Do accountancy degrees matter when job hunting?

August 8th 2019 | Posted by Dave Cross

Do accountancy degrees matter when job hunting?

If you are an accountant looking at the job market, you might be wondering whether you only need hands-on experience or whether a university qualification will improve your chances of getting your dream job.

We consider how important it is for accountants to have degrees when looking for jobs…

Experience vs. qualifications for certain jobs

Not having a degree can actually prevent you from getting on the road to training with a larger accountancy firm in many cases because it’s often a prerequisite to becoming ACA qualified – which is considered the most prestigious qualification available.

If you want are planning on getting CIMA or ACCA qualified, you’ll be more likely to be able to achieved those while working as an accountant. You can start out as an unqualified accountancy assistant and work your way up, gaining the relevant qualifications along the way without the need for a degree.

For many employers, experience can be the deciding factor, so any opportunities to get in the different accountancy environments will work in your favour. However, there are other variables to consider.

Employer preference

Every employer, organisation or recruitment agency is different and has varying eligibility criteria for the vacancies that are available with them at any time.
There are a number of factors, which will have an influence on the decision making process of a hiring manager. An employer’s vision, mind-set, preference or biases may play a role as well as the culture and history of an organisation and the working mechanism of a particular department will all count towards this.

Job suitability

Sometimes hiring new individuals or getting hired are not simple equations with perfect answers. Quality candidates are not always reflected by their degrees or experience of working at a big firm.

An individual may have gone to the best schools, but his/her skill set and mind-set may not be suitable for the job. An individual with years of experience and no degree in a particular field might be the best choice as he/she will know the working mechanism inside out.

So do degrees matter?

When you are job hunting, you have to be ready to evaluate your situation on the go and re-chart your course as and when needed. You might never need a degree in any of the jobs you take or you could be overlooked, despite having the required skill set for someone who has a university degree.

It all comes down to the nature of the employer. In fact, there really is no such thing as “employers” like a group in this regard. All you need is one hiring manager who can see how brilliant and talented you are and invites you to be a part of their setup.

What you have to do as a job seeker is to find such managers and organisations. And if you are able to do so, then you won’t have to worry about fitting your square-peg into a round hole. One of the keys to success in the world of today is to recognise and understand that there is enough room for your unique traits and skills. Having a degree is a really good thing, but the fact of the matter is that the world won’t end if you don’t have one.

There will be managers who couldn’t care less about what or how much formal education you have. They will only be concerned about if you can do the job. If you are able to do that well enough, then you will be good enough in all probability.

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