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    Hi,

    I'm thinking of doing a maths degree at uni, and I'm trying to see what kind of careers I can get afterwards.

    Both actuary and chartered accountancy seem good to me, but could someone explain the pros and cons of each?

    Chartered accountancy seems more businessy to me whereas actuary is very maths based if I understand correctly.

    Which of the two has a higher salary? How difficult is it to become one of them?

    Thanks
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    actuary - you spend your life doing statistics - only choose this if you are SUPER keen on stats
    (erm .. i somehow ended up doing this degree so i know)
    also to become an actuary you will need to take professional qualifications and they are SUPER SUPER difficult (much more diff than accountancy and many more exams)
    some universities provide exemptions to some of the exams - namely, City University, LSE, Heriot Watt etc.

    accountancy i think there are three routes ACCA, ACA and.. something else

    definitely Actuary if you become qualified and continue moving up will give u a pretty high salary
    higher than Accountancy
    but obviously tht route is difficult

    nothing is easy, so i wont say accountancy is easy either

    pay wise, depends on your luck, the route you choose, which companies accept you .. bla bla bla
    but if you're someone who is very into $$
    i recommend you to consider investment banking

    v high pay - if you get into front office
    but vvv long working hours as well

    back to actuaries
    pro: v good pay, good working hours,
    con: hard route to get there, many exams (and u have to study whilst working), a lot of stats (can b good or bad depending on ur preference)

    accountancy
    -im clueless..
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    being an actuary is awesome, have you not seen Fight Club?!
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    (Original post by kristy888)
    actuary - you spend your life doing statistics - only choose this if you are SUPER keen on stats
    (erm .. i somehow ended up doing this degree so i know)
    also to become an actuary you will need to take professional qualifications and they are SUPER SUPER difficult (much more diff than accountancy and many more exams)
    some universities provide exemptions to some of the exams - namely, City University, LSE, Heriot Watt etc.

    accountancy i think there are three routes ACCA, ACA and.. something else

    definitely Actuary if you become qualified and continue moving up will give u a pretty high salary
    higher than Accountancy
    but obviously tht route is difficult

    nothing is easy, so i wont say accountancy is easy either

    pay wise, depends on your luck, the route you choose, which companies accept you .. bla bla bla
    but if you're someone who is very into $$
    i recommend you to consider investment banking

    v high pay - if you get into front office
    but vvv long working hours as well

    back to actuaries
    pro: v good pay, good working hours,
    con: hard route to get there, many exams (and u have to study whilst working), a lot of stats (can b good or bad depending on ur preference)

    accountancy
    -im clueless..
    thanks a lot for the post, I was beginning to wonder if anyone would reply to this thread!

    I do really like statistics actually, and I think I'll manage the hard work fine

    however, do you know approximately how much of the job market is made up of insurance firms, since religious reasons mean that I won't be able to work there I understand that there are businesses who need and hire actuaries as well, but are these kinds of jobs common?

    if not, then I guess I'll have to go with CA unless there are any other decent jobs related to maths/statistics?

    I'm not too keen on investment banking because for me, work is a means to have a better non-working life, and even though I'd enjoy doing mathsy stuff all day, I would rather spend time at home and do stuff with friends/family

    thanks
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    tbh im heading down the actuarial route myself and am QUITE worried i might not get a job... >.<
    well for one, internship application is so hard to get!! been applying like crazy and they offer like VV few places
    eg big4 offers like 3/4 places? ... =.=..
    alternatives are to apply to places like Towers Watson, Hewitt, Aviva, EMB, LCP etc.

