What’s Involved in Hiring a Part Qualified Accountant_

Barden Part Qualified Career Guide Blog Series…Next Up What’s Involved in Hiring a Part Qualified Accountant?

Are you a part qualified accountant and planning your professional future? If so, then this is the perfect blog series for you. Over the next few weeks we’ll share some excellent insights from the Barden Part Qualified Career Guide, which will help you plan and navigate your professional career.

Next Up…What’s Involved in Hiring a Part Qualified Accountant?

This section is for hiring managers but it’s never a bad thing to know what they’re thinking, Right?

In Barden we’re often approached by employers considering hiring a part qualified accountant, but who are unsure about what’s actually involved, what they need to consider and even how to get started. The following is our brief guide to hiring a part qualified accountant, and we hope it sets you on the right track.

Professional Accounting Qualifications – The Headlines

As a hiring manager, it’s worth checking out the various professional accounting qualifications out there, and in particular becoming familiar with the different exam and work experience options and requirements. You’ll need to be aware of these when choosing candidates, holding interviews, making offers and supporting the individual (e.g. exam leave) as they continue to study. To help you get a start, here’s a brief snapshot. Keep in mind that requirements can vary depending on previous qualifications and experience:

  • ACCA: 14 exams in total, with varying levels of exemptions offered based on the undergraduate or postgraduate that the person has completed. Work experience required to qualify after exam completion is generally 3 to 3.5 years.
  • CIMA: 13 exams in total (with varying exemptions) and 3 case studies. Minimum 3 years verified relevant work-based practical experience required to qualify.
  • ACA: Various routes are available, including training routes and flexible routes, available. 3 levels of exams – CAP 1, CAP 2 and FAEs. Work experience required can vary from 3 to 4 years.
  • CPA: Four stages of exams – F1, F2, P1 and P2. Three years relevant training work experience required.

* Make sure to visit the website of the relevant accountancy body to check for more info and specific details.

What’s Important to Part Qualified Accountants when Making the Move?

The biggest factor for part qualified accountants when making the move is to make sure that they are getting the proper practical exposure and opportunity to grow professionally as they progress through their exams. The team, the culture and the chance to progress are huge for people at this level, and hence need to be highlighted by hiring managers at every possible turn.

How Should I Cover Exam Support?

Companies generally pay exam fees, but do so in a number of ways including:

  • The company pays 100% up front with a claw back if the person leaves in a certain timeframe;
  • The person pays up front and is then fully reimbursed, by the company, once they pass; or
  • A 50-50 split, with the person being reimbursed once they pass.

Companies generally also provide some sort of exam leave with a few twists:

  • The “non-practice” standard is the day of the exam, and then perhaps one or two days per exam as additional study leave;
  • Some companies give this leave outright, while others will match vacation days taken for study with additional days; and
  • The practice standard differs significantly and depends on the nature of the qualification – there are long-standing precedents in practice that are not directly applicable to “non-practice”.

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that each person and situation is different. One size doesn’t fit all. Drop us a line if you want some bespoke advice as to what might work best for you and your team.

What About Salary and How Does That Change Over Time?

This is a tricky one.  As a general rule though, the less practical experience and the more exams the person has to do, the closer the base salary should be to graduate level.  The more practical experience and the less exams a person has left to do the closer the salary should be to qualified level.  Hence base salary levels vary dramatically from 25-30K to as high as 45-50K.

Typically part qualified accountants have salary increases associated with both passing exams (circa 30% of the increase) and taking on extra work load (circa 70% of the increase).  The smarter hiring managers weight it this way as it’s all about the person creating value in the business, not just value in themselves.

Remember too that for people at this level it’s not just about the base.  Study leave and general support for professional development have a huge impact.  A higher base but no support is less attractive than a slightly lower base and great support.  Getting the balance right is key if you want to attract and retain the right talent for your team.

What Are the Usual Concerns Hiring Managers Have When Considering Hiring a Part Qualified Accountant?

As experts in part qualified accountant recruitment we deal daily with hiring managers and employers on this topic. The following often come up in discussions as concerns when considering hiring a part qualified accountant:

  • “It’s different, it’s new to them, it’s not the norm.” Doing something new or different always raises some concerns. However, the trend is changing and we are seeing more and more organisations taking on part qualified accountants to fill their specific business needs. This is an opportunity for you to get ahead of the curve…your rivals are already doing it!
  • “I’ll hire them, pay for remaining exams and then they’ll leave.” Investing in your team is always a positive and will reap benefits not only for the individual but also the team and business. Many employers take steps to help protect themselves losing out on investments like this, an example of which could be to build in a payback scheme for exam support depending on how long the person stays.
  • “Experience and ownership of work will be an issue.” Often, hiring managers are worried about part qualified accountants not being able to take ownership of the work. Depending on the level of the work, this can be true. However, you might be surprised at the high-level exposure that some part qualified accountants have had and how much they are able to take on if given the right training and guidance. Hiring someone with a little less experience can also be a learning opportunity for more experienced people in your team.

What Are the Usual Questions That Arise When Considering Hiring a Part Qualified Accountant?

From working with hiring managers on a daily basis we gain an excellent insight into the usual questions hiring managers have when considering hiring a part qualified accountant. Generally, the top questions that arise surround exam support requirements, salaries, development and career progression. Contact Barden Accounting & Tax for bespoke advice for your team today.


Need help achieving your ambitions?

Are you a part qualified accounting professional looking for help in achieving your ambitions? If so get in touch with our expert team today at hello@barden.ie. They’re ready with lots of CV, LinkedIn, interview and career advice, along with cutting edge market insights to help you achieve your ambitions.













At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there!

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