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Understanding ACA and Other UK Finance Manager Qualifications

financeIf you’re looking for a finance manager position in the UK, there are a number of qualifications and certifications that companies will be looking for. These range from on-the-job experience to training certification such as ACA accreditation. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about finance manager qualifications in the UK.

Skills Required for General Qualifications

Finance manager positions in the UK vary from company to company, and as such, the necessary qualifications for each position vary as well. There are, however, certain core competencies that are required for any position in this field. These include skills and experience in business, management, accountancy, statistics, and finance. These skills can be gained through educational or professional experience, although most employers will be looking for some base level of education, as well as at least two to four years of post-qualified experience.

ACA and ACCA Certification

When it comes to certifications, most finance manager openings in the UK will require applicants to have ACA or ACCA certification. While there is no certification necessary for individuals to practice as accountants in the UK, ACA or ACCA accreditation distinguishes an individual as a certified Chartered Accountant. These certifications include membership in an official Chartered Accountants’ organization – either the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ACA) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). In addition, many companies will accept memberships from other countries such as ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland), CAI (Chartered Accountants Ireland), and CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

Additional Skills and Assets

In addition to the above qualifications, many businesses will be looking for candidates with more specific skills in certain areas. These skills can include: communication and interpersonal skills, analytical abilities, strong attention to detail, commercial experience, strong computer literacy and understanding of certain software programs, strong decision-making abilities, leadership qualities, IT skills, and more.

Work Experience Opportunities

In order to obtain a finance manager position, it is beneficial to have a good amount of relevant work experience. This can be hard to come by in a competitive workplace, especially for someone who has recently finished their studies. However, there are ways to get that work experience you need. Some employers run short work experience courses and internships, as well as placement programs to cover employee vacation times. Be on the lookout for programs of this nature. A good place to look for placement vacancies is in the publications of professional accountancy organizations. Many companies advertise openings in these publications, and are on the lookout for recent graduates with the right skill-set to join their firm.

Competition for finance manager positions can be steep, especially in more difficult economic times. All the more reason, then, to ensure that you have the best qualifications and certifications for the positions you’re applying for. It’s also a good idea to get as much experience as you can, even if that means working for a smaller firm to start out with. In addition to your qualifications, this experience will set you apart as a candidate worth going after for a finance manager position.


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