Become an Chartered Accountant in the UK: Step-by-Step Guide

    I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      I accept the terms and conditions & privacy policy.

      How to Become a Chartered Accountant in the UK

      The general assumption is that being an Chartered Accountant in the UK is a pen pusher’s job. With an uneventful career and chances of minimal career growth. It is not a job everyone dreams of. But here are some numbers to shatter that idea – the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2031 there will be 6% job growth in the accounting and auditing sector. Furthermore, certifications such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) can improve job prospects. You can work with various businesses as an Accountant or an Auditor if you have the proper skill set. 

      So, how do you go about becoming an Accountant? Read on to learn about the prospects and how to become an Accountant in the UK.

      Accountancy Qualification Required to be an Chartered Accountant in the UK

      Are you aspiring on how to become an accountant in the UK?

      . Any candidate who aspires to become an account in the UK should pursue any of these courses:

      •  Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
      • Certified Management Accountants (US CMA)
      • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
      •  The Association of International Accountants (AIA)
      •  Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
      •  Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

      After completing the course, candidates should secure an internship to get a professional certificate. 

      How Long Does it Take to Become an Accountant?

      Whatever course you are pursuing, you will have to devote 3 to 4 years to studying and passing the exams level-wise. After completion of the course, you must secure an internship as a practical training. The practical experience varies from one course to another. For example, the practical experience required after the completion of the ACCA course is 3 years. You can complete this practical experience after completing the course or also during the course, whatever is convenient for you. After passing all the exams and achieving 36 months of experience, you can apply for the ACCA certification to become a professional accountant. 

      Skills required to Become an Chartered Accountant in the UK

      An Auditor reports on the company’s financial data and guides board members or managers in making the right call. Critical skills required for this role include:

      • While you do not need advanced mathematical skills to be an Accountant, analytical, interpretation, and adaptability skills are important.
      • Attention to detail while checking reports can come in handy. Errors may occur if an Accountant does not go through financial statements minutely. 
      • Understanding how businesses work is one of the most important skill sets an Accountant must have.
      • Explaining complex financial reports to an organisation’s members, clients, and other stakeholders is necessary. Proficient communication skills can serve this purpose.
      • Maintaining accurate records is the top priority in accounting. Honing organisation skills along with decision-making skills is crucial.
      • With the advancement in technology, an Accountant must learn and invest in relevant technological software that can make their work effortlessly easy.

      What to Expect as an Accountant?

      Once you have become an accountant, there are several roles and duties that you must expect to do. Some of the duties that you can expect to perform in any organization are:

      • Calculation and timely payment of taxes
      • Keeping the account books and systems in check 
      • Maintenance of the financial records

      Moreover, an accountant is expected to handle diverse financial transactions and statements of an organization.

      Typical Accountant Career Path and Progression

      Different companies have their type of hierarchy. But on average, a typical accountant’s career path and progression should be like this:

      • Entry-level Associate: A candidate can enter the accounting career as an entry-level associate.
      • Senior Associate: Depending upon your skills, you can upgrade to Senior Associate after working 2 to 3 years as an Entry-level Associate.  
      • Project Leader/ Accounting Manager: Candidates who have been a Senior Associate for at least 2 to 3 years are eligible to become a project leader or an accounting manager based on their skills. 
      • Director/ Senior Manager: This is a highly responsible position and you should have experience of 3 to 4 years as an accounting manager to hold a position of director or senior manager. 
      • Managing Director: Managing Director is a highly reputed position for which a candidate will require experience of at least 13 to 15 years. 
      • Partner: This is usually the final point of the accounting career path. A financial partner in any organization is highly respected and earns the highest salary package. 

      Related Jobs and Careers

      There are several accounting-related jobs and career options available today globally. Some of the jobs and careers are:

      • Bookkeeper
      • Auditor
      • Accounting Clerk
      • Credit Analyst
      • Compliance Officer
      • Tax Accountant
      • Accounts Payable Manager
      • Financial Analyst
      • Budget Analyst
      • Certified Financial Planner
      • Personal Finance Adviser
      • Forensic Accountant
      • Risk Analyst
      • Accounting Professional
      • Finance Manager
      • Finance Director
      • Accounting Software Developer
      • International Tax Manager
      • Corporate Controller
      • Actuarial Analyst
      • Chief Financial Officer

      There can be many more accounting-related jobs and careers depending on the industry and organization you have joined. This list comprises some of the common job positions that you will encounter in your accounting career in the UK. 

