10 Nov 2017 | 04.12 pm
Accountancy Career Path: CPA
The digital age is changing the role of accountants
10 Nov 2017 | 04.12 pm
There are 2.8 million qualified accountants worldwide and one million of them are CPA accountants. The CPA qualification is recognised in Ireland and internationally and is open to school leavers, graduates, mature students and professionals.
“As the world of business is constantly changing, CPA Ireland provides a qualification that equips graduates for the dynamism of the market place,” says Gillian Peters, Business Development Director with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland. “A digital age and new trends in the education of accountants, such as data analytics, critical thinking abilities, strategy, project management and communication skills, are changing the role of the accountant. An exciting future awaits anyone considering a career in accountancy and CPA Ireland is at the forefront of developing the future accountants of Ireland.”
Level 9 Qualification
In September 2017, CPA Ireland and DIT College of Business will accept its first intake of students for the only combined Level 9 DIT MSc in Applied Accounting and CPA qualification. This programme provides students with a unique opportunity to work towards gaining two qualifications at the same time – an MSc in Applied Accounting from Dublin Institute of Technology and a CPA Ireland qualification.
Each trainee will be on a paid four-day work placement (Monday to Thursday) with one day per week (Friday) in DIT over two 15-week semesters. “This is a new model for training future accountants,” Peters says. “Not only will the student be gaining the technical expertise but they will also be studying such subjects as communications and information systems at a Level 9 Master’s degree.”
Flexible Study Options
Along with the Master’s programme, CPA Ireland is working closely with all of its other approved educators to provide the CPA qualification. These include Griffith College in Dublin and Cork, Cork IT, Studyonline.ie and Cenit College, and Mallow College of Further Education. Peters points out that flexible study options include full-time, part-time, weekends, distance an e-learning arrangements. “Students and employers can schedule study and exam preparation around their personal and professional lives.”
CPAs can be found in every sector from healthcare, financial services, IT, education, technology and gaming. They hold diverse roles at senior management level, from managing partners to chief financial officers, as well as other career avenues that forensic accountancy, risk analysis, chief financial officer posts and international accounting specialist roles.
Many CPAs can also be found in small, medium and larger practices. With a deep and applied understanding of the world of accounting, they are adept at providing expertise to clients that are beneficial to the needs of Irish business.
The minimum time it would take would to become a qualified CPA accountant is three years and the vast majority of people qualifying as accountants are employed.
CPA CASE STUDY
Alison Ritchie qualified as a certified public accountant with CPA Ireland in 2011. She is Managing Director of Polar Ice, a successful Laois-based dry ice manufacturing business that she helped establish with her father and two uncles. The business employs 20 staff and operates depots in Dublin, Cork and Armagh. In 2005, Ritchie set up a second related business, called IceTech, which she sold in 2015.
Among her commendations, Alison picked up an Ulster Bank Business Achievers Award for Women Led Business in 2015. She also won the award for Accountant of the Year at the 2017 Irish Accountancy Awards.
Ritchie credits her CPA qualification with being a crucial factor in her successes. “I became a CPA because I wanted my work to be taken seriously,” she says. “I wanted confidence in my own ability and not to have to bring my accountant to every bank meeting. The time and money I invested in becoming a CPA were returned tenfold by graduation day. I firmly believe my CPA skills continue to enable me to make the best decisions for my business and our team.”
When Ritchie made the decision to study accountancy, she was running two companies and her twin daughters were five months old. “It was CPA that offered the most flexible study methods, with distance and weekend lectures. It worked for me,” she explains.