ACA the most important qualification for employers

woman and friend looking at the most important finance qualifications

Over 90% of accounting and finance employers rank certifications including ACA, ACCA or CIMA as more important than experience working within the finance market, according to new industry research, Solving the UK Skills Shortage – Accounting & Finance.

The latest research highlights the relative importance of the different types of qualifications finance employers recognise as the most valuable when recruiting new finance employees.

Find out how you match up to industry trends - request a copy of the research.


Technical qualifications

Over half of those surveyed (53%) consider ACA/ICAS to be the most important qualification when sourcing candidates in the recruitment process. ACA/ICAS  tends to be considered the most technically demanding certification and is offered by the large accounting and finance firms.

Businesses need be more analytical with their employment offers, with work-life balance, distance to travel and opportunities for progression also important factors for CFOs to consider.

50% of CFOs also look for an ACCA qualifications in new hires, while 41% said that they require a CIMA qualification for new roles they recruit for.

Chris Lloyd, Finance Manager at Robert Walters highlights how finance employers will need to be increasingly competitive with their employment offers to secure this select pool of candidates:

“To be regarded by ACA accountants who receive multiple counter offers, businesses looking to attract those professionals will need to offer more competitive salaries. Furthermore, to meet rising candidate expectations, businesses need be more analytical with their employment offers, with work-life balance, distance to travel and opportunities for progression also important factors for CFOs to consider.”

Industry experience

The research also reveals that only 6% of employers think experience is more important than possessing a qualification, compared to 11% of finance professionals who consider industry experience as invaluable towards their career progression.

University degree

Interestingly, a university degree, although not as important as professional certifications, are considered more important than experience in the sector. 16% of hiring managers believe a university degree is more important to the sector and more than 2 in 10 professionals believe a university degree is useful to progress quickly in the discipline.

Looking outside the industry

As industry experience is not essential for a finance role, the research highlights that CFOs should look beyond the accounting and finance industry when looking to secure top talent. Over a quarter (26%) of hiring managers require transferrable skills, particularly for junior and entry-level positions such as organisation, time-management and interpersonal skills. However, only 2 in 10 businesses target professionals from other fields that possess transferrable skills.



Robert Walters, totaljobs and Jobsite surveyed almost 1,000 accounting and finance professionals across the UK to gain insight into key skill shortage trends, the potential impact of Brexit in a global market, changing candidate expectations and the recommended recruitment strategies to combat the skills gap.

Find out more and download a copy of the research.