      Qualifications to Become an Chartered Accountant in the UK

      Choosing the right course from the sea of professional courses required to be an Accountant can be tricky. Here is a list of some popular certification courses that can improve job prospects as an Accountant:

      1. Get an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Certification

      To become a successful ACCA professional, you must clear 13 professional examinations and gather a minimum of three years of accountancy experience. This certification course will guide you and equip you with specialised expertise in accounting and finance.

      Not just in the UK, the demand for ACCA graduates is high globally. The average salary of an ACCA graduate in the UK is around Rs. 47,48,000 LPA.

      ACCA Salary in UK


      2. Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

      Founded in 1980, the AAT is the chief body providing accountancy, tax, and business advisory services with more than 5,000 ATT licensed Accountants. Earning the ATT qualification validates your understanding of the UK tax system and makes you eligible to serve individuals, public sector businesses, and industries. You must clear two levels of exams to earn the ATT qualification. 

      Professional certificate holders are eligible for senior finance roles and perform tasks similar to Chartered Accountants (CAs).

      AAT Salary in UK


      3. The Association of International Accountants (AIA)

      Established in 1928, the AIA has professional accountants spread across more than 85 countries and has truly advanced the concept of international accounting. Once you achieve this professional certification, you can register with a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB). Once registered with RSB, you are eligible to conduct audits for companies of varied sizes all over the UK. 

      4. Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

      ICAEW is one of the oldest bodies established in 1880 by the Royal Charter that promotes, nurtures, and supports students and Chartered Accountants. Achieving the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification is mandatory to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Besides accountancy and finance, the course focuses on practical work experience, ethics, and professional development. You must clear 15 professional exams to earn the advanced level certification and become eligible for higher level jobs.

      5. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

      Founded in 1919, the CIMA course mainly focuses on and provides training in management accountancy and related subjects. Obtaining the CIMA certification can help you get job roles in financial analysis, corporate finance, risk management, and many more. To be CIMA certified, you must clear 12 exams, divided into three sections and three levels.

      Choose a Specialisation

      Accountancy is a vast field covering various topics and concepts.  While management accounting entails the supply of information within a company, financial accounting involves information supply to creditors, stakeholders, or anyone outside the organisation. Choosing an area of specialisation like cost accounting, auditing, or tax accounting can help you add value to your resume and keep you ahead of the curve.

      Secure an Internship

      Hands-on accountancy work experience with the right degree can significantly benefit your accounting career. Opting for a part-time job or internship can enhance your accounting skills and provide real-life work experience. This experience can also help you narrow down the industry or job role you want to opt for in the future.


      Are you still looking for answers on how to become a Tax Accountant in the UK? Check out the ACCA course from Zell Education. The comprehensive course includes eminent faculty, an in-house learning management program, 100% placement assistance, and many more opportunities.


      1. Are accountants in demand in the UK?

      Yes, ACCA-qualified accountants are in high demand in the UK in different areas like taxation, audit, and risk management. 

      2. How do I get my accountant license in the UK?

      To get an accountant license in the UK, candidates should either get a certification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). 

      3. Is accounting a well paid job in the UK?

      According to Glassdoor, the average salary package of an accountant in the UK is £46,460, along with additional average compensation of £4,392

      4. How long does it take to become a chartered accountant UK?

      ACCA is one of the common certification courses that lead to the profession of Chartered Accountant in the UK. The ACCA course has three levels and on average it takes about a minimum of 3 years to complete the course and get certified.

      5. Is it hard to become an Accountant in the UK?

      Becoming an accountant in the UK is smoother if you follow the mandatory steps, such as signing up for the relevant certification course, gathering work experience, and mastering appropriate skill sets.

      6. Is becoming an Accountant worth it in the UK?

      The average annual salary of an Accountant in the UK is Rs. 27,25,000 LPA. It is quite a lucrative job to be an Accountant in the UK.

      7. What qualifications do I need to be an Accountant?

      The minimum qualification required to be an accountant in the UK is the AAT. If you opt for chartered accountancy, you must clear ACCA, ACA, or CIMA.


      Anant Bengani, brings expertise as a Chartered Accountant and a leading figure in finance and accounting education. He’s dedicated to empowering learners with the finest financial knowledge and skills.


      Talk To A Career Expert

      I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.