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Most colleges will ask for five GCSE passes, including two or often three at ‘A’ level. They will probably insist on grade C or better at GCSE. Other acceptable qualifications are: Scottish Certificate of Education, with passes in five subjects including three at Higher level; Scottish Certificate of Education with passes in four subjects at Higher level; BTEC or SCOTVEC National Certificate or Diploma, GNVQs and NVQs at Levels 2 and 3. The college prospectus will give details of other acceptable qualifications, but if you are in any doubt write to the admissions tutor at the college for more information.
Most accountancy degrees will ask for maths GCSE or equivalent; some, but not all, make maths ‘A’ level a compulsory requirement.
University and College Entrance: The Official Guide, published by UCAS, will give full information about entrance requirements for all university degree courses, and can be found in all good reference libraries. Be sure to use the most recent edition and then check with the college prospectus. Applying for a course for which you are not qualified is a very common mistake.
The requirements listed are the minimum needed to qualify. When a course is very popular, the standard may be considerably higher. The Complete Degree Course Offers, published annually by Trotman, another one in the reference library, can give you some idea of the standard prevailing at different colleges. The author lists the various offers made to candidates applying for degree courses at UK universities and colleges.
Business and Technology Education Council Courses
BTEC First Certificate/Diploma/BTEC Intermediate NVQ
Students should be at least 16 years old. No formal examination passes are required.
BTEC National Certificate/Diploma/BTEC Advanced NVQ
Students should be at least 16 years old and for most courses will require four GCSE passes or an alternative suitable qualification, such as an NVQ with appropriate attainment or BTEC First Certificate/Diploma.
BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma
Students should normally be at least 18 and hold an appropriate BTEC National award or equivalent qualification, or suitable A level passes. These will depend on the individual course and, where a student enters on the basis of A levels, additional bridging studies or a conversion course may be needed.
BTEC Continuing Education Certificate/Diploma and Units
These courses and units are designed for adults, and students should normally be at least 21 years old. Entry qualifications and length of course vary according to the individual course. Students may be admitted to certain of these studies on the basis of suitable experience and proven ability instead of formal qualifications.
Scottish Vocational Education Council Courses
The SCOTVEC system is very flexible. The following are given as guidance but are not mandatory. Students should check individual college entry criteria.
National Certificate (NC)
The award is available in schools, colleges and other centers normally to students over the age of 16. It may be taken alongside or as an extension to GCSE Standard grade, Higher grade or Certificate of Sixth Year Studies in the fifth and sixth years of secondary education, on a full-time or part-time basis in a College of Further Education, or by adults seeking new skills or retraining.
Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Diploma (HND)
Advanced SCOTVEC courses are open to:
a) students who have completed an appropriate National Certificate proggramme (or its equivalent);
b) in some cases to students who possess an appropriate group of Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) H and 0 grades or GCSE and A levels;
c) students who may qualify for admission on grounds of maturity and experience, at the discretion of the College Principal
Higher National Certificate or Diploma in Business Studies
Candidates must hold the National Certificate in Business Studies or a SCOTVEC NC with a minimum of 12 suitable modules (including Communication 4). Candidates will be regarded as eligible if they possess not less than three SCE Higher grade passes (these should normally include Higher English, but a language-based subject such as economics, history or modern studies would in certain circumstances be accepted instead), and not less than two other SCE O grade passes.
Candidates of 21 years and over may be admitted with qualifications other than the National Certificate in Business Studies or a SCOTVEC NC, on the recommendation of their College Principal Students may be allowed to transfer from year one of the Business Studies course to the Accounting course (and vice versa) if the following examinations have been passed within the HND in Business Studies: Economics, Business Law, Business Systems 1, Business Accounting, Organizational Psychology.
Provided the student holds these five passes and gains a pass in Accounting 1 and Cost and Management Accounting 1 under the HND in Accounting, the student will be considered as eligible for entry to the second year of the HND in Accounting.
Higher National Certificate in Accounting
Students wishing to enter the course must be in possession of one of the following:
a) National Certificate or Diploma in Business Studies group award or a SCOTVEC National Certificate with a minimum of 12 suitable modules (including Communication 4);
b) Three SCE Higher grade passes including English or other appropriate English language-based subject and two other 0 grade passes; or
c) An equivalent qualification
Students aged 21 and over with lesser academic qualifications may, at the discretion of the College Principal, be admitted to the course. All students will be required to have a pass in a numeracy subject and in English.
Higher National Diploma in Accounting
Students for the course must hold one of the following:
a) National Certificate in Business Studies Group Certificate or SCOTVEC National Certificate with a minimum of 12 suitable modules (including Communication 4);
b) Three SCE Higher grade passes (including English) and two other SCE O grade passes; or
c) An equivalent qualification – e.g. a minimum of two A levels and three GCSE passes (provided passes in English and maths are included).
