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So you’ve just graduated with an accounting degree…now what?

ACAACCACIMAaccounting qualificationaccounting degreeaccounting jobsAccountancy & Finance+-

Congratulations, you’ve recently graduated! Perhaps you’ve island-hopped the Philippines, bungee jumped in New Zealand or seen more than you cared to in Phuket. Now it’s time to knuckle down, sort your CV out and take your first big step into the job market.


You may have already sought out a graduate rotation program and been put through umpteen rounds of aptitude and reasoning tests. Or maybe you want to jump straight into an entry-level or trainee role, kick-starting your career with the basics needed to propel you up the corporate ladder.


Either way, if you are serious about developing your career then one of the most important gifts you can give yourself is a qualification. Interested in practice, auditing or financial statements? Look at ACA or ACCA. Have a thirst for month-end, P&L or financial planning and analysis? Check out CIMA.


Fact: even if you’re not sure what you want to be doing five years from now, studying for a professional qualification - any qualification – will give you access to a far greater number of opportunities than those who choose not to bother.


So you’ve decided to study, great! Now you need to be careful. The overly impatient will blitz through their course and find themselves unable to get signed off because they’re still doing accounts payable. Yes, being part-qualified is fabulous but not if you’re still paddling in the shallow-end. Make sure your practical experience is progressing in line with your studies. By the time you’ve sat your last exam, you should already have the experience required to get those marvellous letters by your name. If not, some hirers may question your drive, assuming you aren’t ambitious enough for their company.


Your employer may demand you pay back your course fees should you decide to look elsewhere before qualifying. They know that once part-qualified, a huge array of opportunities will be available to you. For some, the thought of being hit with a three or four thousand pound debt is enough to stay put but don’t be disheartened! The best companies to work for are those that recognise the value a part-qualified professional can bring and will pay your debt off for you!


If you are part-qualified or a finalist with a stable history and demonstrable progression, your CV is gold dust to the average recruiter. It shouldn’t take you too long to find a role within a forward- thinking business that will support you through to the end of your studies, where you can develop your career further and move on up the ladder. It’s a big step and a hugely important one. Good luck!


Michael Westen recruits for part-qualified accountancy and finance candidates for blue chip organisations. If you are interested in commencing a new role in 2015 please call Michael on 020 3009 3473 or email

Michael Westen
Posted by Michael Westen
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