    dont think hiring actuaries is that common (by common id say accountants.. yea plenty of ppl want you)
    actuaries.. well quite limited .. i havent done too much research into insurance companies.. not really sure they hire us .. hmm.. and even if they do they probably want one or two people per year

    yea.. well im slightly worried about being hired.. hoping there will be more vacancies or easier routes to go down..
    shall see in a year's time

    but definitely i think with an actuarial degree, you are more likely to show them you have true interest and so they may look upon your application more favourably
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    (Original post by kristy888)
    tbh im heading down the actuarial route myself and am QUITE worried i might not get a job... >.<
    well for one, internship application is so hard to get!! been applying like crazy and they offer like VV few places
    eg big4 offers like 3/4 places? ... =.=..
    alternatives are to apply to places like Towers Watson, Hewitt, Aviva, EMB, LCP etc.

    dont think hiring actuaries is that common (by common id say accountants.. yea plenty of ppl want you)
    actuaries.. well quite limited .. i havent done too much research into insurance companies.. not really sure they hire us .. hmm.. and even if they do they probably want one or two people per year

    yea.. well im slightly worried about being hired.. hoping there will be more vacancies or easier routes to go down..
    shall see in a year's time

    but definitely i think with an actuarial degree, you are more likely to show them you have true interest and so they may look upon your application more favourably
    oh I had the impression that there are very few actuaries around and that you're pretty much guaranteed a job
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    (Original post by kristy888)
    actuary - you spend your life doing statistics - only choose this if you are SUPER keen on stats
    (erm .. i somehow ended up doing this degree so i know)
    also to become an actuary you will need to take professional qualifications and they are SUPER SUPER difficult (much more diff than accountancy and many more exams)
    some universities provide exemptions to some of the exams - namely, City University, LSE, Heriot Watt etc.

    accountancy i think there are three routes ACCA, ACA and.. something else

    definitely Actuary if you become qualified and continue moving up will give u a pretty high salary
    higher than Accountancy
    but obviously tht route is difficult

    nothing is easy, so i wont say accountancy is easy either

    pay wise, depends on your luck, the route you choose, which companies accept you .. bla bla bla
    but if you're someone who is very into $$
    i recommend you to consider investment banking

    v high pay - if you get into front office
    but vvv long working hours as well

    back to actuaries
    pro: v good pay, good working hours,
    con: hard route to get there, many exams (and u have to study whilst working), a lot of stats (can b good or bad depending on ur preference)

    accountancy
    -im clueless..
    well my aunt worked at Ernst & Young and she didn't have great hours sometimes she would work until like after 11pm :eek: But now her hours are a little better
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    thats what I thought prior to uni
    in fact lecturers were saying
    that since were so rare, were actually in demand...
    but in reality..
    its hard to find a job because you need to go through numerous application processes
    there are loads of ppl out there surprisingly who also wants to be actuaries
    (bare in mind ppl from diff countries, ppl from diff education backgrounds - competing with like postgrads! etc. ppl who have taken a year out etc...)

    [discovered all this during my internship app process... >.< tough times to fight for a place]

    then it all depends on luck
    if you get through interviews, assessment centres etc.

    its not like
    oh, theyre offering a place then you apply and you get it
    its more, there arent many places offering the place, and ppl like you who want to b actuaries all look around the same area and so tons of ppl apply for that one or two place and competition is high and you need to do your best to try and get that position

    the putting your foot in the industry is V hard

    then again applies to any other industry
    but i find actuarial a bit more diff.
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    not sure what position she held but presumably senior ppl ought to work harder, working times change depending on your project and deadlines but in general actuarial work times are pretty stable
    working until after 11pm- dont think its like for a year, prolly for busy period

    but working hours for like investment banking can go up to like 16-18 hours a day(depending on division, project, position), so in actuarial you are in pretty good hours

    (Original post by anshul95)
    well my aunt worked at Ernst & Young and she didn't have great hours sometimes she would work until like after 11pm :eek: But now her hours are a little better
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    (Original post by kristy888)
    thats what I thought prior to uni
    in fact lecturers were saying
    that since were so rare, were actually in demand...
    but in reality..
    its hard to find a job because you need to go through numerous application processes
    there are loads of ppl out there surprisingly who also wants to be actuaries
    (bare in mind ppl from diff countries, ppl from diff education backgrounds - competing with like postgrads! etc. ppl who have taken a year out etc...)

