gangsta316
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#1
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Which is better, easier, and more highly paid?
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fblade
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#2
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Easier: Accountant.
Highly Paid: Actuary.
What does better mean to you? Hours? Workload?
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Jelkin
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I've looked into this and have decided I prefer the actuarial route as it sounds more challenging and interesting. What fblade says is true of ease/salary.
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gangsta316
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About how much does each one earn right after finishing all the qualifications? These take 3 years right?

Is it true that some people go to an accountancy firm, qualify as an accountant, and then change job?
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Jelkin
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It would be possible to change job after becoming an acountant, but you wouldn't be able to just step over into the actuarial profession as it requires you to pass a really specific set of examinations (which are supposed to have a really poor pass rate as they're so hard!).

I've heard that an actuary starts on £30,000 while studying for the exams, then gets a payrise after each one until he's finished when he'll earn £70,000ish. I think. But I have no reliable source for those figures, I just read them on TSR. Besides, it depends on where you are - London actuaries earn the most.
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gangsta316
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(Original post by Jelkin)
It would be possible to change job after becoming an acountant, but you wouldn't be able to just step over into the actuarial profession as it requires you to pass a really specific set of examinations (which are supposed to have a really poor pass rate as they're so hard!).

I've heard that an actuary starts on £30,000 while studying for the exams, then gets a payrise after each one until he's finished when he'll earn £70,000ish. I think. But I have no reliable source for those figures, I just read them on TSR. Besides, it depends on where you are - London actuaries earn the most.
Would the accounting qualification help you to get into another job that's not accountancy? People tell me that it would because accounting supposedly is the foundation of business and a lot of managers used to be accountants.

So an actuary goes to £70,000ish right after finishing the exams?

Are the actuarial exams really so difficult?
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Jelkin
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(Original post by gangsta316)
Would the accounting qualification help you to get into another job that's not accountancy? People tell me that it would because accounting supposedly is the foundation of business and a lot of managers used to be accountants.

So an actuary goes to £70,000ish right after finishing the exams?

Are the actuarial exams really so difficult?
I imagine being an accountant would help simply because a) it shows you have numeracy skills and b) you have experience in the sort of companies that require actuaries and would probably have more practical knowledge than a lot of people who apply to be actuaries (e.g. new graduates). However, it sounds like a really bad idea to do the accountancy thing JUST to get into the actuarial profession. To me, anyway.

There are a lot of exams, for one thing. It takes between three and six years to complete them depending on how many exemptions you have, and you have exemptions from things like maths degrees and actuarial science degrees. But I think we're talking somewhere between 11 and 14 exams (though that's just from a vague memory, I don't actually know for sure). The pass rate for the exams is meant to be pretty low. Take driving, for example - the driving test pass rate is like 43%. I don't know what the pass rate for the actuary exams is but I'm pretty sure it's very different to GCSEs and A levels where you basically just have to write your name to pass!

DISCLAIMER: I am going on either what I've read or what I vaguely remember reading. I can't guarantee most things I've written!
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NW8_SW1_EC3
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#8
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To be an Actuary your gonna have to have some serious mathematical skill. If you're sure you're cut out for that, then go for it, very impressive profession and among the hardest out there.
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gangsta316
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(Original post by Jelkin)
I imagine being an accountant would help simply because a) it shows you have numeracy skills and b) you have experience in the sort of companies that require actuaries and would probably have more practical knowledge than a lot of people who apply to be actuaries (e.g. new graduates). However, it sounds like a really bad idea to do the accountancy thing JUST to get into the actuarial profession. To me, anyway.

There are a lot of exams, for one thing. It takes between three and six years to complete them depending on how many exemptions you have, and you have exemptions from things like maths degrees and actuarial science degrees. But I think we're talking somewhere between 11 and 14 exams (though that's just from a vague memory, I don't actually know for sure). The pass rate for the exams is meant to be pretty low. Take driving, for example - the driving test pass rate is like 43%. I don't know what the pass rate for the actuary exams is but I'm pretty sure it's very different to GCSEs and A levels where you basically just have to write your name to pass!

