I'm interested in pursuing the ACA + CFA qualifications without a degree. Advice?

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Amegakure
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Evening,


I'm seeking advice on where to go from where I am currently. I dropped out of mid-league university back in January 2012 after becoming disenchanted with the degree I was doing (1st year Financial Maths)


I'm now 20, currently going from one ****ty part-time job to another trying to make ends meet.


Now I've always been interested in pursuing a career in Accounting and I want to do something with my life before it's too late. I've done a bit of research and the ACA qualification does sound appealing. I have a few questions though.

1. I have no degree. I understand you need one to bypass a couple of exams, but to be taken on by a firm and be given a training contract; a degree is vital, yes? Or is there a different route I can take to gaining a contract? I've done some research on the AAT qualification and how it can serve as a direct, but longer route to ACA but it's not clear on training contracts. My GCSE's are decent, with an A in Maths. My A-Levels aren't all that spectacular, bar a decent B in Accounting but I'm not certain it meets 300 UCAS points.

2. What are the main differences between ACA, ACCA and CIMA?

3. Would you recommend I follow up the ACA (if I'm fortunate to pass) with a CFA qualification? How would employers view a candidate with both qualifications but with no degree?
4. Is there a way to gain the ACA without a training contract?
My apologies for the cluster of questions. Any advice would be well appreciated!
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Tokyoround
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Planning to do both with zero real work experience sounds like you're overcompensating for your lack of a degree.

Your options are: do an apprenticeship at one of the big 4; forget about ACA and do ACCA or CiMA instead, they are much more accessible than ACA and you can still have a decent career depending on your work ethic. Think about doing CFA or any other further qualifications afterwards. Doing CFA right now without any exposure to the industry is worthless and will not help you that much, just because it is marketed as the gold standard for finance does not mean its a golden ticket.
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AW1983
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I don't think you can do the CFA without a degree. Try doing this:

Stage 1: AAT Diploma in Accounting Level 4
Stage 2: ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB)
Stage 3: BA (Hons) Professional Accounting and the ICAEW ACA Professional Stage
Stage 4: ACA from ICAEW
Stage 5: CFA

http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgrad...ht/2013/10097/
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Tokyoround
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Yes you can, requirements are possession of either a bachelors degree, 4 years work experience, or a combination of study and experience that total 4 years, excluding part-time work..
(Original post by AW1983)
I don't think you can do the CFA without a degree. Try doing this:

Stage 1: AAT Diploma in Accounting Level 4
Stage 2: ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB)
Stage 3: BA (Hons) Professional Accounting and the ICAEW ACA Professional Stage
Stage 4: ACA from ICAEW
Stage 5: CFA

http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgrad...ht/2013/10097/
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alibee
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I think the main thing would be to focus on finding a job in an accounts role. You can't qualify as an ACA without 3 years of practical experience.

It would be great to find somewhere that will support you to do your AAT and then work from there. I think that once you've gained your ACA/ACCA with your experience requirements, no-one's going to be that bothered about your lack of a degree.
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AW1983
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Yes you can, requirements are possession of either a bachelors degree, 4 years work experience, or a combination of study and experience that total 4 years, excluding part-time work..
Many thanks for the update.
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AAT Advisor
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Hi Amegakure,

AAT could be a really good way to start your accounting studies.
Not only does the AAT qualification allow exemptions from up to 5 of the ACA exams and reduce the amount of work experience hours required, it also is highly sought after by employers.
This could help you get employment in the accounting field while you study ACA.
If you would like more information, you can call us on 0207 397 3002. Please feel free to order further information via our website. All the best and Good Luck


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Amegakure
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Thanks everybody. Fully appreciated.

Does completing the ACCA require relevant work experience like the ACA?
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Amegakure
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(Original post by AW1983)
I don't think you can do the CFA without a degree. Try doing this:

Stage 1: AAT Diploma in Accounting Level 4
Stage 2: ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB)
Stage 3: BA (Hons) Professional Accounting and the ICAEW ACA Professional Stage
Stage 4: ACA from ICAEW
Stage 5: CFA

http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgrad...ht/2013/10097/
Many thanks for your response.

Lets say I take this route. When I get to the ACCA stage, would I need to have 3-4 years experience to complete it like the ACA?

Also, what are my chances of securing a training contract with a firm when embarking on the ACA after finishing the AAT+ACCA bearing in mind I have no degree?
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7M33R
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If you managed to pull this off your CV would look great (Assuming you also have about 6 years of employment experience) That said please don't underestimate how hard both those qualifications are - They're both on the level of a Masters (Level 7) Pulling them off while studying will be even harder.

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Amegakure
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(Original post by 7M33R)
If you managed to pull this off your CV would look great (Assuming you also have about 6 years of employment experience) That said please don't underestimate how hard both those qualifications are - They're both on the level of a Masters (Level 7) Pulling them off while studying will be even harder.

I've set my mind 100% on coming through with these qualifications. It also helps that I have absolutely no social life outside of work
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Amegakure
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Assuming I finish the AAT, what are the odds of gaining employment with a firm that can fund my ACCA studies? And again, assuming I complete both qualifications what are the odds of finding a firm able to overlook my lack of degree and take me on the ACA?

Many thanks.
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alibee
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You can't gain ACA or ACCA without relevant work. You also absolutely shouldn't spend time gaining both of these as they are equivalent.

You should focus on finding an employer who can provide the relevant experience for your qualification as you can't gain one without it.
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AW1983
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Lets say I take this route. When I get to the ACCA stage, would I need to have 3-4 years experience to complete it like the ACA?
Yes, but the places you can get this experience is less restrictive. With the ACA, you will need to work for an approved employer for three years. Changing the employer that your training contract is with is doable but a real headache. With ACCA, you can work for multiple employers to get the experience as long as it's in a relevant role.You will need enough variety in your role. Just doing cash reconciliations for three years won't cut it. You also need an ACCA qualified mentor, although they don't necessarily have to work with you.

Also, what are my chances of securing a training contract with a firm when embarking on the ACA after finishing the AAT+ACCA bearing in mind I have no degree?
Zero, but for a reason you'll appreciate. No firm will see any point wasting the potential value of an ACCA as a trainee. They'll want you to join (assuming they want to employ you) as an Associate. You can still do the four or so exams you need for the ACA and count the work experience that you're getting, but they'll probably expect you to pretty quickly manage audits rather than do the photocopying for one!

They won't care if you don't have a degree. Oh, and if you just do ACCA without exemptions, you can get a degree from Oxford Brookes without much additional work.
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