Many students ask us about passing their ACCA exams and their impact on their career prospects. Do ACCA marks really matter to employers?
The most common question we get asked is:
Does the employer care if I had to resit or got low marks in my ACCA exams?
The simple answer is no!
The main thing when it comes to ACCA exams is that you persevere despite failing or getting low marks.
What really matters to employers is that you achieved your end goal: to become an ACCA affiliate.
ACCA Career Prospects
Job openings rarely (if ever) ask for good grades on ACCA exams, whereas plenty discriminates between having a qualification or not.
According to our Head of Education, Alan Lynch:
“In my previous role as a CFO, I interviewed many candidates for jobs, and the qualification is what’s important; the pathway of how people got there isn’t.”
What you need to remember is that professional qualifications like ACCA are difficult. That’s why so many employers look for an ACCA qualification from the outset when it comes to hiring.
What about passing ACCA the first time around?
For those students who pass the first time, it’s definitely worthwhile putting it on their CV because it is a great achievement. But, by not putting it in, an employer won’t miss it.
While it does sound good to be able to say you passed everything the first time, it’s a long process, and lots of people will fail an exam or two along the way, and this won’t hold you back later.
The key is to keep going and try not to lose momentum or consider giving up. Employers will like to see that you stuck with it and got through the exams without taking an extended break over a few years.
Knowledge and experience count
An ACCA qualification provides the fundamental building blocks to a career in the accounting profession.
However, as a working accountant expected to, for example, prepare a set of IFRS financial statements, you will need more than exams to accomplish the task.
While ACCA exam results are important, what you do with their knowledge and experience is key. Employers are looking for knowledge application and communication ability within their business.
Ultimately ACCA is a badge of accomplishment. All that matters is you have it.
What does your ACCA tell employers?
By sticking with your ACCA qualification and continuing despite setbacks, you’re showing several vital skills that are highly desired in the workplace:
- Dealing with pressure
- Time management
- Willingness to learn
- Ability to apply your knowledge
After all, you are undertaking a 3-year program that needs to be juggled with work and personal commitments in most circumstances.
What can you do to impress an employer?
Whether you’re looking to impress a current or future employer, studying or completing your ACCA exams is excellent for showing value.
In tandem, you should look to promote other qualities and skills to bolster yourself in the interview.
For example, commercial awareness is an essential attribute for a Finance Director, which means that trainees should show interest in an organisation’s operational activities early on while keeping a close eye on the numbers.
Also, ensure to use real-life examples that showcase your competencies and skills. Practice telling a story that will incorporate tangible benefits that your work delivered, e.g. cost savings, company growth etc.
Becoming an ACCA affiliate can be a difficult journey, but there are huge benefits to your career once you achieve it.
Just remember, it’s not about acing every exam. Demonstrating perseverance and the ability to get to your end goal will really matter to an employer.