COMING TO THE UK
to ACCA UK. We are one of ACCA’s largest national offices with
over 80 staff working with UK-based students, affiliates and
members, as well as a wide range of other stakeholders including
tuition providers and employers.
The UK is a diverse, vibrant place to live, study and work and is
rich in history and culture. We wish you a fantastic experience
whilst you are here and look forward to supporting you
throughout your international ACCA career.
Wyn Mears, Director, ACCA UK
COmING TO ThE UK ChECKlIsT 6
ENTERING ThE UK 7
lIvING IN ThE UK 8
ACCA TUITION 9
UK EmplOymENT mARKET 11
ACCA UK sERvICEs 14
lEAvING ThE UK ChECKlIsT 16
RECOmmENDED READING AND 17
ORIENTATION GUIDE CONTENTS 3
Every effort has been
made to ensure that the
information in this document
is accurate and up to date
at the time of publication.
ACCA accepts no liability
for inconvenience or loss
caused by the publication of
any out of date or inaccurate
information, November 2009.
There are over 75,000 ACCA students and affiliates and nearly
60,000 ACCA members currently in the UK. ACCA has statutory
recognition and is the fastest growing professional accountancy
body in the country.
We work with a large network of learning providers who offer ACCA
tuition through a variety of methods in locations all over the UK.
Many British ACCA students work full-time and study on a part-
time basis. However full-time tuition is possible and there is a large
international student community.
ACCA members and students work in organisations of all sizes, in
all sectors of employment from private companies to government
departments. Almost 7,500 organisations hold ACCA Approved
ACCA UK is engaged in a number of initiatives to support students
and members in the UK, as well as working closely with both
business and government. We offer a range of events nationwide,
and also operate ACCA offices for Wales and Scotland that work
specifically with and for members and students in those areas.
Information specifically for students and members in the UK can be
found on the UK website – www.accaglobal.com/uk
If you have any queries concerning ACCA, please contact our global
customer service centre:
2 Central Quay
89 Hydepark Street
Glasgow G3 8BW
Tel: +44 (0)141 582 2000
Fax: +44 (0)141 582 2222
ORIENTATION GUIDE INTRODUCTION 5
þ COmING TO ThE UK
BEfORE yOU ARRIvE:
þ any necessary visaspermit requirementsthe UK you have
or permits to enter
þ banking, accommodation, transport,the UK – inand other
research information about living in
þ research tuition options and find a learning provider
þ secure a job before you leave. if applicable not place students
research the UK job market –
or members into employment. It is the responsibility of the
individual student or member to find appropriate work).
WhEN yOU ARRIvE:
þ detailsACCA of your change of Connect (and employment
if applicable) via ACCA
or myACCA on the
þ set up all essential living necessities – bank account etc
þ activities places tothe most of your UK experience
visit, cultural differences, possible
þ find work or work experience (if applicable)
consider opportunities to improve your skills / gain additional
þ events. of ACCA UK activities, publications, societies and
ENTERING ThE UK
STUDyING IN ThE UK • make your arrangements for travel to the UK. Please ensure
that you have your learning provider’s acceptance letter with
There has been significant changes to the UK visa requirements
you. UK immigration may require confirmation of this when
and it is important that you familiarise yourself with visa
you arrive in the UK.
requirements rules before travelling to the UK to study. You will
need to know whether you require a student visa and, if so, how to ACCA UK is not involved in any aspect of administering or issuing
apply for one. For more information visit www.bia.homeoffice.gov. Student Visas. This is managed by the Home Office Border &
uk/studyingintheuk Immigration Agency.
Below is a list of important points to remember when planning to For further information and guidance on UK visa requirements and
study in the UK: application procedures please visit
• firstly ensure that the tuition provider you are considering
for your ACCA study is a licensed provider. See http://
WORKING IN ThE UK
students/approved-education-provider/ for further details
The Home Office Border & Immigration Agency website has clear
• if you are not yet an ACCA student, ensure you register with
information about the various routes open to non-UK nationals who
ACCA directly (your learning provider can’t do this for you)
want to work in the UK.
