How To Become An Accountant Without A Degree

How To Become An Accountant Without A Degree


For someone who wants to become an accountant without a degree, this might seem impossible, but the reality is that your dream of becoming an accountant is still very much alive. It might be pleasing to know that you can become a chartered accountant without a degree.

While many people who are passionate about accountancy are zealous to study the subject in the university, they will still be required to gain a vocational qualification after graduating from the university. Although a degree equips you with useful theoretical knowledge, but there are other qualifications available to give the practical skills needed for a successful career as an accountant.

Positions in the field of accounting, such as bookkeeper, accounting clerk and auditing clerk, do not need a degree. The basic requirements for these combine formal education and intensive on-the-go accounting training. You need high school GCSE’s, WAEC (for West African countries) and some college qualifications. Fundamental mathematics and computer skills are also very important, together with honesty and detail-oriented. Useful college courses such as fundamental bookkeeping and accounting, you can also attend classes where they teach the usage of spreadsheets and other accounting software.
 
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On-the-job training takes up to six months. In large firms, the training could be a formal accounting training program. For small businesses, they might pair you with an experienced co-worker or a supervisor. They will teach you how to use specialised software and follow your employer's accounting methods.

What are some of the most popular accounting qualifications?

Below are some of the most popular accounting qualifications;

1. AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting courses - made up of three qualifications across three levels, they combine industry knowledge and practical work skills.

2. ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). ACCA qualifications - consist of two levels; Fundamentals and Professionals. The ACCA examination modules cover a variety of topics from corporate and business law to audit and assurance etc. ACCA certificate is widely accepted in most countries across the world.

3. ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) chartered accountant status - also known as the ACA, this qualification comprises of three to five years of practical work experience in an accountancy firm and complete 13 modules examination.

4. CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) - oversees the widely recognised CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), which demands you to have already gained the postgraduate-level Certificate in Business Accounting.

5. ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria), is the largest accounting body in Nigeria. Qualification consists of two levels (ATS and professional). For professionals, you pass through three stages (foundation, skills and professional). For ATS, you will pass ATS1, ATS2, ATS3 before you become an accounting technician.

Every country has an accounting body (bodies) which certifies and regulates the accounting profession. Some professional qualifications are widely recognized, while others are only recognized in specific countries and regions.

A considerable number of accounting firms will accept job candidates having qualifications from any of the boards stated above, but if you have a defined career path in mind, it will be of great benefit to look into the preferred qualifications of that speciality. For instance, if you're interested in becoming a chartered accountant, you'll need to have studied for the ACCA qualification with at least three years' work experience in a relevant role. It usually takes around a total of four years to become fully qualified.

It is possible to become an accountant without a degree in any field. You can apply for the ACCA qualification with joined GCSEs and A-levels. You can also apply for ICAN qualification with WAEC or NECO results. However, if you already have a degree or Masters in any subject, you will quality you for exemption from some of the exams. You can enter the accounting profession even without any formal academic qualifications and start at the foundation level first.
 
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In Nigeria, it is very easy to become a chartered accountant without a degree. This is possible through the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), using your secondary school-leaving certificate (WAEC or NECO) as a qualification to become an ICAN student.

There are two categories of ICAN students, they are;
  1. Professional students
  2. Accounting technicians (ATS)
As a secondary school-leaving certificate Holder, you will start your ICAN journey from ATS level. There are three levels in ATS, they are ATS 1, ATS 2, ATS 3. You will qualify as an accounting technician if you pass all the exams in each stages. You will move to Professional level which also has three stages (Foundation, skills and professional). Then you will officially become a chartered accountant ,(ACA) if you pass all the exams in each stages.

Disadvantages of becoming an accountant without a degree

Being an accountant without a degree is so frustrating, especially in landing a job. Often, a degree is the minimum requirement for landing an accounting job, so becoming an accountant without a degree disqualifies a candidate from applying for some accounting jobs. They might not even get interview invite if they apply.

An accountant without a degree may not fully maximize his/her potentials. Without having a degree, you are qualified for few accounting roles such bookkeeper, accounting clerk and auditing clerk jobs.

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