ICAEW – The accountancy myths

Accounting giant, PwC, recently announced its plan to take on a record number of graduates for accountancy and professional services roles. In fact, there is rising demand for chartered accountants in all types of business. But one of the biggest misconceptions of chartered accountants is that they are purely number crunchers. It sells their role incredibly short, writes Sharon Spice, Head of Student Recruitment at ICAEW.

Picture a chartered accountant. What do you think of? Desk? Spreadsheets? A career void of excitement? You might be surprised to know that ICAEW Chartered Accountants have much more varied careers than you think.

They are respected for interpreting complex financial information and giving strategic business advice. They aren’t confined to their desks. They work with others. They have professional integrity and help businesses make effective decisions about finance.

From securing bank loans to running an organisation, they provide the biggest source of advice by reaching over 1.5m businesses of all sizes in the UK. They’re leaders too. You’ll find 83 FTSE 100 companies have ICAEW Chartered Accountants on their board.Do you know what it takes to become a chartered accountant? Test your assumptions below:


Chartered accountants need an accounting or finance degree

False. You can train as a chartered accountant with a degree in any discipline; you don’t even need Maths A-Level. As a graduate, you can start your career by studying ICAEW’s ACA professional qualification after university. If you don’t have a degree, you can top-up your business knowledge with an ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business, an AAT-ACA Fast Track certificate or a Higher Apprenticeship. Learn more at icaew.com/careers

You can study the ACA while in full-time employment

True. On-the-job training is a vital part of the ACA, as you combine work experience, study and exams.Students earn-while-they-learn and more than 2,850 different types and sizes of organisations around the world offer ACA training. But, you do have the option to start off as an independent student and don’t necessarily need an employer straight away.

Look for training contracts at icaew.trainingvacancies.com

You can only work in practice

False. ICAEW Chartered Accountants work in all sectors – from multi-nationals and global accountancy firms, to local charities and business start-ups. Their roles vary from business analyst and practice partner to finance director.

Your career will be stable

Statistically yes. Our latest Salary Survey showed that ICAEW Chartered Accountants working in business enjoy career stability. Their average salary was £90.8k. It’s good news for graduates – starting salaries are increasing too. ICAEW Chartered Accountants with up to two years’ experience earn, on average, around £48k.

You’ll need skills, not just academics

True. Employers look for the best candidates, so they will consider academic abilities, willingness to learn, commitment and motivation. They’ll also look at employability skills such as team working, communication, problem-solving skills and commercial awareness. Learn more at icaew.com/employability.

It’s just a job

False. When you qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you enter a profession. You will be invited to become a member of ICAEW and join over 142,000 ICAEW Chartered Accountants worldwide, where you receive support at every stage of your career.

Learn more about a career in chartered accountancy

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