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    (Original post by my man the man)
    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
    Where training as an accountant is good, is that if you want a high flying career in the financial sector, and you are the type of person who is good at networking, building relationships with people, then accountancy is a good way of doing this because you get involved with clients and you learn how a business operates. Which is why a lot of people who started as ACAs but go off doing things other than just audit, got their 'break' and their contacts through firms they made contact with whilst working as an accountant.

    So I would say it is a better choice for somebody who wants to keep their options open. If you want to become an actuary basically you do it because you want to stay as an actuary, there is no point going through all those exams otherwise. I also think you have to be a certain type of person with a certain set of skills to be an actuary, maybe accountants are more broad in nature.

    Actuaries probably deep down think of themselves as better than accountants because its harder and fewer people can do it.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Where training as an accountant is good, is that if you want a high flying career in the financial sector, and you are the type of person who is good at networking, building relationships with people, then accountancy is a good way of doing this because you get involved with clients and you learn how a business operates. Which is why a lot of people who started as ACAs but go off doing things other than just audit, got their 'break' and their contacts through firms they made contact with whilst working as an accountant.

    So I would say it is a better choice for somebody who wants to keep their options open. If you want to become an actuary basically you do it because you want to stay as an actuary, there is no point going through all those exams otherwise. I also think you have to be a certain type of person with a certain set of skills to be an actuary, maybe accountants are more broad in nature.

    Actuaries probably deep down think of themselves as better than accountants because its harder and fewer people can do it.
    Couldnt agree more! The number of actuarial students at my university is insance and they do like to think of them as some sort of hierarchy as opposed to the accountants, when considering the fact they even if actuaries do much more rgiorous stuff in terms of maths and exmas, accountants can still make as much as actuaries OR POSSIBLY even more!

    but there is a skill set required for an actuary, the exams are tedious, especially the non mathematical ones such as the CA and SA exams! but in my opinion its a boring lifestyle, sure fair play if you want a 6 figure 9-5 respected job, be my guest, but personally once u actually do the job I hear the level of maths goes away completely so thats why act/acc in my opnion seems boring, plus actuaries dont do alot of PURE COMPARED TO STATS in terms of mathematics which is what I dont lke tbf, and the exams, wel......
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    Well I've been working as an actuary for over 2 years, and nearly qualified now (couple of exams to go).

    Firstly, yes the exams are tough - but not impossible. And you generally get plenty of support from your employer. They also don't involve any pure maths (as this relates to abstract maths such as metric spaces,topology etc) but do involve a lot of statistics (which obviously does involve calculus etc which you may think of as pure maths at school).

    I agree that it's difficult to get the initial job (I think I went to about 3 assessment centres) but once you have it then jobs are much easier to come by. I now often get phone calls asking me if I'm interested in applying for jobs at the big four accountancy firms so you are generally sought after once you are working as an actuary. Incidentally the big four certainly aren't the best employers for actuaries - either insurance companies or consultancy firms (depending on what you want to do) should be where you start looking.

    Also wouldn't say we think of ourselves as above accountants - just a different field, and annoying when people assume that they are the same. For example a post below saying actuarial is boring having worked in audit - two very very different jobs! But I have a couple of close friends that are now qualified accountants and the exams are certainly easier to pass. They also hate their jobs by the way so will be moving on from audit asap.

    Insurance companies do certainly hire lots of actuaries (although I work in pensions), and definitely more than 1/2 a year! I'd say overall easily the biggest employer of actuaries.

    Contrary to other posts, the job certainly does involve maths on a day to day basis, although generally no calculus or more technical maths that you do in the exams.

    It is more financial maths, generally using annuities (valuing cashflows for the remainder of a person's life). You don't get into the really technical detail too much, but you do need to have a good appreciation of how things are calculated. You also need to sit down and think how you would calculate potentially extremely complicated benefits, so there's a bit of a problem solving as well - obviously good for any mathematician.

    Pay wise - yes it's good, and much higher than accountants (in general). For example, I'll be paid about £20k more than my qualified accountant mates once qualified (and still more now even when not qualified).
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    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...114685&page=23

    Before you make your decision, read this thread. It is effectively the Actuarial super thread.
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    (Original post by Yorkshireactuary)
    Well I've been working as an actuary for over 2 years, and nearly qualified now (couple of exams to go).

    Firstly, yes the exams are tough - but not impossible. And you generally get plenty of support from your employer. They also don't involve any pure maths (as this relates to abstract maths such as metric spaces,topology etc) but do involve a lot of statistics (which obviously does involve calculus etc which you may think of as pure maths at school).

    I agree that it's difficult to get the initial job (I think I went to about 3 assessment centres) but once you have it then jobs are much easier to come by. I now often get phone calls asking me if I'm interested in applying for jobs at the big four accountancy firms so you are generally sought after once you are working as an actuary. Incidentally the big four certainly aren't the best employers for actuaries - either insurance companies or consultancy firms (depending on what you want to do) should be where you start looking.

