Street signsAs an Assistant Auditor here at the NAO, I am studying for the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The ACA course is one of a few Chartered Accountancy qualifications available to students within the UK (alongside ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA). It was therefore important for me (and you as prospective applicants!) to consider whether the qualification was suited to me when I applied for a job here, especially given the long hours of studying involved!

I chose the ACA qualification for many reasons, the top 10 of which I’ve outlined below:

  1. Although the NAO works in the public sector, the ACA qualification gives a well-rounded knowledge of both this sector and the private sector;
  2. As students, we develop a thorough technical understanding of accountancy, giving you the transferable skills and knowledge to work in any industry;
  3. The ACA qualification is recognised throughout the world (business, private or public sector, small organisation or large);
  4. The ICAEW, along with the NAO, will support you every step of the way, to help you manage both your studies and your work life balance;
  5. The ICAEW has a dedicated team specialising in learning and development who have understanding and experience of accountancy, ensuring the qualification is always up to date;
  6. There are multiple entry routes to the ACA and becoming a chartered accountant – for example, you can join the NAO on a training contract either after you finish college or graduate from university;
  7. There are many training opportunities and webinars that the ICAEW offers, to ensure we keep up to date with technical developments and have the necessary continuing professional development (CPD);
  8. Once qualified, we are supported throughout our career, with development opportunities and support offered by the ICAEW;
  9. The ACA course focuses both on practical as well as technical aspects of being an accountant through technical work experience, where we learn about dealing with clients and tricky situations; and
  10. The qualification is highly regarded, with almost every FTSE company having an ACA qualified employee.

I hope the above reasons will help you when choosing the next steps in your career. If you’d like to read more about the ACA qualification, more information is provided on the ICAEW website.

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