What Can You Do to Be a Chartered Accountant?
Did you think of many dream jobs when you were a kid? From wanting to become an astronaut and experiment with scientists, your dream career changes as you grow up. It is a common occurrence. No one knows what they want to become at such a young age, anyway. Thus, do not worry about finding your path beyond your 20s. As long as you believe in your dreams, yourself, and embrace what you want to achieve in your life, all will fall into place.
For lots of people, their dream is to become a chartered accountant in Singapore. Often referred to as CA, this type of professional takes up a respected position in the field of accounting. They are experts in the laws and regulations governing businesses in various countries in the world. When someone says that they are a chartered accountant, they are known to be qualified to take responsibility for several specific activities within the spectrum of accountancy. Tasks, such as auditing financial statements, filing of corporate tax returns, and financial advising are what they are trained to do. Since international corporations become increasingly influential, CAs are now more in-demand because they are well-versed in keeping track of a company’s revenue and expenses. These professionals, because of their expertise, can wear many hats. They can choose whether to be in charge of just one aspect of a business like auditing or taxes, or they can choose to oversee a corporation’s entire accounting needs. Being highly skilled, they can even set themselves as freelancers or consultants for hire. What this means is that their designation grants them plenty of benefits!
If this is a profession that entices you enough to want to become a CA in the future, you would want to read the rest of this article! Here, you will learn the challenges you need to overcome to become a CA, the concrete steps you need to take, and some tips to help you pass your Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) exams from an association that act as governing and accrediting bodies for these professionals. It may seem a lot, but as long as you know the process, trust that it will direct you to achieve your goals and, essentially, your dreams!
What It Takes to Be a Chartered Accountant?
While the designation name CA is recognised around the globe, in the United States, the equivalent position is known as a certified public accountant or CPA. Thus, training to be a CA in a foreign country is similar to becoming a CPA in the US. It would be easy for a licensed CPA to become a CA because no further education is necessary, and all that is required for you to do is get a license to practise accounting in a foreign country, such as Singapore. If you are finishing up an accountant degree, however, you would need to complete a CA programme before becoming licensed.
Here is what you need to know about becoming a CA:
Have the right skills
If you want to become a successful accountant, you must have several unique skills. It takes more than having the willingness to get a world-recognised designation. You must also have methodical problem-solving skills. These skills would be useful in fixing financial report errors. Pair that with mathematical skills, then you can properly analyse numbers and make meaning out of them.
For people who want to practise accountancy with diverse business leaders, knowing multiple foreign languages is a must! It will help you work well with global accounting teams. Although there are CA programmes that are country-specific, it should be noted that it is your responsibility to have exceptional communication skills!
Lastly, being detail-oriented is a must. Understanding the tax laws and business regulations in many countries where your clients operate is part of being a detail-oriented accountant. Since you would have the responsibility of ensuring that the company complies with all of the laws and regulations, you must know that every detail is extremely important.
Pick a CA job role
When you are eligible to become a CA, you must know the job role you want to take as a CA. Here are seven of them:
- Auditor: They are external professionals who are invited or sent to companies to examine their finances to ensure the accuracy of the companies’ accounts.
- Accounts Clerk: They are responsible for recording certain types of financial transactions. Often, they focus on accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing or payroll.
- Business Services Accountant: Their role is to provide business and tax services to clients. Some of their duties include keeping track of depreciation of assets, generating financial statements, preparing tax returns and advice and guidance on financial strategies.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): A senior-level executive responsible for the enterprise’s financial well-being and success. It will take more than being a certified accountant in Singapore to be a CFO, you must also have years of experience.
- Cost Accountants: They monitor and analyse the company’s cost of materials, processes and products. Also, they advise the management of the company about effective options to streamline and manage costs.
- Financial Controller: They work closely with executive management teams and play a vital role in running businesses.
- Tax Accountant: Specialising in taxation, they handle audits, tax returns and final audits for corporations or individuals.
Choose the right association
Among the associations that exist today, you must choose the right one for you. One of the longstanding organisations for professional accountants and finance professionals is The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The purpose of the ICAEW is to ensure that people entering the accounting profession have high standards of knowledge, competence, and ethical conduct. How would they do that? To a series of exams and career support services. If you want to be a member of the ICAEW in Singapore you must finish their qualification processes.
