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Accountancy FAQs

Here are a few FAQs regarding training as an accountant in Guernsey.

Many people work in accounts offices without being qualified accountants, but a professional qualification broadens your prospects meaning you are given more responsibility, are offered better placements and opportunities, reach a higher position within a firm and are better paid.

The subjects are not really important. Firms simply want to know that you are comfortable with both figures and words and are academically capable. Many accountants are graduates but you don't have to be. After completing your A Levels you might do an accountancy foundation course, Association of Accounting Technicians or Certified Accounting Technician exams before beginning chartered or certified studies.

Chartered Accountants, and most Certified Accountants, usually train with one of the established accountancy firms in the island, however some firms from other areas of the local finance industry offer training for accountants as well. Training involves in-house courses and in-depth education away from the office, locally or in the UK.  Working towards becoming a qualified accountant requires a lot of private study in your own time, especially ahead of exams. Studying does require a lot of dedication but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Depending on the qualifications you have to start with, which might give you exemptions from some of the early exams, on average accounting technicians take 3 years to qualify. Chartered and Certified Accountants take 3 to 5 years.

Subjects that have to be studied include auditing, law, information systems, management, taxation, bookkeeping and accounts production.

If you fail an exam you can take that paper again. Training firms are usually supportive of their students re-sitting exams, although they may not pay the course and entry fees the second time around. Firms are very supportive of their trainee accountants and it is rare for people to drop out.

Generally accountants consider the most enjoyable parts of their jobs to be: dealing with a variety of clients, the individual responsibility they are given for their work and the opportunities for travel and varying the type of work they do.

Career progression can be quite rapid in accountancy. Once qualified you can realistically expect to be made a manager after two years then progress to senior manager after that and potentially, if you are very capable, reach partner or director of the firm within 10 years of qualification. However, this all depends on your ability and commitment to the role.

Accountancy firms tend to have large numbers of young people in their workforce so there is a good culture of socialising with colleagues. Most big firms have active social committees that arrange events and activities for all the staff.

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