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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental ScienceUndergraduate study

Qualifying as a chartered accountant

Accountancy can be very competitive, especially where the large firms are concerned, so having the right qualifications and experience can be crucial.


  1. Graduates from any background can train as a chartered accountant. An excellent academic record is generally needed, including five GCSE’s at A*-C including Maths and English, good A levels and an honours degree of 2:2 or above.
  2. Large accountancy firms often ask for a 2:1 degree and 260-300 UCAS points
  3. Qualification as a chartered accountant takes at least 3 years, with study for exams alongside full time employment

Work experience

Previous experience of the area is very helpful. Consider finding some vacation work, work shadowing, or a placement.

Find out as much as you can about the firm before applying; many companies make presentations or attend job fairs at universities. You may also be able to attend short courses of open days run by the firm.

Competition to enter the profession is often high and the application process can be long and thorough. Start applying in the autumn term of your final year, as some applications close as early as October.


Employment in ‘the big 4’ accountancy firms is very competitive.

These firms run graduate schemes and take on high achievers in many subjects, but they are not the only employers in the field so it is worth looking around a bit as well.

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