    Also wouldn't say we think of ourselves as above accountants - just a different field, and annoying when people assume that they are the same. For example a post below saying actuarial is boring having worked in audit - two very very different jobs! But I have a couple of close friends that are now qualified accountants and the exams are certainly easier to pass. They also hate their jobs by the way so will be moving on from audit asap.

    Insurance companies do certainly hire lots of actuaries (although I work in pensions), and definitely more than 1/2 a year! I'd say overall easily the biggest employer of actuaries.

    Contrary to other posts, the job certainly does involve maths on a day to day basis, although generally no calculus or more technical maths that you do in the exams.

    It is more financial maths, generally using annuities (valuing cashflows for the remainder of a person's life). You don't get into the really technical detail too much, but you do need to have a good appreciation of how things are calculated. You also need to sit down and think how you would calculate potentially extremely complicated benefits, so there's a bit of a problem solving as well - obviously good for any mathematician.

    Pay wise - yes it's good, and much higher than accountants (in general). For example, I'll be paid about £20k more than my qualified accountant mates once qualified (and still more now even when not qualified).

    I was indicating that audit internship which I had, was a downfall espeically for picking accountancy well in my opinion anyway! BUT as well as this I also did an actuarial internship for an actuarial company called canada life! so I have both knowledge of actuarial and accounting work!

    well in my internship I was doing mainly excel work with a bit of macros to say the most! it didnt involve alot of interesting stuff, I suppose you could call actuarial work in terms of the theory behind it interesting, but for me personally an actuarial job would be boring

    and maths, sorry level of stats in a job varied considerably! generally speaking GI can involve alot of stats/probability, but life and pensions are in a way different and dont involve alot of maths, same with investment though ST6 and if you wish to go for more of a derivative side, then yes maths level, its just my understanding of actuarial is that there was alot of maths IN THE JOB I.E. CALCULUS, ALGEBRA ETC but my friend is an actuary for towers watson and he said quite the oppoiste

    btw how r u finding the actuarial lifestyle? what division and what company?
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    Ah ok, and yes agree there definitely isn't any calculus, but I'd say there can be SOME algebra (as far as having an unknown to solve for). I'd say there was a lot of numbers and calculations involved, not so much proper maths.

    Also at towers watson actually, on the benefits side. I do enjoy it but there can be some long hours to meet deadlines, and I'm currently just losing my life to do exams, but at least nearly there! And only really get down to it about a month before so its only 2 months a year where it really stops me doing anything.
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    OP, I'm an accountant with a maths degree and I would say it depends where you go as to the level of maths involved.

    For example, in my firm there are people who haven't studied any maths since GCSE and they get away with it fine as they are put on jobs with very little maths involved. The only thing they have to worry about is passing some of the more computational based exams such as financial management which involve NPV calculations, valuations and derivative computations.

    But for people with maths backgrounds the maths is there occasionally, especially if you work in the financial services area. You can get asked to help out on valuing derivatives and other investments. Often with complex clients which do a lot of trading you need quite a good grasp of excel and manipulating formulas such as vlookup, pivot table, sumifs etc. Often it involves manipulation of lots of data in excel on a daily basis.

    But ultimately there is very little maths involved for the average accountant beyond manipulation of excel spreadsheets and debit and credits. It is the sort of job that anyone can do once trained. But I will say that having a maths degree does help and can get you promoted a whole lot faster if the managers have to rely on you abilities to perform complex tasks on larger clients. Obviously the better accountants are those with a good grasp of whats happening in the underlying calculations.

    My advice would be to train as a actuary if you plan on staying in the UK as I've heard that big 4 hours in London and similar places are an absolute nightmare in the busy season..
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    (Original post by Yorkshireactuary)
    Incidentally the big four certainly aren't the best employers for actuaries - either insurance companies or consultancy firms (depending on what you want to do) should be where you start looking.
    How come?
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    Well there just seems to be this obsession with the big 4 when you're applying for jobs from uni. Depends where you work I suppose but you could end up in an office with virtually no actuaries (this applies to at least 2 of the big four in Leeds), whereas in a consultancy firm or insurance company you have a network of people all sitting actuarial exams, to socialise with etc.

    I've also heard rumours that the big four are less forgiving with failing exams (which generally everyone will do) but that is just a rumour.

    In my opinion it's just better to work in an actuarial firm rather than an accountancy firm with a sideline actuarial department.
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    Sorry, a bit off topic here:

    Is it possible to have done Economics at undergraduate level & still become an actuary in the long run?
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    (Original post by *Hakz*)
    Sorry, a bit off topic here:

    Is it possible to have done Economics at undergraduate level & still become an actuary in the long run?

