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How to become an accountant

Are you considering a career in accounting? Do you want to become an accountant but are unsure of the next step to take? Our ‘how to become an accountant’ guide is here to help.

A career in accountancy requires advanced training, formal certification and, most importantly, the determination to succeed. Reaching the top takes hard work and dedication, but it will be worth it once you get there.

From qualifications and necessary skills, to graduate employers and career trends, you will find all the information you need to know about becoming an accountant in this comprehensive guide.

What does an accountant do?

There are various roles and responsibilities that an accountant has to take on throughout their career, and accountants are required in almost every sector of modern business.

An accountant may be responsible for any of the following:

  • Preparing financial statements
  • Analysing cost of operations and products
  • Audits
  • Managing a company’s accounting systems, tax returns, etc.
  • Budgeting
  • Supervising other employees

Many accountants can use their knowledge and skills to obtain executive roles, or even to become entrepreneurs and run their own business.

What do I need to become an accountant?

learn with InterActiveQUALIFICATIONS

There are several accounting qualifications you can consider. Each has focuses on different areas and approaches, but all will prepare you for a successful career as an accountant.


The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a leading international accountancy body and their official qualification is recognised and respected globally. With a strong focus on professional values, ethics and governance, the ACCA qualification provides you with the professional mind set you need to enter the world of accountancy.


To become a member of ACCA you must complete:

  • Exams - a minimum of five of 14 exams (nine are eligible for exemption*)
  • Experience – at least 36 months' experience in a relevant role
  • Ethics - the Professional Ethics module.


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The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification combines elements of accounting, finance and management. You’ll also learn all the latest techniques used to drive business forward.

CIMA is the world’s largest professional body of management accountants. Becoming a member enables you to use the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, and you’ll also be able to network with other management accountants worldwide.

The CIMA qualification has three different levels: Operational, Management, and Strategic. To pass each level you must pass three objective tests and a case study, meaning nine objective tests and three case studies in total.


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You may want to study your accounting qualification online. Here are some advantages of doing so:

  • Flexibility - study at your own pace in a location that suits you
  • No travel - saving time and money
  • No exams - we operate an assignment based approach
  • Learning and support - your dedicated Student Adviser will support you from admission through to graduation
  • Affordability - student loans are now available to part-time students.

Read more: How to become an accountant part 2