• complete an enrolment form for your chosen ACCA learning
The UK Government wishes to manage legal migration in the
provider (see page 9). Enrolment forms should be available to
interests of the UK economy, and there are opportunities for
download on their website. In order to satisfy current student
people with different types and levels of skills. However, in some
visa requirements you need to complete 15 hours per week
instances, it is not you but your employer who has to obtain the
of formal tuition
correct work permit for you.
• receive your acceptance pack from your learning provider.
ACCA UK is aware that some students find it very difficult to
The pack should contain relevant information about fees and
find employers willing or able to obtain work permits for them
entering the UK on a student visa
for training purposes. The UK job market is very competitive and
• to apply for a student visa, you must have a valid passport employers can often easily source candidates for training positions
and meet the British immigration requirements. Once you from EU (European Union) states who do not require work permits.
receive your acceptance letter from your learning provider, Many ACCA students who require work permits utilise the hours they
you should request an interview for application for a are permitted to work on a student visa and then return to their home
student visa with the local British Embassy or British High countries on completion of UK studies to obtain the remaining relevant
Commission. You must also have evidence of sufficient work experience required for ACCA membership. If they wish to
funds to pay your fees and living costs. At your interview you return to the UK to work, many will do this post membership.
will have to demonstrate that you have sufficient command of
ACCA does not place students or members into employment. It
the English language
is the responsibility of the individual student or member to find
• arrange your accommodation. The authorities may not grant appropriate work.
you a student visa without written confirmation of proof of
For full information on UK work permits please visit
address whilst you are studying in the UK
ORIENTATION GUIDE ENTERING THE UK 7
lIvING IN ThE UK
OvERvIEW ENGLISh LANGUAGE LEARNING
Arriving and settling in a foreign country can be challenging and it For many students, one of the advantages of studying in the UK
may take time to adapt to your new environment. However, whilst is the opportunity to improve their English in an English-speaking
living in the UK you will come across many opportunities for new country. As well as many opportunities to practice English in
experiences and many organisations to help support you. everyday situations, many students also like to take additional
English language classes.
Education UK, part of the British Council, has produced a
comprehensive guide to arriving and living in the UK. It includes ACCA has partnered Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of
information on arranging visas and accommodation, working in the Other Languages) – part of the world-renowned University of
UK, financial and legal matters, culture, food and health care. Cambridge.
To access this guide on the internet go to Together, our organisations have developed Cambridge ICFE
www.educationuk.org/downloads/study_live_uk.pdf (International Certificate in Financial English). Cambridge ICFE is
an ideal qualification for anyone thinking of, or already pursuing, a
career in accountancy or finance. By focussing on accounting and
finance vocabulary and practical business situations, it will help
you to participate in meetings and discussions of a financial nature
and to express opinions clearly. It will also help with understanding
financial documents including statements, journal articles, letters,
reports and proposals – helping you to improve your performance
in the classroom and in exams. Studying for Cambridge ICFE will
help you improve your language skills and enable you to use them
in a wide range of accounting and financial contexts. For more
information, including a list of tuition providers and exams centres,
Not yet ready to take Cambridge ICFE? Then why not take
Cambridge ESOL BEC (Business English Certificate) Preliminary?
It’s an ideal qualification if you want to improve your business
English language skills and demonstrate your commitment to a
career in finance. For more information visit www.cambridgeesol.org
8 LIVING IN THE UK
If you are planning to study towards the ACCA Qualification in the UK TUITION PROvIDERS
UK then you must ensure that you enrol with a tuition provider and
It is important that you make the right decisions
obtain the correct visas.
when preparing for your exams. ACCA courses
Before you enrol with a tuition provider it is important that you are taught by over 280 learning providers
register as a student with ACCA. This will mean that (if applicable) throughout the UK, so it can be
you have the correct exemption information to pass onto the tuition difficult to select the one
provider to ensure you study towards the right papers. that is right for you.
