The Student Room Group

retraining in accounting

Hello guys,

hope you are well.


I was wondering if you can help.

I have a degree in biomedical science and worked in a few minor temp lab roles since graduating last year. I really do not enjoy the lab and have altogether lost interest in life sciences as a whole.

I've been researching other career paths and accounting seems quite interesting and many people don't even need degree for it.

However, how do I actually go about getting into the field? I have seen accounting jobs asking for either school leavers age , aat apprenticeships or math-related graduates who they finance ACCA and CIMA for.

So for someone like myself with a non-finance degree, how can I get a job straight away in accounting without self-financing the qualifications myself?

Also am i too old (21) to retrain in accounting and a friend told me accounting is a dying industry is this true?


Thanks for your help, extremely grateful.
Original post by Amiit10
Hello guys,

hope you are well.


I was wondering if you can help.

I have a degree in biomedical science and worked in a few minor temp lab roles since graduating last year. I really do not enjoy the lab and have altogether lost interest in life sciences as a whole.

I've been researching other career paths and accounting seems quite interesting and many people don't even need degree for it.

However, how do I actually go about getting into the field? I have seen accounting jobs asking for either school leavers age , aat apprenticeships or math-related graduates who they finance ACCA and CIMA for.

So for someone like myself with a non-finance degree, how can I get a job straight away in accounting without self-financing the qualifications myself?

Also am i too old (21) to retrain in accounting and a friend told me accounting is a dying industry is this true?


Thanks for your help, extremely grateful.


No, you're not too old. The hard part would be getting the entry level job. The more difficult step after that would be keeping the job.

If you apply for jobs that asks for people from any background including school leavers and college leavers, you should still be fine. However, as a graduate you're eligible for graduate level entry, despite not having an accounting degree.

Accounting as a discipline doesn't contain difficult maths. You will struggle to find maths that go beyond GCSE maths and AS Level statistics in any accounting qualification. In other words, the maths you know for biomed (which in my opinion is more or less nonexistent) is more than adequate. I have seen people with degrees in random subjects get in e.g. history, modern languages, psychology, etc. It won't really matter which degree you did, since you will be trained and you study from the ground up, unless you have exemptions for accounting modules from an accounting degree.

I would strongly recommend you network with people in the industry, especially if you have uni friends who have signed up for graduate schemes in accounting. Failing that, asking for senior accountants for career advice would be helpful.

It's difficult to break into, but once you're in and have a few years' experience, you should be fine.

The more prominent question is what area of accounting are you interested working in. Depending on your answer, you would require to pick certain qualifications in order to remain competitive.
Areas of accounting include:

Audit - internal and extenal

Tax advisory

Corporate finance

Financial Accounting services

Management Accounting

Business advisory - technically not accounting, but accounting knowledge is very helpful

Accounting in the public sector

Project accounting

Foresnic accounting


Bookkeeping is a 'level' below accounting.
Economics accounting is a type of accounting used in economics; although it's called accounting and involves accounting, it's more to do with economics because it measures GDP and accumulate data for other economics indicators.


The go to accounting qualification would be ACA, if you are not entirely sure. It's a more appreciated accounting qualification for financial accounting and you can go both into financial and management accounting with it (as well as the list of accounting services listed above).
ACCA is an accounting qualification that is probably the most recognised in the world, since it's valid in 180+ countries. ACA on the other hand only has MRAs with about 8 countries as far as I know, but they tend to be countries with high levels of economic activity. You can go both into management and financial accounting with ACCA.
CIMA is a go to qualification if you want to specialise in management accounting. It's recognised in a number of countries due to MRAs, but it's usually for management accounting only.

If you want to switch accounting bodies later, you can do so with exemptions in a number of modules. However, if you want to switch to a foreign accounting body, you might want to double check whether your current qualification is recognised in the other country; if it's not, consider looking to switching to another UK accounting body before switching to the foreign accounting body (it's complicated).

