For people who enjoy calculations, becoming an accountant will most likely be easy, given that you understand all the rules. You need to know, however, that becoming an accountant requires time.

In Nigeria, it is necessary to have attended primary and secondary school and to have an accounting degree in a university before setting out to train for a certificate. Although not all institutes require a university degree in accounting, in the long run, it saves time. Having a polytechnic or university accounting degree will make understanding easier. Also, your college degree will help exempt you from some exams. In some cases, it will help you skip certain courses.

The advancement of technology is also helping prospective accountants train better. The presence of accounting software has made regular bookkeeping tasks like tracking payments, costs, issuing invoices amongst others easier. Technically an accountant can spend less time focusing on numbers and more effective time on analyzing company performance. As well, they have enough time to create and implement strategies that will efficiently help grow a company financially.

In Nigeria, choosing accountancy means that you're completely ready for the dedication it requires. One of your first steps is to decide the kind of accountant you will like to be. Some of these include cost accountant, forensic accountant, financial accountant, government accountant, auditor, tax accountant, and management accountant. Each of these fields of accounting has its speciality. The accounting skills you will like to acquire is dependent on your interest.

After successfully choosing what your niche would be, your future training will surround it. Let's take a look at how long it will be to bag a certified accounting degree.

Learn how much you'll be earning as an accountant

accountant career path
Choosing an accountancy career path yields a rewarding experience. Source: Freepik - @senivpetro

Taking the ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria) courses

The ICAN has been training accountants for more than half a century. Established in 1965, the academy has over the years, gained professional and international recognition as one of the top go-to schools for accounting.

The institute offers two types of exams. The first is the professional exams while the second is the Accounting Technician Scheme (ATS).

If you have a university or polytechnic degree, you're eligible to register as a professional student. The professional student approved certificates include the following:

  • The final examination for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
  • The final exams for the Corporation of Secretaries.
  • The final examination for the Association of International Accountants.
  • Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
  • Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
  • Association of Accounting Technicians, U.K.
  • Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN).
  • The final examination of the Accounting Technicians Scheme, West Africa (ATSWA).
  • The Executive Management Accountancy (Federal Treasury Training School, Stage III)

Both the professional exam and the ATS is broken into three stages. The professional exam consists of intermediate, P.E1, and P.E 2 stages while the Accounting Technician Scheme includes ATS 1, 2, and 3.

For people who do not have a university or polytechnic degree, you are eligible to register as an Accounting Technicians Scheme (ATSWA) student. The ICAN exam is usually held twice a year in March and September.

For people with an ordinary level, it takes a minimum of 15 months to complete all three stages. While those with a higher certificate lower than a university/polytechnic degree require 6-12 months to complete all three levels. In the case where you already have an accounting degree, you will be exempted from ATS 1 and 2.

Taking the ACCA ( Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) courses

The ACCA is an international body that was found in 1904. Examinations are usually held every year in March, June, September, and December. You are expected to pass all 14 exams before getting a certificate. At each sitting, you can attempt four papers. The duration to finish all of your exams is ten years.

To qualify for the ACCA institute, you must have a university or polytechnic degree. If you have a degree in accounting, you will be exempted from 4 examinations. Graduates in ACCA-accredited institutions and ICAN ACCA graduates are exempted from 9 exams.

If you do not have the minimum qualification (HND, ND, B TECH, OND or B.SC or any equivalent criterion), you will need to go through the Foundations in Accountancy courses. You're expected to complete the Diploma in Accounting and Business which are three exams. They are:

  • Accountant in Business (FAB)
  • Management Accounting (FMA)
  • Financial Accounting (FFA).

After graduation, you can apply for transfer over to the ACCA qualification. You will be excluded from F1, F2, and F3 and you can start writing your F4 Corporate and Business Law exams.

Accounting professional
Accounting courses duration varies. From a year of certification to ten years of certification. Source: Freepik - @senivpetro

Taking the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) courses

CIMA or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is an international school of business. This professional body of management accountants was found in 1919 to help establish management accounting as a globally respected profession.

If you would like to take accounting degree programs at the CIMA, you need to pass all 12 examinations in 4 years. You are expected to work for three years to validate the certification.

As stated earlier, taking an accounting course requires patience. One of the benefits of getting this certificate is that it gives you an edge over others in the business. You get a higher advantage when it comes to attaining senior positions in government agencies or private companies. Technically, your payroll increases a well.

Although CIMA offers different levels of qualifications, they revolve around four main subjects which are: People Skills, Leadership Skills, Business Skills, and Technical Skills.

You should gain enough work experience before going for this business and accounting degree. Apart from the fact that it is part of the CIMA requirements, it increases your level of understanding. Gaining experience will also help with better negotiations and give you access to working at higher positions.

Keep in mind as well, that in Nigeria, federal income received from getting accounting degrees is a lot higher than private income.

different accounting professions
The accounting profession varies. However, specific professions are in higher demand than others. Source: Freepik - @katemangostar

Taking the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) courses

Taking accounting practice at the Association of Accounting Technicians usually requires a maximum of 12 months to complete for some courses. If you're interested in boosting your CV or starting an entry-level accounting, this is the right institute to go to. This is simply because getting this accounting certificate gives you practical and internationally recognized accounting qualifications.

An added advantage is the fact that you do not need work experience or previous qualifications to apply. Technically, a school certificate holder can apply.

This accounting degree program is very respected in the field of accounting. The duration for getting qualification varies; some may just require one or two years while others would demand that you work first before applying.

The AAT qualifications are divided into four categories:

  • The Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business
  • The Professional Diploma in Accounting
  • The Foundation Certificate in Accounting
  • The Advanced Diploma in Accounting

The Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business is for ages 16 to 19 years old. This particular undergraduate degree takes about 6-12 months to complete. Participants will be offered the same teachings as the Foundation Certificate in Accounting as well as business communication skills.

The Professional Diploma in Accounting is the highest professional degree under the AAT. You will be trained for 18 months before getting your certificate.

The classes include high accounting specialization. Some of these include company financial performance evaluation and budget management. Additionally, you will be learning how to handle treasury and cash flow. After you get this certificate, applying for professional examinations will be easier. You also get exempted from certain professional examinations.

Furthermore, you qualify to enter for B.Sc. or HND programs in a university or Polytechnic. You can even be granted a 200 level direct entry access to major in accounting in some educational institutions in Nigeria.

The Foundation Certificate in Accounting is usually a 4- 12-month qualification that prepares you for an entry-level accountant position. During your accounting classes, you will be taught the basic accounting principles. Additionally, you will perfect the use of accounting software.

The Advanced Diploma in Accounting is focused on extensive accounting courses like final accounts, ethical practices, and bookkeeping. You can get your certificate in about 6 to 12 months of training.

The journey to becoming professional accountants can be quite interesting but overwhelming. It is best to note, having an eye for calculations and organization is a great advantage. While this is not all-encompassing, it is a great start to beginning an accountancy career.

Being able to comprehend the principles of accounting as well will boost your accounting practices. If you would like to get a tutor for a particular specialization, you can reach out to us. You're assured of 100 percent results.

Also, you can get a specific degree online. It is advisable, however, that you find yourself around like groups. This will help increase your level of understanding and keep you on the loop of information and updates about the accounting world.

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