How to Progress Your Career After ACCA Exams

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Passing your ACCA exams can be a long journey, but the boost to your career makes the effort worthwhile. 

Having the accreditation behind you can prepare you for roles throughout finance and accounting. Plus, it can set you on a path towards senior leadership. The best part? You can actually start pursuing some of these roles while you’re still preparing for your ACCA exams

Keep reading and we’ll show you some of the great opportunities you’ll be exposed to after getting your ACCA certification.

Junior Level Accountancy Roles

When you first begin your career in accountancy, holding a junior role can give you a great foundation of knowledge. 

Many areas of accounting have entry-level positions that can help you get a foot in the door while building your experience. Plus, you can hold a lot of these roles while you complete your ACCA exams. Here are just a few that you can consider. 

Accounts Assistant

Accounts assistants are an integral support system for accounting teams. These junior members work directly for senior-level accountants, like the accounting manager or finance manager, and complete a wide variety of tasks as needed to keep the entire department running efficiently. 

This role requires excellent time management and organisation skills because much of their time is spent juggling assignments from their supervisors. Here are some of the key daily tasks an accounts assistant could be responsible for:

  • Process payments
  • Invoicing
  • Reconciling financial accounts and statements
  • Recording expenses
  • Assisting on audits

Accounts Payable Clerk

Organisations rely on accounts payable clerks to keep accurate records of payment history and ensure all their debts are paid as agreed. 

This role requires high attention to detail and accuracy because they’re responsible for verifying payment information and reconciling payment accounts. Accounts payable clerks also process any payment requests to make sure the company’s expenses are paid on time.

This role provides a look into each segment of the business. These professionals get to see expenses for the entire company, which can help junior accountants understand what it takes to keep organisations running smoothly. Here are some of the daily tasks for accounts payable clerks:

  • Process electronic and manual financial transactions
  • Analyse bank reconciliations
  • Compile reports about payment activity for senior management 
  • Verify and pay invoices based on agreed-upon terms
  • Monitor payment activity

Accounts Receivable Clerk

On the other side of payments is the accounts receivable clerk. This role focuses on receiving incoming payments from customers and clients. 

Companies rely on the accounts receivable clerks to make sure customers are paying their bills on time and following up on overdue accounts. These professionals also evaluate new and existing customers for creditworthiness to make decisions about whether to extend lines of credit.

A junior accountant can learn a lot in an accounts receivable clerk role. Handling customers and managing the incoming cash for the business will give you a clear picture of revenue-generating activities in the organisation. Here are some of the responsibilities:

  • Monitor incoming payments
  • Record and send invoices to customers
  • Reconcile revenue accounts in the general ledger
  • Verify customer payment information
  • Reporting on revenue activity

Careers After ACCA Exams

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After you’ve completed the ACCA exams, you’ll have plenty of additional opportunities to choose from in your career. There are too many to list, but here are a few you can consider.

Audit Professional

Auditors focus on the accuracy of financial statements and the effectiveness of risk management processes. 

Businesses rely on both internal and external auditors to help keep their organisation up-to-speed on compliance. Internal auditors are hired directly by a company, whereas an external auditor is more like a contractor that works for a third-party.

Internal auditors spend more time analysing the business’s internal controls and identifying any weaknesses. They also look for instances of fraud and report them to management in hopes it can be remedied before being discovered by an external audit. 

External auditors dive into financial statements more heavily and look for inconsistencies of data while also addressing risk and control. 

Here are some of the common day-to-day activities of auditors:

  • Examine accounts and financial statements
  • Verify financial reports for accuracy
  • Identify inconsistencies or fraudulent activity
  • Assess and improve internal control procedures
  • Generate a report of findings for management

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts are a key asset in the strategic decision-making process. Analysts research industry trends in a variety of business segments and industries to build robust financial models and reports. Their findings help companies understand how they stack up against the competition and benchmark performance. 

A lot of the work that financial analysts do helps management understand company performance. Additionally, analysts can take data from different scenarios and determine which projects or business ventures may be the most profitable. Analyst roles are perfect for data-driven accountants who want to help steer a company into the future.

Financial analysts frequently:

  • Prepare financial forecasts
  • Perform extensive research on market trends
  • Identify and recommend improvements to enhance efficiencies
  • Evaluate a company’s financial performance over time

Corporate Accountant

Those that enjoy compiling financial statements and recording financial transactions may enjoy a role as a corporate accountant. 

Corporate accountants make sure a company’s financial data is organised and up-to-date. They track income, expenses, and other financial transactions so they can provide accurate information to management.

Financial statements are often distributed to investors, lenders, and other groups that have a financial interest in the organisation. All of this data helps bring visibility to the company’s financial outlook. Here are some common tasks that corporate accountants work on:

  • Prepare budgets
  • Monitor ledger accounts
  • Record financial transactions
  • Reconcile bank statements and ledger accounts
  • Complete the month-end processes
  • Prepare financial statements

Management and Leadership

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Once you’ve had some experience and learned different roles within the accounting and finance departments, you can easily step into a leadership role. 

The ACCA accreditation gives you a leg-up on the job market competition and helps prepare you for managing a team of accountants.

There are a wide variety of leadership roles that you can pursue as a chartered accountant. Here are some to consider.

Finance Manager

A finance manager’s role can vary based on the size of an organisation. In most cases, finance managers report to senior leadership, such as the CFO, and oversee a team in the finance department. They generally have several employees that report directly to them. Finance managers may be responsible and accountable for budgeting and forecasting, compiling reports, internal audit procedures, and managing cash flow.

This role requires a diverse set of experience throughout accounting and finance. They are usually involved in strategic decision making and help the business evaluate operations. Finance managers handle a wide variety of tasks, including:

  • Monitoring different segments of finance
  • Provide guidance and leadership to direct reports
  • Collaborating with internal and external auditors on audit engagements
  • Presenting financial information to leadership, board members, and external stakeholders
  • Maintaining budget data

Accounting Services Manager

When businesses outsource their bookkeeping, reporting, tax planning, or other accounting processes, an accounting services manager acts as a liaison between that client and the team of professionals that take on the work. 

Accounting services managers help negotiate contracts with new clients and determine what resources are needed for each contract. They are responsible for developing client relationships and acting as the main point-of-contact for their clients.

Within the team, accounting services managers assign workloads and manage the progress. They are responsible for setting budgets and goals while reporting on the outcomes of each. 

Overall, an accounting services manager makes sure that their team completes client work on deadline and within budget to the client’s expectations. Their day-to-day tasks can vary, but generally include:

  • Contract negotiations
  • Reviewing the work of junior team members
  • Onboarding new clients
  • Overseeing client projects
  • Recruiting and managing team members
  • Improving client services
  • Developing client relationships

Senior Leadership

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After you’ve gained some experience with managing teams throughout accounting and finance, you can consider a senior leadership role. The ACCA accreditation helps you to become more qualified for jobs throughout your career, thus giving you the experience you need in order to hold a senior leadership role.

With the skills you’ve gained throughout your career, you can consider one of these:

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Audit Partner
  • Tax Partner
  • Chief Executive Officer

Conclusion

The best part of an ACCA accreditation is that it won’t limit you to a career in finance or accounting. 

Many chartered accountants pursue roles in technology, education, cybersecurity, and even project management. 

No matter which path you take, the ACCA accreditation makes it easy to stand out as a candidate and land the roles that fit your passion.


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Topics: ACCA