Key things to ask yourself before deciding on a qualification
Cruncher has look looked at the main accountancy qualifications in Ireland on your behalf, and in quite a bit of detail too.
While each qualification has merit, it’s important that you understand the key differences and consider your future career interests before reaching your final decision. It’s also important to note that, in some cases, you won’t have a choice regarding which qualification you pursue – this will be dictated by your employer. This again is something to consider and raise during the interview process.
Before making a decision on which accountancy qualification is best for you, here are some key points to consider:
- Check the exemptions arising from your prior studies. Most bodies offer generous exemptions and this can shorten the training and exam process;
- Each qualification will come with its own exam process, educational system (e.g. full-time, part-time, distance learning, online learning etc.) and experience requirements. Ensure that these are suitable for you in terms of location, availability, work schedule and so on;
- Only certain qualifications are recognised by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA). This entitles those members to become statutory auditors. This may be an important factor if you wish to open your own accountancy practice in the future;
- Many accountancy bodies now have a number of mutual recognition agreements and global alliances with other countries. If you plan to travel, it might be worthwhile knowing which bodies have agreements in which locations; and
- Consider your current/future employer. Do they have a policy when it comes to which professional qualification their employees should study for? Many do.
In summary, there’s no substitute for hard graft in researching these issues for yourself. Browse websites, read brochures and look at past exam papers to get a flavour for what each process is about.
Choosing a qualification can be as important as choosing an employer. Give it the time and effort it deserves.
Once you’ve done the digging, broaden your perspective by talking to representatives from each of the bodies, lecturers and your employer (where relevant). The accountancy world is small and many will have experiences across multiple qualifications. Most will also have been in your shoes not so long ago.