    Definitely - probably the third most common degree behind maths and actuarial science.

    Either of these links will give you a bit more info:

    http://www.actuaries.org.uk/becoming...become-actuary

    http://www.insidecareers.co.uk/__802...t=1&count=1000
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    (Original post by *Hakz*)
    Sorry, a bit off topic here:

    Is it possible to have done Economics at undergraduate level & still become an actuary in the long run?
    By my understanding, you can do any degree, it's just that some degrees help you when taking the exams to become an actuary
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    By my understanding, you can do any degree, it's just that some degrees help you when taking the exams to become an actuary
    This is correct! If you are dead certain of becoming an actuary and I mean dead certain then I advise you to do so, as it saves a few years by completing 8 exams while doing this degree, BUT only if you are dead certain.

    though a maths/economics/stats/physics/chemistry degree can lead to becoming an actuary, its just if you can show yourself as becoming fit to be an actuary then you are fine, plus some people tell me they prefer ppl from a different background such as science for some reason, so really if you pick a well repsected numerical/science degree then you can still become an actuary
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    (Original post by my man the man)
    This is correct! If you are dead certain of becoming an actuary and I mean dead certain then I advise you to do so, as it saves a few years by completing 8 exams while doing this degree, BUT only if you are dead certain.

    though a maths/economics/stats/physics/chemistry degree can lead to becoming an actuary, its just if you can show yourself as becoming fit to be an actuary then you are fine, plus some people tell me they prefer ppl from a different background such as science for some reason, so really if you pick a well repsected numerical/science degree then you can still become an actuary
    I know this thread has been open ages now, but you know you said both Audit and Actuary are dull/boring, what careers are, in your opinion, interesting while using mathematical techniques, without the requirement of being Isaac Newton.
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    hey!!!
    can ne one plz suggest me that doing actuary wid charted accountantcy preferable????
    reply awaited...
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    (Original post by Shruti Agarwal)
    hey!!!
    can ne one plz suggest me that doing actuary wid charted accountantcy preferable????
    reply awaited...
    ... what? Look, you can't be an actuary and a chartered accountant. Pick one and concentrate on that. If you want a specific degree that will get you into both, well, any science based degree involving a lot of high calibre maths with a B at A level maths is enough for an actuary, whereas any degree at all is fine to become an accountant.
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    but i have seen people doing actuary with ca.... there is no time bar for actuary ... so what is the harm in doing both of them together?
    we have three years articleship period and then in may 2014 i have my ca final attempt due.. so in these three years i can divert sufficient time on actuary and can clear few papers...
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    (Original post by Shruti Agarwal)
    but i have seen people doing actuary with ca.... there is no time bar for actuary ... so what is the harm in doing both of them together?
    we have three years articleship period and then in may 2014 i have my ca final attempt due.. so in these three years i can divert sufficient time on actuary and can clear few papers...
    They are both very specific exams. Doing both at the same time will be detrimental to a career in one discipline, and won't really add much to long term employability unless you decide to change jobs. Look at job vacancies for actuaries, none of them require you to be a chartered accountant. The same goes for accountancy vacancies.

    If I was an employer seeing someone who had both would concern me as it indicates you aren't really sure what you want to focus on and i'd have doubts you would be serious in having a lengthy career at my company. Instead of actuary exams do something else accountancy or even IT related that will actually add to your job prospects, it's a lot of time and effort to pour into something that isn't even your chosen career.
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    (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.
    Once again- a very informative post.
    Actuary certainly seems to have a lot of things going for it.
    Obviously a maths or actuarial science degree would be the best route for it, but:
    1) How difficult would it be for an economics qraduate from a top 10 university in terms of getting a trainee position, because as an industry- it is very small
    2) How difficult would it be to pass the exams for someone who is not a whizz kid at it, but for someone who is hoping for at least an A* and A in maths and further maths and who is better at stats than the other modules?
    Thanks
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    (Original post by Flying Scotsman)
    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.
    You can earn a lot from either training route, Chartered Accountancy or Actuarial. I work at a big 4 firm studying ACA so I mainly know about that side of things. Sure partners do earn decent money, e.g. I was chatting to one and he was late 30's and had a base salary of about £300k, he was complaining though because he was newly appointed partner he didn't get the share in the profits like others did. The other partners were getting £900k on average, senior partners in the £1m + bracket. However, personally, I wouldn't want to become a partner, the amount of boring **** you have to go through is just not worth it.

    My advice is that you can't really go wrong becoming an accountant or actuary, get the qualification and move from there, you may want to go into something more interesting, like 70% of people I'm training with, they will leave after they qualify.

    Maths degree could get you into to some other interesting jobs, but you're making a good start by thinking along these lines.
 
 
 
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