You will not be able to enter for any ACCA exams unless you
recommends that you
are a registered ACCA student. If you intend to enter for ACCA’s
opt for a provider that
June exam sitting you must register as an ACCA student by 31
is registered under
December. If you intend to enter for the December exam sitting you
must register as an ACCA student by 15 August.
Learning Partners (ALP)
It is your responsibility to enter for exams with ACCA. As a scheme, as you can be sure that
registered student, if you intend to sit paper-based exams, the they:
exam entry deadlines are 15 April for June Exams and 15 October • are monitored by ACCA
for December Exams. • meet the minimum quality criteria
• receive up-to-date information regarding ACCA
Computer-based exams (CBEs) are available for certain papers
• will be subject to an investigation in the event of any student
in the CAT and ACCA qualifications. CBEs offer flexibility as they
can be sat at any time and do not restrict you to the June and
December sittings. However, you will not be able to sit CBEs Gold Approved Learning Partners have to demonstrate to ACCA that
unless you are a registered student with ACCA. Visit http://www. they meet certain performance targets around the way they manage
accaglobal.com/students/exams/cbes/ for full details of CBEs and their institution – such as the provision of comfortable premises and
how they operate. adequate facilities, carefully monitored attendance and retention, and
financial viability – and the way they manage and deliver their ACCA
courses – such as having a knowledgeable and experienced teaching
team, a structured teaching programme and providing students with
advice on study options and tutorial support.
Platinum Approved Learning Partners, in addition to meeting the
Gold performance targets, have to provide evidence of continual
improvement and innovation, and must consistently meet exam
results targets, set by meeting or exceeding ACCA’s worldwide
ORIENTATION GUIDE ACCA TUITION 9
ACCA TUITION CONTINUED
You can access an up-to-date list of UK tuition providers on
the ACCA website: http://www.accaglobal.com/students/study/
search. This list includes details of ALPs as well as other institutions
teaching towards ACCA exams, but who are not part of ACCA’s ALP
Costs for tuition vary depending on the method of study and
individual learning provider. Payment for tuition takes place directly
between you and your learning provider. ACCA only controls costs
and payment for sitting exams.
vARIANT PAPERS (LAW AND TAX)
To support the international breadth of ACCA’s membership, we
offer students the opportunity to take law and tax papers that
reflect the law and tax systems of several countries. However
please note that if you are studying ACCA papers for law or tax
in the UK, it is highly unlikely that UK tuition providers will offer
courses for these papers in anything other than the UK variant.
While it is permissible to sit any available law or tax variant exam in
the UK, you will need to consider how you will study for a non-UK
law or tax variant paper in the UK.
ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING PAPERS
You have the choice of answering exam papers in accordance
with either UK accounting standards or international accounting
standards. It is possible to find tuition for either type in the UK.
However, you are advised to consider the country in which you are
planning to work when you decide which accounting standards to
undertake. UK standards will not be applicable in most countries
outside the UK.
We have 45 exam centres located throughout the UK. Most major
UK cities will have at least one exam centre. Please visit http://
www.accaglobal.com/students/exams/centres/ to see where exam
centres are located.
10 ACCA TUITION continued
ACCOUNTANCy MARKET OvERvIEW
The current economic climate has significantly impacted the UK
* This section has been produced employment market. Jobs are no longer the fluid commodity that
by GAAPweb, the UK’s leading
jobsite for accountancy and they were a year ago; instead there is increased competition across
finance professionals – www. a number of sectors.
gaapweb.com. We would like to
thank them for their support Despite this, there is still a demand for highly capable accounting
and finance professionals. Due to the nature of the accountancy
market this demand can fluctuate, so it’s important to keep an eye
on different types of opportunities.
For example, there has been an increase over the past year
in demand for interim and contract accountancy and finance
professionals, to help companies manage change in difficult times.
Rates of pay for interim work can be competitive with permanent
roles, often paying even more pro rata. It’s a great option for people
between roles or looking to get into a different sector.