Some of the big 4 accounting firms would be looking for their graduates to specialise in other qualifications such as CTA and CFA. Whilst these aren't always necessary to go into certain services such as tax and corporate finance, they are the highest qualifications out there for the areas which is why they encourage employees to take them.
Working for the Big 4 is probably the aim of a number of fresh graduates partly because it's easier to get jobs after you leave and that they have some of the best training for accounting there. With an international presence, you would also be eligible to work in other countries should you desire to. However, competition for these jobs are fierce (it's said there are about 1000 applicants for one job). So strategically, you would want to network with as many people as you can as well as go the less competitive jobs/positions.
It will be difficult to change roles after you secure a certain accounting role though, but it's usually possible about 3-4 years in. Do not rely on this if you want to go for a specific role but cannot secure it.

Whilst you don't necessarily need to finance your studies since you don't want to, it might help highlight to prospective employers that you're serious about the role by signing up for the student membership for the appropriate accounting body (you don't have to enroll in accounting exams immediately after but you would need to consider taking them somewhat later in the year).

If you have a specific role you want to apply for, I might be able to give more specific advice.
Original post by Amiit10
Hello guys,

hope you are well.


I was wondering if you can help.

I have a degree in biomedical science and worked in a few minor temp lab roles since graduating last year. I really do not enjoy the lab and have altogether lost interest in life sciences as a whole.

I've been researching other career paths and accounting seems quite interesting and many people don't even need degree for it.

However, how do I actually go about getting into the field? I have seen accounting jobs asking for either school leavers age , aat apprenticeships or math-related graduates who they finance ACCA and CIMA for.

So for someone like myself with a non-finance degree, how can I get a job straight away in accounting without self-financing the qualifications myself?

Also am i too old (21) to retrain in accounting and a friend told me accounting is a dying industry is this true?


Thanks for your help, extremely grateful.


you sound like a pretty standard applicant. What are your A level grades (and subjects)?
Reply 3
Original post by Amiit10
Hello guys,

hope you are well.


I was wondering if you can help.

I have a degree in biomedical science and worked in a few minor temp lab roles since graduating last year. I really do not enjoy the lab and have altogether lost interest in life sciences as a whole.

I've been researching other career paths and accounting seems quite interesting and many people don't even need degree for it.

However, how do I actually go about getting into the field? I have seen accounting jobs asking for either school leavers age , aat apprenticeships or math-related graduates who they finance ACCA and CIMA for.

So for someone like myself with a non-finance degree, how can I get a job straight away in accounting without self-financing the qualifications myself?

Also am i too old (21) to retrain in accounting and a friend told me accounting is a dying industry is this true?


Thanks for your help, extremely grateful.

Hey,

Great that you're interested in Accountancy. It can be a career that can open up lots of doors.

I think given the current economic climate, it can be a little more challenging than usual to get a role but no reason why you still can't.

Given you only graduated last year, and depending on your A-level/ University degree meets the UCAS/Degree grade requirements you should have a look at Graduate Schemes/Graduate Jobs and maybe even entry level roles in Accounting. There's no harm in going for a basic bookkeeping role to build some experience in the coming months, with a view to apply for Big 4 audit roles/ Big corporate finance graduate schemes.

Every graduate role/graduate scheme for an Accountancy role would pay for your ACA/ACCA/CIMA study support and exams depending on which of these three institutions you join and complete your exams under. They are all quite similar some more technical more than others but all very credible.

I think the initial foot in the door can be a bit of a challenge as companies can annoyingly put job adverts down as entry level but want 6-12 months experience. I would say keep applying and if you aren't getting much luck with getting a full time role, look for something short term to build an initial bit of experience and that can hopefully give you that help leap frog you.

Don't worry too much about accountancy being a dying industry. Like all jobs in the world, there will be some form of automation but this doesn't change the need for accountants. Accountants will in my opinion always be around, as their roles are to give financial advice, whether that's to their clients, or whether they work internally for a business. They support in decision making to management, interpretation of financials and articulating financials will require human beings to do this and this is how the role of an accountant is essentially evolving.

Best of luck, I'm sure you'll find something but do keep messaging on here if you're getting stuck and I'm sure someone (including myself) will try to our best to help.

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