Accountant education requirements 

To get into a good university to study an accounting or accounting and finance degree, you will want to achieve either good grades at A Level or Foundation.

A Levels

Student in a classroom at Bellerbys College

A Levels are a great pathway to an accounting career. You should be aiming to achieve three strong grades such as AAA or AAB. 

Foundation

A group of students learning at Bellerbys College

Study a respective alternative to A Levels with a foundation programme. Achieving at least 70% in a foundation course can help you to attend a top ranking university. 

How long does it take to become an accountant?

Depending on your career goals and where your ambitions lie, it can take different amounts of time to become an accountant.

An undergraduate degree will take you three years in England and Wales, or four years if you study in Scotland. After university, the length of time you need to study further will depend on the qualifications you want to take:

  • The ACA qualification is the most prestigious qualification and requires you to complete 450 days of technical work, taking three to five years of graduate training to complete.

  • The ACCA prepares you for technical and management accounting and normally takes about four years to achieve full qualification.

  • The CIMA qualification will typically take four years to complete the 12 professional exams and is ideal for those looking to work in business and management accounting.

Accountant career prospects

What can I do with an accounting and finance degree?

After graduating with an accounting degree, you could become a:

  • Chartered accountant
  • Chartered certified accountant
  • Chartered management accountant
  • Forensic accountant
  • Stockbroker

An accounting and finance degree could also help you pursue job roles such as:

  • Actuary
  • Data analyst
  • Economist
  • Purchasing manager
  • Tax advisor

For those aiming to become a chartered accountant, you will typically spend three years training in public practice, usually for the same company. You will develop your experience and will gradually take on additional responsibilities.

Once you have completed your training and qualified as a chartered accountant, progression is typically structured. You could become a manager after two years and then move up to a senior manager role. With further experience you could progress to partnership or even finance director.