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Why scientists, engineers and people from other backgrounds make good Chartered Accountants

In this blog post we explain how graduates from any background can train as chartered accountants.
“It’s surprising how many graduates think that a career in Chartered Accountancy is only open to those with business degrees.  While many students come through from that route, there is a history of excellence from non-business graduates in Chartered Accountants Ireland examinations: in recent years we’ve had very strong performances from graduates across the board from the sciences to the arts.  We’ve had prize-winners who graduated from fields as diverse as law, engineering and music.”

Non-business graduates complete 3 sets of examinations – Chartered Accountancy Proficiency 1 (CAP1), CAP2, and the Final Admitting Exams (FAEs). People from business backgrounds may have already covered some of the materials in their degrees, so may be exempt from some or all of the first year. After that, there is no difference, and regardless of background, all degree holders
need to complete need to complete 3.5 years training experience.

So, what attributes are needed to make a good chartered accountant?

  • An interest in the subject: A business degree is NOT a pre-requisite but a business interest and comfort with numbers are critical.
  • Good analytical and judgment skills:  Chartered Accountants are required to analyse complex issues.  Graduates from disciplines that require skills of analysis and problem-solving tend to do well in chartered accountancy.  This includes graduates from the fields of engineering or science.
  • An interest in the world:  Chartered Accountants are expected to be aware of the business world and what is happening.  They must be conscious of the various pressures that clients are under and be able to react in a professional and practical way. Graduates with a broad range of interests have an advantage when studying chartered accountancy – so it’s an option for students of sociology, politics or architecture. And as the profession can lead to roles in any sector, the technical knowledge from a non-business primary degree can be very helpful when managing business matters in a scientific, engineering or other specialist sector.
  • Strong communication skills: Chartered Accountants are required to communicate with their colleagues and clients – in both written and verbal forms.  Graduates with strong skills in oral and verbal communication, such as Law and Music, perform well in the Chartered Accountancy examinations.

Finally, students need to be hard-working and ambitious for the future – studying to be a Chartered Accountant is demanding, but the training can deliver great rewards for those who apply themselves, whatever their background.”

Want to find out more? Contact the team now.