    [discovered all this during my internship app process... >.< tough times to fight for a place]

    then it all depends on luck
    if you get through interviews, assessment centres etc.

    its not like
    oh, theyre offering a place then you apply and you get it
    its more, there arent many places offering the place, and ppl like you who want to b actuaries all look around the same area and so tons of ppl apply for that one or two place and competition is high and you need to do your best to try and get that position

    the putting your foot in the industry is V hard

    then again applies to any other industry
    but i find actuarial a bit more diff.
    ah alright, thanks for that

    regarding the working hours, I guess in all finance jobs there is a lot to do during some parts of the year and then not so much during others, especially in accounting etc.
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    (Original post by kristy888)
    thats what I thought prior to uni
    in fact lecturers were saying
    that since were so rare, were actually in demand...
    but in reality..
    its hard to find a job because you need to go through numerous application processes
    there are loads of ppl out there surprisingly who also wants to be actuaries
    (bare in mind ppl from diff countries, ppl from diff education backgrounds - competing with like postgrads! etc. ppl who have taken a year out etc...)

    [discovered all this during my internship app process... >.< tough times to fight for a place]

    then it all depends on luck
    if you get through interviews, assessment centres etc.

    its not like
    oh, theyre offering a place then you apply and you get it
    its more, there arent many places offering the place, and ppl like you who want to b actuaries all look around the same area and so tons of ppl apply for that one or two place and competition is high and you need to do your best to try and get that position

    the putting your foot in the industry is V hard

    then again applies to any other industry
    but i find actuarial a bit more diff.
    why do you start each sentence on a new line?

    this is not a good habit to get into if you want to get into an industry that involves a lot of writing of reports...
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    Hi Chewwy, my full apologies if that irritates you but the main reason is so that it's structured like bullet points and people can get straight to the content. For instance when you read a book and there are say twenty lines in a paragraph, it takes a long time to pick out the key points without having to read through every word and thus - wasting time. Obviously, in any job, I would definitely write more formally. But this is a forum, the point of a forum is mainly to exchange information and I'm sure people don't have a long time to read through everything, especially when there is a long list of replies in a thread and someone new wants to find out what is going on, they tend to skip the long paragraphs and just go for the short sentences to get an idea of what is going on. I tend to adapt to suit the needs of the audience. Also, by starting with a new line, it gives the illusion of more space and so it is much easier to read (similar concept to having bullet points). Hope you understand my viewpoint.

    (Original post by Chewwy)
    why do you start each sentence on a new line?

    this is not a good habit to get into if you want to get into an industry that involves a lot of writing of reports...
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Hi,

    I'm thinking of doing a maths degree at uni, and I'm trying to see what kind of careers I can get afterwards.

    Both actuary and chartered accountancy seem good to me, but could someone explain the pros and cons of each?

    Chartered accountancy seems more businessy to me whereas actuary is very maths based if I understand correctly.

    Which of the two has a higher salary? How difficult is it to become one of them?

    Thanks
    Both are very boring jobs

    Accoutancy is dull and boring, Actuarial work is also dull as the level of maths dissapears when you get a job

    do Maths at uni and you have a number of gateways open, have u checked what a quantative analyst is? if you like maths, statistics, finance and programming go for it
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    oh I had the impression that there are very few actuaries around and that you're pretty much guaranteed a job
    Yes, when you are a qualified actuary.

    Getting taken on as an actuarial trainee is difficult. Passing the exams is very difficult, there are very high failure rates.

    From my knowledge of the industry I would sum up the difference between being the two careers like this:

    Breaking in: easier to get taken on as an ACA trainee than an actuarial trainee, there are far more opportunities

    Exams: easier to do ACA than actuarial exams, not saying ACA is easy but most people can do it and pass first time, which will mean you qualify in 3 years. Actuaries take more like 5-7 years. The studying for actuarial exams is harder too, ACA is just volume, loads of stuff to remember, rather than being conceptually hard. Actuarial stuff is advanced maths, but if you're a maths graduate maybe that won't be such an issue.