Students holding the National Certificate in Business Studies must have a pass in a numeracy subject in addition to Business Information within the group or an SCE 0 grade pass in maths. Students holding SCE qualifications must produce a pass in maths at least at 0 grade standard. Students holding the National Certificate should include numeracy modules in their program.
Applicants aged 21 and over with lesser academic or vocational qualifications may be admitted on the recommendation of the College Principal to the Council.
Higher National Certificate in Accounting Technician Studies
The normal entry requirements are three SCE Higher grade passes (these should normally include Higher English, but a language-based subject such as economics, history or modern studies may be accepted instead) and not less than two other SCE grade passes or a SCOTVEC National Certificate with a minimum of 12 suitable modules (including Communication 4). Candidates of 21 years and over may be admitted with lesser qualifications on the recommendation of the College Principal.
Listed here are the various requirements for registration as a student with the accountancy institutions; this is necessary in order to be eligible to take their professional examinations.
Association of Accounting Technicians
There are no formal entry requirements though colleges may impose their own admission criteria.
Association of Corporate Treasurers
To register as a student, candidates must have five GCSEs at grade C or better or five GCEs. These must include maths and English language.
Chartered Association of Certified Accountants
Applicants can register as students if they have an approved university or CNAA degree, or one of the qualifications listed below. Passes at GCSE must be at grade C or higher.
a) GCSE with five passes (in five separate subjects) including English language and maths or a numeracy subject, e.g. statistics, accounting, commerical maths. Two passes must be at ‘A’ level.
b) GCSE with four passes (in four separate subjects) including maths or another numeracy subject and English language, with three at ‘A’ level.
c) The National Certificate or Diploma awarded by any Board of BTEC or equivalent NVQ/GNVQ.
d) The Higher National Diploma or Certificate awarded by any Board of BTEC or equivalent NVQ/GNVQ.
e) London Chamber of Commerce (LCCI): three Higher Stage Certificates and two Intermediate Stage Certificates (or equivalent, e.g. GCSE); (five distinct and separate subjects in all, including English language and maths).
f) LCCI Higher Stage Group Diploma and two LCCI Intermediate Stage Certificates (or equivalent); (five distinct and separate subjects, including English language and maths).
g) Royal Society of Arts Group Certificate in commercial subjects: three Stage III (Advanced) and two Stage II (Intermediate) subjects (or equivalents, e.g. GCSE, grade A-C; five distinct and separate subjects, including English language and maths).
Examinations in Ireland as follows:
(a) Irish Leaving Certificate: three Higher (grade C or above) and two Lower grade passes in five distinct and separate subjects including English language and maths.
(b) NCEA National Certificate or National Diploma in Business Studies.
Examinations held overseas as follows: candidates must obtain two Advanced/Principal and three Ordinary/Subsidiary levels in five distinct and separate subjects including English language and maths or other approved numeracy subject, e.g. statistics, accounting or commercial maths; O level passes must be grade C or above; or three Advanced/Principal and one O/Subsidiary level (four distinct and separate subjects).
a) Cambridge Overseas GCE.
b) Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate: grade 1 and 2 passes at General Proficiency level only accepted instead of O level.
c) Two GCE A levels plus the Apolytirion.
d) East African Advanced Certificate of Education.
e) Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education
f) Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.
g) West African Higher School Certificate.
h) University of Hong Kong Matriculation Examination.
i) Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM): two passes of at least grade E in the STPM, plus three passes of at least grade 6 in the Syil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM); subjects must include English and mathematics.
The Association may accept alternative qualifications at its discretion, and mature students with suitable experience who do not have the necessary academic qualifications may be admitted on special application to the Association through the Mature Student Entry Route (MSER). Mature students who pass the two exam papers on Accounting and Cost and Management Accounting can be transferred on to the main student register. There are special regulations which apply to them until then.
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
All candidates for registration must show evidence of a qualification in English language at least equivalent to grade C at GCSE. The minimum entry requirements are the same as those for university entry in the UK.
1. The degree of an approved university or the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA).
2. The GCSE of any of the examining bodies in England and Wales, provided the applicant has obtained at least five passes, including at least two at A level Passes must be obtained in maths and English language.
3. The Scottish Certificate of Education, provided the applicant has obtained at least five passes, including three at Higher grade. Passes must be obtained in maths and English.
4. The Leaving Certificate of the Department of Education of the Republic of Ireland with a minimum of five subject passes, at least three of which should be at Higher level. Passes must be obtained in maths and English.
