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5 Reasons to Become a Chartered Accountant

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Written by Diarmuid Breathnach
Head of Education Delivery, Chartered Accountants Ireland

Why Train as a Chartered Accountant?

Training as a Chartered Accountant opens the door to a vast range of exciting career opportunities, in every sector of business and finance, both in Ireland and internationally. Chartered Accountants are Ireland’s leading business professionals, providing essential strategic guidance expertise and consulting in business, public practice, government and education. Irish Chartered Accountants are in constant demand both at home and abroad, being recognised for their technical competence, professional standards, and veracity.

Training as a Chartered Accountant is a journey towards becoming a member of Ireland's largest, and fastest growing accounting body, whose members define and direct Irish business. Chartered training combines innovative education with mentored work experience, to produce accountants who possess a greater ability to analyse and interpret business problems and develop dynamic solutions. Perhaps that’s why Chartered Accountants have the edge over their counterparts: they rise further and faster into more diverse and important roles in organisations. A quick look at the profiles of those running the leading Irish accountancy firms, or indeed the top ISEQ index companies shows just how far they can rise!

5 Reasons

  1. The Chartered Accountant Difference

    Prospective students often ask what the difference between studying Chartered Accountancy and other accounting qualifications is. The answer is that no other professional accounting qualification provides students with the same support, structure, guidance and quality of education throughout the training process. Every professional accountancy body in Ireland qualification requires trainees to have a minimum of 3 years practical experience – we are unique in that we ensure our trainees are supported while they get their experience.

    As an Irish based organisation with headquarters in Dublin and Belfast, we are uniquely able to support and guide our student body. The Institute’s Student Services team are at your disposal at any time to advise and answer your queries, something not to be under-estimated around exam time.

    Our commitment to our students can be seen nowhere better than in our new, purpose-built Training Centre in Pearse St, Dublin with comfortable lecture theatres and a restaurant all in place to best serve your needs. The Institute’s investment in cutting edge technology means lectures are available online from our Dublin and Belfast centres. The training support extends to our active student societies who mediate and represent the student’s voice to the Institute, as well as organising a full calendar of social events.

  2. Examination Success

    Where other professional accountancy bodies outsource their education, Chartered Accountancy trainees benefit from classes run directly by their Institute. Students have greater levels of contact both with their Institute and their lecturers, both of whom work closely together to ensure the highest standards of delivery.

    It is commonly known that other accounting qualifications can offer more exemptions from exams than Chartered Accountant students receive. However, this can be a red herring! The Institute does not use attractive exemptions to lure students. Instead, we compare each third level syllabus against our own, and where they meet, we offer exemptions. Where they don’t, we don't. This transparent approach to exemptions places students at the appropriate level, and ensures that the vast majority of students pass their exams and get qualified in as short a period as possible.

    Our reputation for facilitating a speedy path to qualification is confirmed by a report in June 2012 by The Professional Oversight Board, an operating board of the Financial Reporting Council. 78% of current Chartered students are registered for less than 4 years. This combination of excellence in education and training programmes gives Chartered Accountancy trainees the edge over their peers.

  3. What does training involve?

    Irrespective of what route you take to the Chartered Accountancy qualification, becoming a Chartered Accountant involves a combination of academic and professional training. There are a variety of education courses on offer, each with different structures based on local requirements.  In addition, a new distance programme at CAP1 and CAP2 offers great flexibility. Students enrolling on a regular course attend lectures for the equivalent of 4 - 5 days a month from October until May. Some venues have a mixture of evening and weekend lectures; others offer face-to-face lecture time purely on weekends, supplemented by streaming of lectures and home assignments.

    Students choosing the distance programme will watch content online and attendance workshops for approx. 2 days per month where they will hone and apply their online learning.  This allows students to study at a pace and time that suits them.  

    What is common to every route is the standard of lecturing. Chartered Accountancy courses have the finest accounting lecturers in Ireland, all of whom are committed to providing the best possible education to our students. The technical knowledge gained from the course will be the bedrock of your professional career. During the time with their training organisation, trainees are taught how to apply the technical knowledge learned in the classroom environment to real-life situations; broad-business skills are developed, and mentors instil the values and integrity that are the foundation of our members’ reputation.

    Training can be either in industry (any sector) or in traditional accountancy practices. No matter the training environment though, trainees can expect to be exposed to areas such as financial accounting & reporting, business finance, management accounting, taxation and planning, auditing and assurance etc. For more details on the training options available to students, please visit the About Chartered Accountancy Section and see under "What Does Training Involve?”.

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  4. Chartered Accountancy – A global qualification

    Determining how well received your accountancy qualification is on the global market is an important investigation which should be undertaken by anybody considering a career in accountancy. Many accountancy bodies operating in Ireland make claims about the global nature of their qualification, or suggest links with larger international accountancy bodies. For an accountancy qualification to be truly global, foreign institutes must recognise not only your education, but also the training you undertook to become qualified. Chartered Accountancy is the only Irish professional accounting qualification that has this recognition worldwide. The truth is that with other accountancy bodies in Ireland, your qualification is global in the same way that your university degree is global – well recognised, but not in an official capacity. The training you undertake before qualification, and the experience you gain post-qualification are necessary to obtain auditing and practicing certificates, which entitle you to sign off on audits and accounts. Without these, the ability to operate in a foreign country is severely limited.

    Chartered Accountancy is different. Irish Chartered Accountants have true global mobility with both their education, and crucially, their training recognised internationally. Unique Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) offer our members an outstanding entry point to business in any part of the world. An MRA is an agreement between professional bodies which allows membership to transfer from one jurisdiction to another.

    Those looking for an antipodean adventure will be facilitated by exclusive agreements with the Chartered Institutes in both Australia and New Zealand. As well as these agreements, numerous others are in place with countries such as South Africa, Hong Kong, England, Scotland & Wales. Out of the Institute’s 22,000 members, there are currently over 3,500 working in over 90 countries. Chartered Accountants Ireland is a member of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) and Chartered Accountants Worldwide and is part of a global network of almost a 320 thousand chartered accountants. This brings enormous benefits to our members living in, or working in foreign countries.

    So, the next time you hear an accountancy body is global, or has ‘links’ with other Institutes – ask for some details!

  5. Career Paths & Rewards

    No other career offers the mobility that a Chartered Accountancy qualification does. Today’s member takes on the role of a business advisor, who makes high-level strategic decisions, aimed at driving business, improving profit margins and increasing market share for their clients / employers. Many Chartered Accountants also use their expertise to form their own businesses, becoming highly successful entrepreneurs. Along with the technical skills mentioned above, Chartered Accountants generally have a solid foundation in economics, marketing and management information systems.

    As well as dominating public accounting practices, Chartered Accountants are found at the highest level in virtually every sector from healthcare to the music industry. The rewards that go with the Chartered qualification are significant. A recent survey of salaries found that 74% of Chartered Accountants in Leinster reported a stable or increasing salary over the past three years. The average salary for a newly qualified Chartered Accountant is between €41K and €52K. And hopefully that’s just at the start of a long and challenging career.

Conclusion

So, if you are considering becoming an accountant, Chartered Accountancy provides you with the ability to choose an exciting career path towards the industry of your choice, anywhere in the world.

What to do now?

Browse this site for more information, or send us an email with any questions you may have - we'll be glad to help.

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