    Working hours: vary in both. Audit is crushingly long. Corporate Tax less so. Actuaries probably have hours more on par with corporate tax, but the studying takes up more time than the ACA and over a longer period.

    Pay: while training ACAs usually £20k-£32k or so. After 3 years when qualified probably £40k. Actuaries while training probably £24k-£40k. Newly qualified probably £50k.

    Opportunities: Actuaries once qualified, like for like probably earn more than chartered accountants. It is a more secure job and always in demand. I think if you are a qualified actuary and have reasonable skill sets in other areas that you can safely say you will progress into the 6 figure bracket. With ACA it varies much more because ACAs do so many different things. I suppose a typical Chartered Accountant with experience can earn £60-70k. However some people with ACAs use it as a ticket to climb the management ladder in the financial world and so end up earning six figures like the actuaries.

    Neither career is going to be the stellar bonus world of front office investment banking but as far as most people are concerned they are well paying enough.
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    (Original post by my man the man)
    Both are very boring jobs

    Accoutancy is dull and boring, Actuarial work is also dull as the level of maths dissapears when you get a job

    do Maths at uni and you have a number of gateways open, have u checked what a quantative analyst is? if you like maths, statistics, finance and programming go for it
    thanks for the reply,
    Regarding the quantitative analysis thing, I do actually want to do a joint Maths and Computer Science degree so that seems quite good, what exactly do they do?

    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Yes, when you are a qualified actuary.

    Getting taken on as an actuarial trainee is difficult. Passing the exams is very difficult, there are very high failure rates.

    From my knowledge of the industry I would sum up the difference between being the two careers like this:

    Breaking in: easier to get taken on as an ACA trainee than an actuarial trainee, there are far more opportunities

    Exams: easier to do ACA than actuarial exams, not saying ACA is easy but most people can do it and pass first time, which will mean you qualify in 3 years. Actuaries take more like 5-7 years. The studying for actuarial exams is harder too, ACA is just volume, loads of stuff to remember, rather than being conceptually hard. Actuarial stuff is advanced maths, but if you're a maths graduate maybe that won't be such an issue.

    Working hours: vary in both. Audit is crushingly long. Corporate Tax less so. Actuaries probably have hours more on par with corporate tax, but the studying takes up more time than the ACA and over a longer period.

    Pay: while training ACAs usually £20k-£32k or so. After 3 years when qualified probably £40k. Actuaries while training probably £24k-£40k. Newly qualified probably £50k.

    Opportunities: Actuaries once qualified, like for like probably earn more than chartered accountants. It is a more secure job and always in demand. I think if you are a qualified actuary and have reasonable skill sets in other areas that you can safely say you will progress into the 6 figure bracket. With ACA it varies much more because ACAs do so many different things. I suppose a typical Chartered Accountant with experience can earn £60-70k. However some people with ACAs use it as a ticket to climb the management ladder in the financial world and so end up earning six figures like the actuaries.

    Neither career is going to be the stellar bonus world of front office investment banking but as far as most people are concerned they are well paying enough.
    That was a brilliant post, thank you very much

    Is being an actuary more statistics or more mathematics based?

    thanks
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    (Original post by my man the man)
    Both are very boring jobs

    Accoutancy is dull and boring, Actuarial work is also dull as the level of maths dissapears when you get a job

    do Maths at uni and you have a number of gateways open, have u checked what a quantative analyst is? if you like maths, statistics, finance and programming go for it
    It depends, I'm an accountant and I don't find the work boring at all. There is lots of scope for promotion which keeps you going!