5. BTEC National Certificate or Diploma or equivalent NVQ/ GNVQ.
6. BTEC Higher National Certificate or Diploma.
7. SCOTVEC National Certificate or Diploma.
8. SCOTVEC Higher National Certificate or Diploma.
9. Any other accepted qualification of appropriate standard.
Candidates will not be accepted without one of these educational qualifications.
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
Although most students have a degree from a university or a CNAA degree, other qualifications are accepted as a minimum standard for entry. These are listed below:
a. GCSE with passes in a minimum of five subjects, two of which must be at A level GCSE passes must be grade C or better. Craft subjects are not acceptable. Passes must include English and maths.
b. SCE with passes in five subjects including three at the Higher grade. Craft subjects are not acceptable. The five subjects must include English language and maths.
c. Northern Ireland GCSE with passes in five subjects, two at A level. Craft subjects are not acceptable. The five passes must include English language and maths.
d. The Republic of Ireland certificates recognised as equivalent to the UK GCSEs at the appropriate levels.
e. BTEC National Certificate in Business and Finance.
f. BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance.
g. SCOTVEC HNC in Accounting.
h. SCOTVEC HND in Accounting.
i. GNVQ Business and Finance.
j. NVQ Accounting.
k. Other equivalent qualifications at the discretion of CIPFA
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
The basic requirements for entry to a foundation course are three GCE A Levels at grade A or B, and grade A or B in GCSE English and Maths. An Advanced GNVQ plus at least three GCSEs or at least three Scottish Highers and three Ordinary grades or at least six Irish School-Leaving Certificate passes between grade A and B3 are acceptable. The Institute recommends that you have at least 18 UCAS points or an Advanced GNVQ with Distinction. AAT passes at Technician Level are also considered. Students who have passed some of the early stages of other accountancy qualifications may be accepted for training contracts.
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
Those eligible include: people with a degree from a recognised institution; people over 25 with appropriate practical experience, who do not have the required academic qualification (in special cases); and people who can produce evidence of success at the required standard in the prescribed exams will be considered. There are two ways of fulfilling these requirements: Approach A and Approach B (see below), but it is expected that Approach B will be the exception rather than the rule. Candidates offering Approach B will be required to take an aptitude test arranged by the Institute’s Education Department.
Leaving Certificate of the Department of Education in the Republic of Ireland: The student must obtain passes in at least six subjects with grades not lower than grade D whether the subjects are taken at Ordinary level or Higher level The subjects must include:
I. Grade C or better in at least three subjects taken at Higher level;
II. English and maths at grades not lower than grade C (Ordinary level) or grade D (Higher level); and
III. A total of 360 points calculated according to Leaving Certificate grades in maths and English, and the candidate’s four best subjects.
Council to be of the same standard as those for the Northern Ireland General Certificate of Education.
The student must obtain results in at least six subjects at grades not lower than grade C for a subject taken at GCSE level or grade D for a subject taken at Advanced level; these must include:
I. Not less than 30 points on papers taken at Advanced level on the basis of the following scale:
II. ‘A’ grade in maths not lower than grade D (Advanced level) or a grade in maths or additional maths not lower than grade B (GCSE level).
III. ‘A’ grade in English language, not lower than grade B (GCSE level).
Note: In lieu of the requirements in English language, a pass in English literature at Advanced level will be accepted, as will a pass in the examination Use of English conducted by a recognised examining body in the United Kingdom.
Leaving Certificate of the Department of Education in the Republic of Ireland: The student must obtain passes in at least six subjects with grades not lower than grade D whether the subjects are taken at Ordinary level or Higher level, based on one sitting only. The subjects must include:
I. Grade C or better in at least three subjects taken at Higher level;
II. English and maths at grades not lower than grade C (Ordinary level) or grade D (Higher level); and
III. A total of 320 points calculated according to Leaving Certificate grades in maths and English, and the candidate’s best four subjects. An aptitude test.
Northern Ireland General Certificate of Education or General Certificate of Education: Examinations conducted by a recognised examining body in the United Kingdom, deemed by the Council to be of the same standard as those for the Northern Ireland General Certificate of Education.
The student must obtain results in at least six subjects at grades not lower than grade C for a subject taken at GCSE, or grade D for a subject taken at Advanced level; these must include:
If you want to improve your academic qualifications before embarking on accountancy training, although it is some time since you left school, most colleges will give you special consideration, even if you do not have the required entry qualifications. Write to the college in which you are interested, setting out your experience, interests and any qualifications you may have. You will probably have to submit to a searching interview, and may be asked to take an aptitude test or perhaps a course of preliminary study to prepare you for the return to full-time education, but most colleges will give your problems sympathetic consideration.