If you're looking for exams that are a) comparatively easy to pass, that b) will get you a job in banking and finance and that c) will enable you to earn £100k+ quite quickly, it seems there's one particular qualification you should be pursuing: the ACA qualifications from the UK's ICAEW. 2019 pass rates are out today, and they're impressively high.
Overall, the 8,000 students sitting the ACA's Advanced Level exams to become fully qualified chartered accountants this summer achieved a pass rate of nearly 70% in all three papers when they sat them together. When each paper (strategic business management, corporate reporting and a case study) was taken individually, pass rates were higher still - at 83.9% for strategic business management, 79.6% for corporate reporting, and 76.7% for the case study.
The Advanced Level Exams represent the highest level of the ACA qualification to become a chartered accountant. Students take the exams while they're working. Some of the highest grades were achieved by students currently employed at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
The extravagant pass rates are, needless to say, very different to the pass rates achieved by students of the CFA exams. As we reported last month, only 41% of people taking CFA Level I in June 2019 achieved a pass, a five year low.
As with the CFA exams, the ACA qualifcations are typically taken while students are working. However, while the CFA exams are usually students' personal endeavour, the Big Four accountancy firms support employees in passing ACA qualifications.
Students with ACA passes can either work for the Big Four as auditors, or move into banking and industry. According to the most recent salary survey from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, newly qualified accountants in London typically earn an average salary of £55k in banking. This rises to £90k+ when they become a vice president after a few years, and to well over £100k if they reach director-level (which isn't that hard as banks have plenty of directors).
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