Melanie Nearchou is SEAS Faculty Lead at University of Exeter Business School.
Did you know these three facts about careers in accountancy?
- You don’t have to be studying accounting – firms welcome and encourage applications from any discipline.
- Most firms will take you on as a trainee and pay for your training to become a fully qualified Chartered Accountant, all while you work and continue to earn a salary.
- You can, but don’t have to move to London and join the Big 4 – as well as there being many roles and areas of accountancy you can work in, there are many smaller regional firms who want to take on University of Exeter graduates every year.
A career in accountancy can be varied and exciting, great for people who want to work with clients and as part of a close-knit team, plus there are a range of professional development opportunities.
This week we’ve invited Andrew Harding, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at AICPA & CIMA, to tell us more about a career as a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
“Completing university can be daunting. An undergraduate degree from the University of Exeter is a great achievement, and you will be thinking about how to use it to take the next step on the path to a good job and a fulfilling career. This is a time to make careful decisions, because not all entry-level jobs offer the same possibilities.
If you want to lay strong foundations to build your career, you will need to develop specialist skills which employers need and value. Gaining a degree proves you have the ability to do this. Graduation is the time to develop those professional skills which will take you where you want to go, be it in the private, public or charity sector.
“All organisations, including corporates, consultancies, charities, and government need a finance team to operate, so the range of places you can work is very wide.”
One option you can choose is a career in accounting and finance. All organisations, including corporates, consultancies, charities, and government need a finance team to operate, so the range of places you can work is very wide. There are several different accounting and finance career paths to choose from, and I would like to introduce you to management accounting.
A management accountant’s role is to navigate the future of an organisation through objective decision making. They will plan investments and manage budgets so the organisation performs in the most optimal and efficient way possible. They are deeply involved in managing the risks which are an inevitable part of operating in an uncertain world, and their work directly contributes to the overall direction and strategy of the entities they work for. Being a management accountant means taking on significant responsibilities, and as a result it offers significant career possibilities and the opportunity to rise to senior positions.
To become a management accountant you need to gain a professional qualification. The world’s leading body for management accounting is AICPA & CIMA. To gain the qualification you will need to study the syllabus, pass a series of exams and demonstrate your competence in the workplace. You will almost certainly be working and earning while you do this.
“Being a management accountant means taking on significant responsibilities, and as a result it offers significant career possibilities and the opportunity to rise to senior positions.”
Once you complete your studies and have three years of work experience under your belt, you are awarded the prestigious CGMA designation. This is recognised by employers around the world, and acts as the gateway to a rich and fulfilling career.
This career is open to more people than is commonly realised. Although having an accounting or finance degree will help you, and can result in you being exempt from passing some of the exams, it is not a pre-requisite. You can still pursue this career if your degree was in another subject. You need to be comfortable with numbers and to have an inquisitive mindset.
You can find out more about pursuing a career in management accounting by visiting our site. It opened the door for a rich and varied career for me, and I hope that some of you will also consider it.”
Andrew Harding, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at AICPA & CIMA