Accountancy can be a tough industry to get into, however, once you are working as a “proper” accountant, it can be a rather lucrative career. That ponders the question; what actually is required for you to become a full, bona fide Accountant?
Well, this article aims to tackle at least part of that question. In this segment, I will explain which A-Levels are recommended to set you on the right path to becoming an accountant, and why they will be useful to you in the long term. This article aims to help you choose A-Levels that will aid your career goals, so that you can more easily climb the educational ladder.
Below is a short answer to the question ‘What A-levels do you need to become an Accountant?’. Here at Think Student, we like to give a summary of the article at the beginning so that it is quick and easy to find the information you are looking for.
So, the short answer is that the main A-Levels we would recommend for perusing a career in Accountancy are below:
- A-Level Accountancy
- A-Level Maths
- A-Level Business Studies
- A-Level Economics
- A-Level Further Maths
- An A-Level Science
Bear in mind that we obviously don’t expect you to take all of the A-Levels above, however, they are indeed all well suited to a student that is pursuing a career in Accountancy. Out of those mentioned above, I would personally say that the respective A-Levels of Maths, Business Studies and Accountancy and the best three out of the bunch.
If you would like a more in-depth explanation about why each of the aforementioned A-Level subjects is useful for someone who wants to become an Account, have a read of this helpful article.
1. A-Level Maths (Often Required by Select Universities)
A-Level Maths is an absolute staple subject in many student’s educations. This is because the skills that it teaches students are so far reaching. Students who take A-Level Maths learn an array of mathematical skills that can be applied to many corporate and state industries, including Accountancy.
It really isn’t a secret that an Accountant has to be proficient when it comes to mathematical ability, therefore, I think that this A-Level requirement almost speaks for itself.
That being said, prospective Accountancy students do have to be careful when applying for A-Level Maths as they need to know what’s involved in getting the qualification and they have to ensure that they don’t bite off more than they can chew.
Due to this, I recommend taking a look at our article that outlines how hard A-Level Maths is to study. It is important that you understand how much work you will be undertaking to get a good grade. You can check it out here.
Lastly, it is important to note that the general rule for prospective Accountants regarding A-Level Maths is that it is usually more important when going for a Bachelor of Science (BSc) than when going for a Bachelor of Arts (BA).
2. A-Level Accountancy (Often Recommended by Select Universities)
This is the only A-Level on this list that speaks for itself more so than A-Level Maths – it really is in the name. A-Level Accountancy teaches students the basics and the fundamental concepts that lie within the field of Accountancy.
Universities like to see this A-Level in their applicant’s qualification portfolios; however, it is not often a requirement. For example, the University of Brighton do not explicitly state anywhere that they require an A-Level in Accountancy and Finance on their application page. Therefore, although this is a preferred A-Level, you may well be able to peruse a degree in Accountancy without it.
In summary, although an A-Level in Accountancy is noy necessarily required, it is an A-Level choice that could be hugely beneficial to your career. Learning the basics of Accounting before starting your degree program is something that can give you a huge advantage when starting your course. This is because you will have already covered much of the Year 1 degree content during your time at Sixth Form College.
Furthermore, not only will the A-Level improve your skills and knowledge prior to going to university, but it will also give you an insight into what kind of content a university degree in Accountancy will cover – thus, hopefully giving you a really good idea on whether or not the degree is something you would want to pursue going forward. This gives you a chance to get out of the career path before you become to invested (if it isn’t for you, that is).
3. A-Level Business Studies (Often Recommended by Select Universities)
A-Level Business Studies may not seem that obvious to students that don’t already have a good idea what a career in Accountancy entails, however, to the students that have already done a fair bit of research, it really is an obvious A-Level choice.
Being an Accountant is not that far away from being a businessman or businesswoman, and so you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of how business models work before you do the accounts for any businesses that use specific models. This means that a qualification in A-Level Business Studies will provide you with a proficiency to analyse businesses effectively – thereby increasing your understanding of the eventual accounts you will do for that business.
A-Level Business studies is again not usually required by Universities, however, just like A-Level Accountancy, it gives students an edge during their first year at University. A-Level Business Studies is all about giving a prospective Accountancy student the context of the corporate world which they will be working in.
So should you take it? In my opinion, it is really helpful to gain the contextual knowledge of the business world, and so my vote would be a resounding yes. That said, I would personally not recommend taking A-Level Business Studies as a replacement for the more important A-Level subject, Mathematics. This is due to A-Level Maths being required by many Universities across the United Kingdom.
It is important that you research the individual subject requirements for each University that you would potentially be interested in studying at. This makes it easier to see where certain subjects are required, and where they are simply preferred. A good place to start with this is by taking a look at this useful website, which provides a list of university courses and their entry requirements.
4. A-Level Economics (Often Recommended by Select Universities)
A-Level Economics is not dissimilar to A-Level Business Studies in the way that it provides context to the core subject of Accountancy. When learning the content within the A-Level Economics specification, you will grasp an understanding of the wider economy and the implications of it on accounting processes.
Most accounting degrees will actually contain an Economics module within the course. This is because Universities feel that an understanding of the global and national economies is key during the journey to become a qualified, professional Accountant. In addition to Universities commonly including an Economics module within their Accountancy courses, they also usually offer sibling courses, such as the following:
- Accounting & Economics
- Accounting & Marketing
- Accounting & Finance
- Accounting with Business Studies
This shows us that Accounting is not a course that has to be studied in academic isolation, but in fact, can be studied with similar subjects that enhance the learning experience and accounting ability.
If A-Level Economics is something that really doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t panic. It is not essential. If you have a few other good A-Levels under your belt, such as the other ones on this list, then you really have nothing to worry about at all. In general, it’s always great to couple Accountancy with strongly related A-Levels, whether that be Business Studies or Maths, it doesn’t have to be Economics if you don’t want it to be.
If none of the A-Level subjects on this list appeal to you, then Accountancy might just not be your career calling. Instead, you could take some facilitating subjects and keep your options open. You could also have a look at Think Student’s Career Page, which contains many articles on what qualifications you need to get into a range of careers.
5. A-Level Further Maths
If you are interested in becoming an accountant, and also want to take 4 A-Levels, A-Level Maths could be a great choice for you. Although not essential for a career as an Accountant, this A-Level will look great on your university application.
I would only recommend that you take A-Level Further Maths if you are taking 4 A-Levels, and have a talent and passion for Maths. It is most useful as a fourth subject, because otherwise there is a risk of Maths and Further Maths being considered as one subject on your application to university. If you would like to find out how hard A-Level Maths is, have a read of this useful article.
6. An A-Level Science
A-Levels in Sciences are always well-respected, regardless of career choice. The ability to take a Scientific approach towards problems is something that will be useful for you as a prospective Accountant. Scientific approaches are logical and structured, and this is something that is useful for prospective Accountants.
You may want to consider taking either Physics of Chemistry as Science A-Levels, and information about these can be found in the articles listed below: