BSc student looking for some advice on entering the accountancy profession Watch

ir174
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Hi guys, I'm in my penultimate year of study on track for a high 2:1. If anyone here can offer some advice I'd appreciate that greatly. It's not a decision I'm taking lightly but I've decided I don't want to continue along my current path towards becoming a biomedical scientist, it's something I've been considering since I started University. I understand that you don't need to have an accountancy degree in order to enter the profession which is why I have continued with my studies, hopefully completing them next year and leaving with a solid degree but It's not what I want to do.

My question is what are my options? Should I be looking for a summer internship? Should I wait to finish my degree and then what? ACA/ACCA whichever I go through, when should I sign up to take the exams? do I sign up as an independant student?

I'm just so lost on this matter. any advice is appreciated, thank you and have a good day!
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hanley9
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I'd apply to as many internships as you can. It doesn't matter where - just get some sort of experience. It will help a lot when you're looking for a grad job next year.
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littlejack95
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(Original post by ir174)
Hi guys, I'm in my penultimate year of study on track for a high 2:1. If anyone here can offer some advice I'd appreciate that greatly. It's not a decision I'm taking lightly but I've decided I don't want to continue along my current path towards becoming a biomedical scientist, it's something I've been considering since I started University. I understand that you don't need to have an accountancy degree in order to enter the profession which is why I have continued with my studies, hopefully completing them next year and leaving with a solid degree but It's not what I want to do.

My question is what are my options? Should I be looking for a summer internship? Should I wait to finish my degree and then what? ACA/ACCA whichever I go through, when should I sign up to take the exams? do I sign up as an independant student?

I'm just so lost on this matter. any advice is appreciated, thank you and have a good day!
Applying for an ACA grad role doesn't require you to have any previous business knowledge. During assessment centres I have met hundrends of people from all sorts of disciplines, from medicine, IT and zoology, to psychology, politics and history. I also know a couple of ex-big4 managers who had BSc in completely irrelevant degrees. The grad roles in the Big 4 specifically are oriented towards candidates who show a genuine interest in the role. That is, as long as you have basic business awareness, you know what a business is, you show enthusiasm for learning etc, you will be fine. I have friends who are on grad schemes now and have 0 previous experience and have still got offers. You basically start from 0, yes you are exposed to clients from the start but you are with an experienced team who give you tasks slowly so that you get used to it. Every couple of weeks you are also given time to study and prepare for your exams because you will have 6 first year, 6 second and 3 last year, it might differ across providers though. Work experience-wise you can just talk about what societies you've been involved with at university, any part time jobs etc, maybe just go for an insight day somewhere or do a part time summer job if you want, it is good because it will give you natural responses to STAR questions, but honestly it isn't necessary because there are so many examples you could use from university such as team work, leading a project, volunteering etc. But in general you can feel free to apply as long as you can show why you want to go into audit or whatever it is you want to go into, tax, assurance, advisory, consulting etc. The company gives you training from the start and they monitor your performance and help you along the way. There are obviously going to be people with business related degrees but they in no way have any advantage over you in terms of being chosen to work at a given firm. They look at you as a whole package, personality, energy, skills (time management, leadership, persuasion etc.) You will also find that when you get to an assessment centre for a graduate job at a big 4, there are people who have applied for apprenticeships, internships, school leaver programmes, experienced jobs etc. they all go through the same recruitment process pretty much so everyone is given a fair chance. Hope this helps.
Last edited by littlejack95; 10 months ago
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littlejack95
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If you are about to finish university, you can apply now for graduate jobs. Might be too late but you could still find companies that accept applications. Otherwise if you miss the 2019 intake, you could apply for an internship or placement or a regular job somewhere and use that as experience. I genuinely think you will be fine because big 4 usually have openings throughout the whole year now. Maybe every 6 months but you are free to apply whenever. Just make sure you practice psychometric and numerical tests a lot.

ACA/ACCA is sort of similar, difference being ACCA in the USA and ACA in the UK and throughout some other EU countries I think. You may find some companies offering ACCA in the UK but idk how that works. In general I would go for ACA, I think it is highly respected.

You could go private, through a college or education institution, but that defeats the whole point of ACA. You are meant to work whilst doing it so you get that "real life" experience where you apply what you've learnt. Big 4 firms;s grad schemes are usually 3 years and the company pays for your studies, so you work 2 months, then study 1-2 weeks, then again the process repeats until you complete all of your exams and are fully qualified chartered accountant after which you may become a manager or go into another service line. In all cases, I would avoid doing ACA on your own through a college without doing it through a firm. It is literally pointless, and it will be hard for your to memorise so much material and apply it in real life without any previous experience.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by ir174)
Hi guys, I'm in my penultimate year of study on track for a high 2:1. If anyone here can offer some advice I'd appreciate that greatly. It's not a decision I'm taking lightly but I've decided I don't want to continue along my current path towards becoming a biomedical scientist, it's something I've been considering since I started University. I understand that you don't need to have an accountancy degree in order to enter the profession which is why I have continued with my studies, hopefully completing them next year and leaving with a solid degree but It's not what I want to do.

My question is what are my options? Should I be looking for a summer internship? Should I wait to finish my degree and then what? ACA/ACCA whichever I go through, when should I sign up to take the exams? do I sign up as an independant student?

I'm just so lost on this matter. any advice is appreciated, thank you and have a good day!
I think you should do the following as a start:

- apply for some summer schemes. They are a great introduction, and it gives you some experience with the application process to different firms and companies, whether you need to develop skills and knowledge and whether you meet their requirements

- visit you university careers office. There are likely to be a lot of career event/ employer sessions you can attend which gives some background and something to talk about in interviews

- find anyone you know who works in the profession - particularly recent graduates - and arrange to speak with them to learn about their experiences. Likewise final year students currently applying can be a really valuable source of information.

You don't want to start studying accounting now. Your degree is more important and you should try to get an employer to pay for the courses.
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ir174
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(Original post by littlejack95)
If you are about to finish university, you can apply now for graduate jobs. Might be too late but you could still find companies that accept applications. Otherwise if you miss the 2019 intake, you could apply for an internship or plaThiscement or a regular job somewhere and use that as experience. I genuinely think you will be fine because big 4 usually have openings throughout the whole year now. Maybe every 6 months but you are free to apply whenever. Just make sure you practice psychometric and numerical tests a lot.

ACA/ACCA is sort of similar, difference being ACCA in the USA and ACA in the UK and throughout some other EU countries I think. You may find some companies offering ACCA in the UK but idk how that works. In general I would go for ACA, I think it is highly respected.

You could go private, through a college or education institution, but that defeats the whole point of ACA. You are meant to work whilst doing it so you get that "real life" experience where you apply what you've learnt. Big 4 firms;s grad schemes are usually 3 years and the company pays for your studies, so you work 2 months, then study 1-2 weeks, then again the process repeats until you complete all of your exams and are fully qualified chartered accountant after which you may become a manager or go into another service line. In all cases, I would avoid doing ACA on your own through a college without doing it through a firm. It is literally pointless, and it will be hard for your to memorise so much material and apply it in real life without any previous experience.
This is all so helpful and encouraging, thank you so much for your time! I will take all this on board
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