    OP, I would say in the accountancy profession there is a lot of scope for earnings big money if you are willing to put in the hours. I know some partners who are rumored to be on 500k a year around where I work.
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    (Original post by Flying Scotsman)
    It depends, I'm an accountant and I don't find the work boring at all. There is lots of scope for promotion which keeps you going!

    OP, I would say in the accountancy profession there is a lot of scope for earnings big money if you are willing to put in the hours. I know some partners who are rumored to be on 500k a year around where I work.
    I totally agree on the fact that accountants can make a HELL alot of money depending on if you are in your own firm, if your in Big4 in an excellent financial city for london for example. I know many people like yourself who say its a good profession and i rightfully agree, but in relation to the OP accountancy has hardly any maths invloved indeed, espeically if hes considering a degree in maths or Act Sci

    and for me personally I find acc/actuarial boring indeed, in terms of job basis, I have had an internship in auditing and its something not for me personally

    but its all opinion based
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    thanks for the reply,
    Regarding the quantitative analysis thing, I do actually want to do a joint Maths and Computer Science degree so that seems quite good, what exactly do they do?



    That was a brilliant post, thank you very much

    Is being an actuary more statistics or more mathematics based?

    thanks
    Quants in particular can do a number of things in particular they can generally and alot price derivatives, for example option theory, pricing exotic/american options, could also work as a quant devleoper aka glorified programmer or in credit risk

    essentially they use highly rigourous mathematics to price derivatives and model and compile that using c++ ( programming language), so alot of maths, stats, finance and programming is required

    if you wish to be a quant they a PHD and c++ is needed, BUT I know you are still unsure of degree choice, but personalyl if you chose an actuarial degree your midn mite change, so I would defo say a Maths degree, as it can lead to any of the jobs said, and its a very good degree having maths


    I know I shouldnt reply to last bit, but personally you need a lot of statistics to be an actuary, you will need this for insurance in particular life insurance, so probability, statistcial inference are all important. For maths vs stats, i would argue that stats is needed more than mathematics, BUT maths is still neeeded, I know actuarial students, who say in first year they do maths modules and then they specialise in actuarial modules which involve alot of stats but SOME modules you still do pure maths, not as much as stats do....
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    oh I had the impression that there are very few actuaries around and that you're pretty much guaranteed a job
    It's true that there are very few actuaries and that they're in high demand, but that certainly does not mean you're guaranteed a job right from the beginning. The reason there are so few actuaries is because there are so few people who are of the right calibre to be an actuary, not because there are so few people who want to be actuaries. The demand for actuaries is high and the supply is low; but this is because most people do not constitute a "suitable supply" And then there are the exams to consider; even after getting your traineeship, there's no guarantee that you'll ever pass all the exams. They're not easy.

    It's not so much like some other jobs, where anyone can do the work really, but you're competing with other applicants to get the job. Here, the emphasis shifts towards striving to prove yourself capable enough to do the work.

    If you're a nearly/newly qualifed actuary with a bit of experience, then it's a different story; you've already shown that you're pretty capable of doing the job. That's when you'll find that actuarial jobs are easier to get, since demand is high, supply is low, you're recognised as "suitable supply" and the competition isn't so fierce.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    It's true that there are very few actuaries and that they're in high demand, but that certainly does not mean you're guaranteed a job. The reason there are so few actuaries is because there are so few people who are of the right calibre to be an actuary, not because there are so few people who want to be actuaries. The demand for actuaries is high and the supply is low; but this is because most people do not constitute a "suitable supply"

    It's not so much like some other jobs, where anyone can do the work really, but you're competing with other applicants to get the job. Here, the emphasis shifts towards striving to prove yourself capable enough to do the work.

    If you're a nearly/newly qualifed actuary with a bit of experience, then it's a different story; you've already shown that you're pretty capable of doing the job. That's when you'll find that actuarial jobs are easier to get, since demand is high, supply is low, you're recognised as "suitable supply" and the competition isn't so fierce.
    Shaaz!
    very informative post
 
 
 
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