How to Become a Member of the ICAEW
The international demand for CAs has steadily been increased for decades and, with the further increase of eCommerce businesses, the world would need more of them. Some firms are growing to conduct international business that would require them to have thorough financial management. The ICAEW is the organisation they trust when they need an employee with specialised knowledge of high-level accounting to handle their books.
If you want to become one of the CA that these big firms are looking for, you would want to become a member of the ICAEW. Here are the steps to take to become one:
Learn about the ACA qualification
You can ask any worldwide business about the ACA qualification, and they would immediately know that it is the standard of ICAEW in terms of being a CA. They value this programme because they know that any accountant who passed it is equipped with a high standard of accounting skills. Thus, they would lean more towards hiring them among other candidates. Learning about how the ACA qualification will go is essential for you to become an ICAEW chartered accountant. Here’s what you can expect from their structured programme:
- Complete 450 days of practical work experience
- Pass 15 exam modules that cover topics of financial management, law, assurance and business strategy
- Undertake professional development
- Adhere to the ICAEW standard of ethics and professional scepticism
Enrol in a tuition centre
Thanks to the accessibility of becoming an ICAEWchartered accountant, you can easily get help from various sources to complete the four elements of your ACA qualification. It includes gaining assistance from an employer or enrolling in an ICAEW-qualified tuition centre. The latter is an option for students in ICAEW. They have an option of beginning to study for their ACA before they found an employer. It would help them complete the qualifications needed in accountancy, business, or finance!
Pass the exams
Last, but ultimately not least, you must pass all of your exams. You must know there is a mixture of multiple-choice and essay questions that will come out of your exam. The former, you can expect to see in the early stages of the exam. However, the later stages will require a long-form written response from you.
If you study hard, the organisation will recognise you! The ICAEW distributes prizes to students who have a high score on their ACA exams. Known as the prestigious “Peat Prize”, it shall be given to the student with the highest overall score in any advanced-level exam!
Tips on How to Pass Your ACA Exams
While there is no easy way to pass exams, let alone an internationally recognised one, you should know that perseverance and dedication are the keys to success! If you need some tips to help or inspire you, start taking note of the ones you will read below.
Learn to prioritise
Plenty of ACA students are working professionals. If you are one of them, you must know how to juggle your various priorities. A tip to recognise the essential things in your life right now that you want to overcome is to list them. From that, you will know what you must take care of daily.
Have a space to study
If you work in an office, you might want to use your working space as your studying space as well. It might be easier for your mind to recognise that you are still in your working mode so that it can function the same way to help you with your studying. Squeezing hours in your day to study is also effective. It could be in your bedroom early in the morning when everyone in your house is still asleep. Either way, you should take advantage of your day to cover some subjects you need to study!
Create a timetable
One of the needed skills to become a chartered accountant is time management. If you do not know how to manage your time wisely, you cannot take the everyday obstacles of being a CA. Start practising this skill during your study by creating a timetable. There, you thoroughly plan what subjects you need to study. Thanks to advances in technology, you can use apps to help you in organising your weeks of preparation for your 15 modules.
During this process in your life, you must remember that you are not a robot. Do not neglect yourself along the way. As an ambitious student, you are susceptible to feeling drained and unfocused. During these times, all it takes is to step back and go outside. It could be as simple as going to the gym, going to your salon, or watching a favourite movie to help you relax and gain the energy you need to study again.
Among all of these, you can expect to stumble but it should not prompt you to give up! Remember that there are people who are behind you, willing to give you the help you need. Ultimately, forgive yourself if you fail the ACA exams. Trust that there is a reason for it, and give yourself another shot. What you must think about is that failure is an opportunity to perform better!
Registering in ICAEW Today for a Better Tomorrow
When it comes to achieving dreams, one cannot help to be too idealistic. They want to work things in a specific way that they often forget that there are external elements that could hinder or even discourage them from pursuing what they want to have in life. In terms of having an accounting certification in Singapore, persistence and passion are essential to possess. Sometimes, they do not even come from you. Instead, you can find them in different people who can serve as your role models.
The ICAEW is filled with persistent and passionate professionals. You will also meet fellow dreamers who are in the same boat, so remember to give your support to one another. Most importantly, you should think about having a future in the organisation. Multiple candidates wish to obtain an ACA qualification. It is expected to have this high demand on becoming an ICAEW chartered accountant. As the global economy becomes more interconnected, CAs will play a significant role in international business!
Do you want to be a CA in Singapore? Take the ICAEW ACA qualification to open doors for more career opportunities! Send them a message on their website to know more about your future with them today.