CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

  • The world’s largest professional body of management accountants;
  • An industry-focused qualification;
  • A flexible study route;
  • Exam path has three levels – 1) Operational Level, 2) Management Level and 3) Strategic Level;
  • Each level has three exams as well as a case study exam – four exam sittings per year;
  • In order to qualify it is necessary to pass all exams as well as acquire 3 years of demonstrated work experience;
  • Not a recognised accountancy body by IAASA meaning you cannot become a statutory auditor. This would be an issue if you wish to open your own practice in future;
  • Education isn’t centralised; it’s provided through a network of tuition providers under the CIMA global learning scheme.

Visit the CIMA Ireland website for more information.

CPA – Certified Public Accountant

  • The CPA designation is the most commonly-used designation worldwide for professional accountants;
  • Exam path has four stages – F1, F2, P1 and P2;
  • Two exam sittings each year and two years to complete each stage;
  • In order to qualify it is necessary to pass all exams as well as acquire 3 years of demonstrated work experience;
  • Education isn’t centralised. It’s provided through a network of CPA-approved educators;
  • A flexible online study route available;
  • Recognised accountancy body by IAASA for statutory auditor recognition purposes.

Visit the CPA Ireland website for more info.

ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

  • Significant global presence with over more than 219,000 members and 527,000 students in 179 countries;
  • Typically associated with training in industry;
  • The qualification consists of 14 exams and there are four exam sittings per year;
  • In order to qualify it is necessary to pass all exams as well as acquire 3 years of demonstrated work experience;
  • Typically associated with training in industry;
  • Significant global presence with over 183,000 members worldwide (IAASA, 2015); and
  • Education isn’t centralised, it’s provided through a network of approved learning partners.
  • A flexible online study route available;
  • Recognised accountancy body by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) for statutory auditor recognition purposes.

Visit the ACCA Ireland website for more information.

ACA – Chartered Accountants Ireland

  • Ireland’s largest accountancy body, based on the number of members;
  • Largely associated with training in practice;
  • A 3-stage qualification – CAP1 examinations, CAP2 examinations, Final Admitting Examinations (FAE);
  • All examinations take place during the summer (May – August) across a one week sitting for each stage;
  • In order to qualify it is necessary to pass all exams as well as acquire up to 3.5 years of demonstrated work experience;
  • Education is centralised and provided by Chartered Accountants Ireland itself through various weekend lectures and block study weeks across Ireland;
  • A flexible study route is available;
  • Recognised accountancy body by IAASA for statutory auditor recognition purposes.

Visit the Chartered Accountants Ireland website for more information.

In a Nutshell

So, there you go, the above are the basics of each qualification in a nutshell. We would recommend to delve into each qualification in more detail if you are interested to understand the ins and outs a bit better. We have linked the website for each accounting body above so now it’s time for you to get cracking and decide which qualification suits you!

 

Reach Out to Us

If you’d like more information or would like some help in navigating your career reach out to us at hello@barden.ie or contact one of team using the info below…

Our Team

Tara Higgins, Team Lead in Barden Cork | Expert in AP/AR/Payroll & Part Qualified Accountant Careers | thiggins@barden.ie

Cliodhna O’Brien, Associate in Barden Cork | Expert in AP/AR/Payroll & Part Qualified Accountant Careers | cobrien@barden.ie

Nicole Carroll, Senior Associate in Barden Dublin | Expert in AP/AR/Payroll & Part Qualified Accountant Careers | ncarroll@barden.ie

Aoibhin Byrne, Associate in Barden Dublin | Expert in AP/AR/Payroll & Part Qualified Accountant Careers |abyrne@barden.ie

 

 

 

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