Chartered Accountant Education Requirements and Career Info

Sep 10, 2019

Chartered accountants require significant formal education. Learn about the degrees, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

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Becoming a chartered accountant in the United States requires a bachelor's degree, as well as additional schooling to earn the CPA (certified public accountant) designation. This program generally takes two years to complete and must be taken abroad, such as in Canada or England. Keep reading to learn more about the education required to become a chartered accountant.

Essential Information

Chartered accountants are equivalent to certified public accountants in the United States. They receive their graduate school education overseas and can work in many different settings around the world. Chartered accountants provide clients with consultation on tax, accounting and auditing activities.

Required Education Graduation from a two-year chartered accountant program overseas after receiving a bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure depending on the country
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 6% (for accountants and auditors)*
Median Salary (2018) $74,889** (for chartered accountant)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Chartered Accountant Education Requirements

Educational programs for prospective chartered accountants are not available in the United States. The corresponding role is certified public accountant (CPA). Those interested in becoming chartered accountants should first obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related subject. They must then seek out a chartered accountant program in a country such as England, Canada or Australia. Most chartered accounting programs last two years and are considered post-graduate programs. They sometimes require prior work experience in accounting, in addition to a relevant undergraduate-level degree. Many learning institutions set up internship programs between students and chartered accountants for additional on-the-job training. It is important to note that countries may have different licensing requirements for chartered accountants; licensure is almost always acquired only upon graduation from a formal, accredited educational program.

Because chartered accountant training programs are advanced, they are designed to build upon previous coursework and assume a basic understanding of accounting. Class topics may include auditing and assurance, business ethics, accounting analysis and financial reporting. Chartered accountants learn the ins and outs of modern and international taxation and business laws in order to provide global clients with reliable, strategic and accurate forecasts and advice.

Career Information

Chartered accountants can work for the private or public sector, including government organizations. They may find employment in most countries, including the United States. In addition to performing their own assigned duties, chartered accountants might oversee and lead a team of lower-level employees.

Chartered accountants are trained to minimize losses and maximize gains while remaining in the jurisdictions of the law and following all industry-specific regulations. They typically handle all tax work for individuals and businesses to reduce tax liability. The exact job duties for chartered accountants depend on whether they are hired directly by a single corporation or work within a contracted consultation agency. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most financial managers work directly for commercial banking and savings institutions. Main duties include conducting research and analysis, and then preparing financial findings and reports.

Chartered accountants may be hired for one specific position (such as insurance manager) or obtain broad-based employment within an agency. They may also work independently for private clients. Public and private chartered accountants have the same training and are qualified to handle diverse financial projects. The most important task for all chartered accountants is to provide reliable advice on all financial and tax issues.

Understanding the education required to become a chartered accountant is a good first step in pursuing this career. It is also important to research the different careers paths one might take, such as working in the private or public sector, and entering corporate accounting or consulting. A CPA is qualified to work in any country recognizing this designation as a chartered accountant.

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