08 Sep 2017 | 08.23 am
Accountancy Career Path: ACCA
Marketing manager Stephen Noonan explains what's involved
08 Sep 2017 | 08.23 am
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) continues to grow and comprises 20,000 students and members – globally, this swells to nearly half a million students and 200,000 members located in 181 countries. Stephen Noonan, Senior Marketing Manager (Europe & Americas) with ACCA, observes that, while demanding, the ACCA qualification is flexible, with part-time, online and self-study options available, benefiting students and employers.
“Last year, ACCA introduced its Accelerate initiative, which supports final year accounting and finance students by offering them discounted registration and exemption fees through agreements between ACCA and their university,” adds Noonan (pictured). “To date, 24 universities have partnered with ACCA on Accelerate, and almost 700 students have registered through this route since its launch. Our aim is to prepare Accelerate students for the workplace through a bespoke nurture programme, and through the established relationships ACCA has with employers within the Irish market.”
ACCA offers a four-session timetable for yearly exams, with sessions taking place in March, June, September and December. ACCA graduates can end up in a wide range of careers, from auditors and financial analysts to accountants and fund managers. Around 45% of ACCA students and members in Ireland work in the corporate sector, nearly 20% work in financial services and more than 20% work in public practice.
The basic entry requirement for ACCA enrolment is an Irish Leaving Certificate in five subjects, with three Cs at three higher level papers, and a pass in English and Maths, or equivalent. Noonan maintains that ACCA’s global reputation for quality is due in large part to rigour and innovation.
ACCA’s latest innovations to the top level of its qualification are new Strategic Professional level exams, which will replace the existing Professional level exams in September 2018, and a new Ethics and Professional Skills module, which will be introduced in October 2017.
“The redesign enhances the breadth and depth of the qualification, with greater focus on employability and the practical application of core skills in the contemporary workplace,” says Noonan.
Among the constituents in the new-look syllabus is ‘Strategic Business Leader’, a case-study exam based on a realistic business scenario. ACCA’s idea is to provide students with the skills and technical expertise required in a real-world business to effectively make, measure and communicate decisions to the wider organisation.
Strategic Business Reporting
ACCA is also introducing a new Strategic Business Reporting exam. This will expose students to the wider context of finance and business reporting, helping them know how to explain and communicate to stakeholders the implications of transactions and reporting. An Ethics and Professional Skills module will modify ACCA’s existing ethics module, which was itself a feature that ACCA was the first professional body to offer to students, in 2008.
“The module will nurture skills in leadership, negotiation, conflict management, commercial thinking and scepticism development. These skills are integrated with realistic business situations to improve employability and career success,” says Noonan.