How to Become an Accountant Without a Degree

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How to Become an Accountant Without a Degree

Accounting and bookkeeping are popular professions. Many students wonder if they need a degree to get into the field.

If you’re looking to study a course but don’t want to commit to a full-time degree, there is good news. A degree isn’t needed to be an accountant or bookkeeper. Even though in some areas a degree is favoured, there are still multiple ways to enter the profession without one.

In this post, we’ll explore what you need and different ways to get into the profession.

How do you want to study?

The beauty of not studying for a degree, is your options open up in terms of what to study. Your options will generally fall into two learning style categories;

  • Attending a physical training provider such as a college
  • Studying at home via self-study or with a distance training provider.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to study at college or pursue a home learning program. The most important consideration is what type of learner you are. If you are suited closer to formal and traditional education, then attending college may be the best option for you. A classroom has many benefits, of which learning in a social environment can be a tool that helps engage many students.

However, distance learning may be a better fit if you are interested in learning via a self-study approach. Having control over the pace at which you learn & freedom to learn anywhere, makes distance learning an attractive proposition. If you work full-time and hold family commitments, the flexibility of distance learning could favour you.

Another important factor to consider is time.

College comes along with strict time constraints. These are formulated from decades of experience in how to structure students learning patterns. This means you will be working on a formula proven to work. However, there can be a large pressure that comes along with these time constraints within colleges.        

Distance learning brings forth the freedom to learn when you would like to and for how long. Examinations can also be taken when you feel you are ready. This freedom also comes with the ability to take a break from studying. As beneficial as this sounds, the ability to fall off your studies can happen.

Whatever decision you make, be sure to do your research and choose the accounting program that best suits your needs and abilities.

What industry do you want to enter?

Accountancy is a very large industry with many different aspects to it. You can go into bookkeeping, which requires excellent organizational skills. Or you can go into forensic accounting and help solve crimes. There are many different roles covered by accounting, and you can guide your educational journey towards your end goal.

Because accounting is such a vital part of any business, there are opportunities in almost every industry. Whatever your strengths and interests, there is likely to be an accounting role that is a good fit for you. 

Choosing the right course is essential to getting the best job for yourself in the accounting field. 

Need Help?

The skill checker on our website can help you determine what level of AAT accounting course you need to take to get the job you want. Or you can contact our team to find out more about the different types of accounting jobs available.

UK Qualifications available for Accounting & Bookkeeping

Accountancy qualifications can be obtained from a broad variety of institutions. There are a few qualifications that are accounting-specific which will start you on the path to becoming an accredited accountant and bookkeeper. Once you have completed these qualifications, you will be able to specialise in the area of accounting that interests you the most.

Throughout your studies, you will learn many new things which may lead you down a path you never imagined. The possibilities are endless when it comes to accountancy.

The following qualifications are just some of the many that you can obtain in accounting:


AAT is the world’s leading body of accounting technicians, with over 150,000 members globally. AAT courses are specifically designed for those who wish to enter the accounting profession.

AAT courses cover a wide range of topics from bookkeeping to taxation, equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the accounting profession. 

There are two main courses on offer; AAT Accounting and AAT Bookkeeping. 

AAT Accounting

There are three main levels of study – Levels 2, 3 and 4. Upon completion of Level 4, students become professional members of AAT and can use MAAT as a title in their name. This opens up new opportunities and takes their accounting career to the next level. AAT also offers a variety of membership benefits, including access to exclusive job openings, discounts on CPD courses, and free entry into accounting competitions. Once the series of courses have been completed, you can become a licenced Accountant.

AAT Bookkeeping

For the bookkeeping course, there are two levels – Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping & Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping. Once Level 3 is completed, the qualification can be used as a route to becoming a professional AAT bookkeeping member (AATQB). This not only brings recognition but also the right to become an AAT Licensed Bookkeeper.

As part of Q2022 update, once you begin your studies, there is no deadline to complete the course. The AAT courses range from in-between 12 Months – 3 Years.

You can either study full-time, or study part-time while working.

  • Assistant Auditor
  • Assistant Financial Accountant
  • Assistant Management Accountant
  • Accounts Payable and Expenses Supervisor
  • Commercial Analyst
  • Cost Accountant
  • Fixed Asset Accountant
  • Indirect Tax Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Payments and Billing Manager
  • Professional Accounting Technician
  • Senior Bookkeeper
  • Senior Fund Accountant
  • Senior Financial Officer
  • Senior Insolvency Administrator
  • Tax Supervisor
  • VAT Accountant

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The ICB bookkeeping qualification is the perfect way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to take control of your accounting career. This course prepares you for roles in accounting and bookkeeping, as well as gives you the skillset to set up your own bookkeeping business. 

The ICB qualifications are well respected globally, and once you complete your exams you’ll be eligible to apply for official membership of ICB and gain professional status. 

Whether you’re just starting out in your accounting career or you’re looking to move into a new role, the ICB bookkeeping qualification provides the perfect foundation for success.

12 Months – 3 Years.

  • Accounts Manager
  • Ledger Manager
  • Professional Bookkeeper
  • Self-Employed Bookkeeper
  • Senior Bookkeeper

+ More

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The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is the world’s leading global body for professional accountants. ACCA has almost 190,000 members and 480,000 students across 178 countries.

This qualification is highly sought after by employers due to the requirements needed to complete this course. There are 14 subjects covered, with multiple examinations to suit. Once these are complete, you will attain ACCA Affiliate status. To obtain the full qualification, a student must also hold 3 years of relevant practical experience in an accounting role. Within this role, certain performance objectives must be completed as-well as an ethics module.

Upon completion, you will reach Certified Chartered Accountant status and full ACCA membership.

Although this seems rather demanding, your practical work experience can be obtained whilst studying – a benefit of studying via distance learning.

Two A-Levels and three GCSEs (or their equivalent). These need to be in five separate subjects including English and maths.

Once you begin your studies, you have ten years to complete the course. On average ACCA take 2.5 to 3 years to complete. You can either study full-time or study part-time while working. ACCA may provide exemptions for certain units if you have completed applicable AAT studies.

  • Auditor
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • Financial Accountant
  • Finance Manager
  • Management Accountant
  • Tax Specialist

+ More

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CIMA is a UK based professional accounting accreditation. This Accreditation is recognised globally in over 180 countries.

The scope of CIMA covers Management Accounting, Financial Strategy & Risk Management. Studying CIMA prepares you as a student for a range of roles within accounting, including running your own accounting practice.

In total, there are 4 Levels to complete within CIMA, which take on average a year to complete. Studying via distance learning, you will be able to complete this course at your own pace.

There are no entry requirements for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting.

Depending on the route taken, CIMA takes 3-4 years to complete. CIMA can be completed quicker if taken after AAT studies.

  • Accounts Assistant
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Financial Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Finance Manager
  • Fund Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Sales Ledger Clerk

+ More


If you want to become an accountant in the UK, it’s good to know that there is a wide range of entry paths. You don’t necessarily need a degree – although this will give you a strong foundation.

It’s important to remember that accounting is a profession which requires constant learning. There are always new updates and changes in the field, so make sure you stay up-to-date and keep expanding your knowledge base. With the right planning and decision-making, we believe that anyone can become an accountant – it just takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn. 

There are many paths you can take, and we’re here to help you find the right one for you. Check out our courses or contact our team to see what path is best for you!

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