Should budding accountants go to university?

A degree should not be a prerequisite for those wishing to become accountants, according to the ICAEW.

Mark Protherough from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, says that talented individuals should still be able to enter the profession through non-university routes.

Around 20% of chartered accountants currently enter the profession without obtaining a degree, and with university fees on the increase, this percentage may rise in the future.

PwC has recently asked employers to comment on the Higher Apprenticeship scheme for Professional Services. Under the current plan, ICAEW will be involved in establishing a distinct entry route into accounting for people who want to take the higher apprenticeship. Employers in the accountancy, consulting and tax sectors can contribute to the development or provide training opportunities.

Sara Caplan, a partner at PwC, said employers have the opportunity to contribute to advancing the business skills of the UK economy. The consultation should gather a diverse range of views that will enable us to have a strong core programme that can be tailored for the individual needs of businesses.

Earn while you learn is becoming increasingly popular and PwC has seen applications for its school leaver programme increase by more than 300% since 2008.

Employers and students are keen to explore new avenues into accountancy that do not compromise high quality training, development and career prospects.

School leavers who are considering their career options may be interested to learn that Robert Half lists newly qualified accountants at number three in its list of high potential jobs for 2012. Management accountants, with a potential salary of between £34,500 and £56,500, ranked number 8.

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