DISCLAIMER: I am going on either what I've read or what I vaguely remember reading. I can't guarantee most things I've written!
How about doing the accountancy qualification in order to do a finance job which is not accountancy or actuarial? Basically will it help your application if you're not aiming to be an accountant? And is there a lot of maths in accountancy? Of course I know actuarial is all maths.
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Jelkin
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I really don't know. But it seems pretty pointless to me to get a qualification irrelevant to the job you want, not to mention time-consuming and potentially expensive. What makes you want to do it? I think it might help a tiny bit, but not that much, depending on how relevant it is ... in either case, if they look at your CV and see you have an accountancy qualification which you got and never used, they might be a bit suspicious.

I think there is some maths in accountancy but mainly a lot of adding and subtracting!
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Mustard-man
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(Original post by gangsta316)
So an actuary goes to £70,000ish right after finishing the exams?

Are the actuarial exams really so difficult?
More like around £43,000 (depending on location) after the 15 exams to qualify as an Actuary.
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Jelkin
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(Original post by Mustard-man)
More like around £43,000 (depending on location) after the 15 exams to qualify as an Actuary.
Ha ha, oops. I did say I didn't know anything. It's probably worth checking out the thread called something like "Salary for a French actuary", which is in either the Consultancy sub-forum or the Finance & Accountancy sub-forum.
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Mustard-man
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Or go on prospect.ac.uk
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gangsta316
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#14
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Is it true that, after a few years, a qualified actuary can easily gain £100k? It seems that way on the prospects.ac site but it seems that many more people go for accountancy.
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Drogue
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(Original post by Mustard-man)
More like around £43,000 (depending on location) after the 15 exams to qualify as an Actuary.
Well, I have friends currently doing actuarial exams that earn more than £43k. In London at least, working for an actuarial firm, you'd expect a lot more than £43k after qualifying. Even at the FSA (ie. public-sector) newly-qualified actuaries earn more than £43k.
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Mustard-man
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(Original post by Drogue)
Well, I have friends currently doing actuarial exams that earn more than £43k. In London at least, working for an actuarial firm, you'd expect a lot more than £43k after qualifying. Even at the FSA (ie. public-sector) newly-qualified actuaries earn more than £43k.
Well, I'd say ~£43k is the minimum salary any qualified Actuary outside the city can expect. Also, the salary increase going in as a graduate with an Actuarial Science degree tends to be less than someone who they train from scratch with no exemptions. And so consequently they may have a higher salary at each stage in becoming a qualified Actuary. The point I was making earlier is it's nearer the 40's as oppose to the ~£70k as the OP thought.

If I may ask, how much are your friends who are currently doing exams earning? How much more do you mean by "a lot more"?
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Drogue
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(Original post by Mustard-man)
The point I was making earlier is it's nearer the 40's as oppose to the £70k suggested by someone.
From the people I know, I'd disagree. Every qualified actuary I know, is on far nearer £70k than £43k.
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gangsta316
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#18
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Seems that actuary is highly lucrative although I've also heard that the average chartered accountant earns about £76k. Are actuarial jobs in London competitive like IB? Are firms prestige whores like IBs? I heard that actuaries come from all disciplines. Is this true or do most of them study maths, stats or actuarial science?
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Jelkin
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I think there must be quite a lot of competition for actuarial jobs, but nothing like for IB. Apparently you can be an actuary if you have a good maths A level and any degree but I don't know if this really works in practice (but I guess I'll find out!). Most actuaries will have done a quantitative degree like maths or economics, but this will in part be to do with the fact that people who want very mathsy jobs tend to be people who like maths and therefore studied it at uni.
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Drogue
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(Original post by gangsta316)
Seems that actuary is highly lucrative although I've also heard that the average chartered accountant earns about £76k. Are actuarial jobs in London competitive like IB? Are firms prestige whores like IBs?
No and no.

(Original post by gangsta316)
I heard that actuaries come from all disciplines. Is this true or do most of them study maths, stats or actuarial science?
All of them will study maths, stats, act sci or something similar, often to postgrad level. Actuarial work is very technical and mathematical.
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