Plenty of possibilities

If you are enthused about numbers, have an eye for detail and like preserving standards, then perhaps accounting could be right for you

By Shyamala Elango

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Published: Wed 30 Nov 2016, 11:44 AM

Last updated: Tue 13 Dec 2016, 3:02 PM

It's called many things; A stable profession, a recession-free profession, a no nonsense profession, etc.. As long as human beings survive - they shall be accountable for their time, their resources and their wealth. Here is a peek into how you can be an accountant:
Accounting qualifications
CPA (USA) - Certified Public Accountant - An American Certification awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates must have a minimum four-year bachelor degree and preferably a master's degree in order to fulfil the 150 credit hours, equivalent to five years in higher education. You could take the exam four times a year. The course takes approximately one to one-and-a-half years to complete and is divided into four examinations. For the US CPA exam, unless you live in the few countries where international exam sites are available (Japan, Brazil, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, the UAE, etc.), or that you are an Indian resident who can take the exams in the Middle East, you will have to travel to the US for the test. A CPA licence is widely respected as an indicator of quantitative skills and high standards of professionalism.
CPA (Australia) - Certified Practising Accountant - A post-graduate accounting programme that combines professional education with three years' relevant practical experience, ensuring you gain both the technical and commercial skills required to stand out. Depending on your previous studies you can either commence the CPA Programme right away or complete foundation units before starting the programme.
CPA (Canada) - Chartered Professional Accountant - A graduate-level programme for CPA candidates that focuses primarily on enhancing the ability to apply professional knowledge, values, ethics and attitudes in a professional context. CPA PEP consists of six modules that continuously build knowledge and skill. This programme takes two years to complete on a part-time basis as you partake in relevant employment.
ACCA (UK) - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants - You don't need to have an undergraduate degree - most high school graduates qualify for this exam. If you have a bachelor's degree in relevant subjects, you can apply for exemption on part or all of the papers at the Fundamental Level. There are 14 papers divided into Fundamental Level (nine papers) and Professional Level (five papers). The exam is offered four times a year in more than 170 countries throughout the world. It normally takes three to four years to complete the qualification. This qualification is particularly useful for audit, tax or practice with focus on business issues.
ACA (UK) -Association of Chartered Accountants - Offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The ACA qualification typically takes three to five years to complete. There are three blocks of examinations: certificate level, professional level and advanced level. There are 15 modules across the three blocks; you may get an exemption based on your previous study. Candidates must complete 450 days of hands-on work experience for the ACA. The practical work experience must be taken in conjunction with one of the ICAEW's 2,850 approved employers in at least one area of accounting, audit and assurance, tax, financial management, insolvency or information technology. ACAs work for the Big Four accounting firms: PwC, Ernest & Young, KPMG and Deloitte.
Other qualifications
CFA (USA) - Chartered Financial Analyst - Offered internationally by the American-based CFA institute. To become a CFA Charter holder, you need to have acquired 48 months of professional work experience and pass three levels of the CFA exam in succession. CFAs normally works in asset management, investment banking, equity research, etc.
CMA (USA) - Chartered Management Accountant - Awarded by Institute of Management Accountants USA. Candidates should have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and two continuous years of professional experience in accounting, auditing, financial analysis or budgeting. You could take the exam three times in a year. CMAs work in financial planning and management decision-making.

Shyamala Elango is Director, Educational Services at Inner Universe. She can be reached at

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