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A career in finance: which qualifications are most in demand?

Written by Kimberley Startup | October 19, 2012 | 1 Comment

Finance, Banking, Accounting, Industry Trends, Finance Trends, Banking Trends, Candidates, Job Seekers, Finance Qualification, Human Resources, HR, Finance Career, Accounting CareerWhether you have a degree or not, if you want to start a career in finance – your study days are certainly not over.

These are the latest findings from a study by webrecruit looking into what qualifications are required if you want to pursue a career in finance and accounting.

Surveying the finance and accounting roles placed with us since January 2012, 54% of vacancies require an additional finance qualification, such as an ACA, AAT, ACA or CIMA. Those that didn’t typically required significant experience in a similar role.

Looking at a variety of positions, from accounts assistants, purchase ledger clerks, bookkeepers and accountants to financial controllers, management accountants, finance directors and credit controllers – it would seem, if you don’t hold a professional qualification or, at least significant experience in the finance field, you may be missing out on key opportunities.

And, given the high number of applicants in relation to the number of jobs available, a finance qualification could be just what you need to strengthen your application and separate you from the competition.

So what roles require which qualifications?

The webrecruit study found 35% of employers sought candidates with an ACCA – part or full qualification – for roles such as finance analyst, finance manager and financial controller.

28% of employers looked for candidates with a part or full ACA qualification for positions such as financial accountant and management accountant. A further 27% of employers looked for part or fully qualified CIMA candidates for more senior positions, such as finance director.

The qualification least in demand was AAT. Only 10% of employers sought AAT qualified candidates, typically for roles such as finance assistant, accounts assistant, accountant and accounts administrator.

Despite the ups and downs, the finance sector seems to be one of the most sought after sectors by candidates. But this has led to increased competition for jobs. For example, the average number of applications per accounting role at webrecruit is 81.

So whilst competition for these jobs may be high, if you are willing to study towards qualifications, the finance sector can provide a very rewarding career.

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