Considering a professional qualification?

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As the accountancy profession becomes ever more competitive in the Middle East, graduates as well as qualified professionals are looking to obtain further qualifications to give them the edge they need in securing the best role possible and to maximise their earning potential.

Robert Walters explores just some of the key considerations associated with taking on a new qualification.

 

The benefits

Enrolling in a professional qualification is one of the best ways to illustrate your commitment to your career. Whether you are just starting out or looking for a new challenge, enrolment in further education sends a very clear message to both current and prospective employers that you are a self-starter who is committed to your profession.

Similarly, increasing your qualifications will add an ultimate boost to your professional reputation, whether that is within your current organisation, to stakeholders across the market or interacting with your clients.

If you are looking to practice within the Middle East, you will typically find that courses originating in the UK and the US come very well respected, holding far greater recognition in the marketplace.

Exploring your options

There is no doubt that professional institutes have dramatically increased their offering over the past decade, with syllabuses being consistently updated for changes in current legislation and reporting as well as fluctuations in the state of the market. Similarly, accessibility to these programmes has never been more advanced, with online access taking the hassle out of course enrolment and examinations being made available in most cities. 

If you are looking to practice within the Middle East, you will typically find that courses originating in the UK and the US come very well respected, holding far greater recognition in the marketplace.

Filling the gaps

The world of accounting is quickly evolving and so too is the responsibility on professionals to keep their technical skills up-to-date. Often the next step in your career is dependent upon it and unfortunately without these, there will be a number of gaps present in your experience. Not everything can be learnt on-the-job.

When considering which professional qualification is right for you, it’s best to think in the long-term, considering which area you would like to specialise in and the key qualifications to enhance your on-the-job experience. In other words, you need to think full-circle, enriching your understanding over multiple avenues and adding value to the service provided to your clients.

Remember, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to qualifications and you will need to make sure these are in line with your future aspirations as well as your current limitations and circumstances. For instance, if you would like to specialise in internal audit then one of the most respected avenues you can take is through Chartered Accountancy, gaining an ACA qualification. This is typically done after joining an audit firm and obtaining at least three years on-the-job experience.

In addition to this, you will more often than not find added bonuses when gaining another qualification. As a rule, exposure to professional institutes will not only widen your network, they will also provide you with a broader understanding of economics and value chains as well as international money markets.

The cost of qualifications

Putting up the money to fund new or additional qualifications is not something most people look forward to, particularly if you are at the beginning of your career. Try to think of the expense as an investment, where your returns will be felt in higher levels of seniority and salary as well as internal recognition within your firm.

Remember you are already in the field, make sure to speak with your organisation about education allowances, as it is often that they will sponsor work associated tuition fees. In most cases, this can be 50 per cent or more of all costs associated with your course. Likewise, if sponsorship is not an option, most major banks will provide loans to accommodate for professional qualifications, offering competitive interest rates.

If you would like more information on accounting job market, please contact:

Jean Karim Vandenberghe (Senior Consultant, Middle East)
jeankarim.vandenberghe@robertwalters.com
+971 4 8180 103

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