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An accelerated route into accountancy: An interview with Olaposi Olatubosun

In September 2020 we will be introducing a new 2-year accelerated Accounting and Finance (Hons) BSc degree. The innovative design of this course allows students the opportunity to become a qualified member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) within a shorter timeframe. We caught up with Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance Dr Posi Olatubosun (PhD, FCCA, ACSI, FHEA) from our Bloomsbury campus to find out more about this new route into accounting.

I am a Fellow Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and hold a PhD in Accounting and Finance. I have many years of experience as an auditor, tax practitioner, banker, stockbroker and as a senior lecturer in the field of Accounting and Finance. I’m also looking forward to studying an MSc/LLM in Law in due course, to broaden my knowledge in the area of Law, especially as it relates to business.

There are currently two main routes to qualifying as an accountant in the UK. The first one is to attend professional training centres and pass the professional examinations without ever attending a university. During this process, you are restricted to taking up to 4 papers at a time.  The second option is to attend a university, such as ULaw, accredited by the professional accounting bodies. Here you’re allowed to take more papers at once, thereby shortening the process in terms on the number of modules to be written in order to fully qualify as an accountant.

There are six accountancy bodies in the UK with the chartered status, but only the first five listed below belong to the Consultative Committee of Accounting Bodies (i.e. CCAB) who are permitted to issue taxation and audit practising licences.

  • Institute of Chartered Accountant in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland (ICAI)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Depending on the route, it takes between 3 to 5 years on average to complete the qualifying examinations and become a qualified accountant. After qualifying as an accountant, members who want to gain a practising licence can then proceed to a further 30 months training to obtain a licence from any of the first five chartered institutes listed above.

From September 2020, you’ll be able to speed up this process as The University of Law will be offering a 2-year accelerated Accounting and Finance (Hons) BSc degree which is fully accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Upon completion of this training, the students would be entitled to claim exemptions from the first nine ACCA papers, i.e.:

Knowledge Papers (the equivalent of University Level 4)

Accountants in Business

Management Accounting

Financial Accounting

Skills Papers (the equivalent of University Levels 5 and 6)

Corporate and Business Law

Performance Management

Taxation

Financial Reporting

Auditing and Assurance

Financial Management

Upon completion of the 2-year BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance, our graduates would be able to proceed to write four ACCA professional papers (made up of two compulsory and two optional papers):

Strategic Business Leader (Compulsory)

Strategic Business Reporting (Compulsory)

Advanced Financial Management (optional)

Advanced Performance Management (optional)

Advanced Taxation (optional)

Advanced Audit & Assurance (optional)

Graduates of the 2-year BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance have the opportunity to qualify as members of the ACCA within three to four years of commencing the programme, thereby saving a year or two in the process, as well as saving money.

This undergraduate degree route is designed for individuals who

  • already have a degree in other business or social sciences, but are planning a career change to accountancy
  • who have a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business or Social Sciences (especially in the Commonwealth countries like Nigeria, Kenya, India etc.) and are desirous of getting a British university degree, and then qualifying as an accountant
  • are enthusiastic students with good A’ level results who are ready and motivated to stand the rigour of a two-year degree programme

The benefits of carrying out this course are

  • Saving time - A two–year accelerated degree allows you to qualify in a shorter period of time
  • Saving money – A shorter course will cost considerably less in the long run
  • Access to tutorials delivered by professional members of the ACCA who are well experienced with ACCA examinations

Accounting is quite practical. The main joy that I’ve derived from teaching this programme since 1997 is the satisfaction which comes from preparing potential business leaders and the fact that many of these students have successfully become business leaders over the years.

Accounting is the hub of business, whether it is profit-making ones like sole proprietorship, partnerships and limited liability companies which are involved in trading or non-trading, or governmental or charity-controlled ones like the police, HMRC, the NHS or schools. Accounting would appeal to anyone who is interested in becoming a financial director of a company, or who wants to be self-employed as a licenced auditor or tax consultant. Within the accounting programme, students will be trained on how to report the performance of the business on a historical basis to stakeholders (i.e. financial accounting), how to generate useful information for planning, decision making and performance management activities as well as obtain and the use of funds in achieving strategic organisational goals (i.e. management accounting and financial management). They will learn how to prepare various tax computations such as VAT, corporation tax, PAYE, inheritance taxes, stamp duties, and manage relationships with the tax authorities (business taxation). Historical auditing, integrated financial reports (auditing and assurance) and managing organisations (corporate governance and business strategy) are also included.

Twenty percent of FTSE-100 CEOs and 6 out of 10 FTSE directors are qualified accountants.  Accountants have always been best placed to contribute on fiscal matters, and the recessionary environment has made that more important. However, it is their strategic insight which is most sought-after now. Additionally, the visibility of a company’s fiscal performance, and the communication of that information to multiple stakeholders in often complex matrix environments, has never been more key to the effective running of an organisation. The finance industry has also arguably benefited, more than any other professional discipline, from the best training and development, so accountants have had to hone their soft skills, their communication skills, more than most professionals to get on. These advances, among others, have also made the accounting profession more attractive to the best graduate talent in the last two decades. Accounting firms and finance departments are where many potential leaders chose to begin their careers twenty years ago. It’s no surprise that the experience gained in their formative years has helped shape them to be the leadership talent pool of 2020 and beyond.

We are seeing more accountants moving out of the backrooms and into the boardroom. In the boom years, a CEO with marketing experience may have been valued for his ability to build a brand. Now, an accountant’s firm grasp of financial issues and ability to provide reliable, sensible expertise significantly improves their prospects. Increasingly, accountants are seeking positions which qualify them for more engaging roles down the line. It seems they have the long game in mind, so are prepared to switch roles to gain exposure to enticing work.

Whatever the business, accountants have a broad spectrum of training in business, strategy and finance, which has equipped them to effectively manage money, materials and machines.

My advice to prospective accounting students is that they should be ready to acquire skills that cover a broad area of business. This won’t be limited to financial or management accounting but includes effective management of the 4Ms, i.e. money (financial resources) men and women (human resources), materials (input resources) and machines (tangible and intangible assets).

 

Discover more about ULaw’s 2-year accelerated Accounting and Finance (Hons) BSc