Of course, there are still other opportunities out there – some of
them permanent positions. The permanent employment market
is usually boosted by budgets in the new financial year (from 6th
April onwards), whereas the temporary employment market is at its
peak towards the end of the financial year.
With the economic outlook showing very early signs of recovery, it’s
important to stay flexible and consider every opportunity.
There are certain industries that have remained largely immune
to the effects of the UK’s economic recession, including oil, gas
and utilities. The corporates within these industries are still hiring
at a steady rate. Other companies are moving towards hiring
contractors in order to reduce employee headcount and liability.
In general, corporates are looking for specific skills in IFRS, UK
GAAP, consolidations, management accounting and financial
accounting. The current market has also prompted a high demand
for strong credit controllers.
ORIENTATION GUIDE UK EMPLOYMENT MARKET 11
Banking and financial Services fINDING A JOB IN ThE UK
Widely publicised as the cause of the credit crunch, Types of vacancy
the banking and financial services sector has been hit There are two main types of vacancy in the UK: permanent
significantly by its aftershock. Although the summer months and temporary. Previously permanent jobs were thought
have traditionally sparked the most movement in the to be more stable, as they offered long-term benefits and
financial services temporary sector, this year has seen a security, but in today’s market, things are less certain.
At the moment, permanent jobs are proving harder to come
There have been some early signs of recovery. A recent by, and so many people are turning towards temporary
report suggested that the employment market in London jobs for a short-term financial fix. Temporary contracts are
was up 20% from the previous month in mid-2009. In sometimes referred to as interim roles or contract work.
general, there is more competition for jobs in London,
but people working there are more optimistic about their Standard UK office hours for full-time positions are
sector’s recovery than the rest of the UK. 9.00am to 5.30pm, whereas part-time employees work a
much shorter week – usually two to three days or another
Practice sector combination of reduced hours.
Finding a role within the practice sector can be very The importance of work/life balance has led to a rise in the
competitive, but at the moment there is a strong demand popularity of flexi-time, where employees can choose their
for quality candidates with good experience in audit, tax start and finish times, as long as they work the required
and advisory services. quota of hours per week.
Gaining experience at a top firm can be valuable, but there Where to find vacancies
are many small-to-medium firms that offer the opportunity to
It’s possible to access UK accounting and finance vacancies
undertake a wider variety of work for clients.
before arrival in the UK, and the easiest way to do this is
In general the practice sector is strong, although there are online, via jobsites.
high levels of competition for too few positions. Jobsites can be split into two categories: generalist
Public and not-for-profit sector and specialist. Generalist sites attract a high number of
jobseekers, and competition can be fierce. Specialist jobsites
In the current climate, the public and not-for-profit sector are particularly useful for those in a particular industry or
has come to be regarded as a good, solid, ‘recession-proof’ sector. GAAPweb.com is an example of an industry-specific
sector. Consequently, many more accounting and finance specialist jobsite. These sites make it easy to see the
professionals are switching over from the private sector. number of jobs available with the salary, location and full job
The complex political and legal structure of the sector, along specification in one place.
with its many regulatory issues and red tape, has proved Increasingly, online networking sites such as LinkedIn and
to be a deterrent to jobseekers in the past. In addition, Facebook are being used to find jobs. Groups, forums, contacts
specialist knowledge is often required, involving either previous and recommendations act as online word-of-mouth tools, and
experience or further study. can provide useful access to accountancy and finance jobs that
Increasingly, NHS hospitals are becoming foundation trusts, otherwise would not have been advertised in UK newspapers,
resulting in a higher demand for commercial accountants. trade journals or through recruitment consultants.
12 UK EMPLOYMENT MARKET
how to apply What are the major challenges faced by international candidates?
To apply for any UK-based job, it’s always necessary to submit a There needn’t be any real obstacles facing international candidates,
CV with a cover letter. In addition, larger organisations often require providing candidates put in the required research and preparation.
the completion of an application form.
Clearly, UK technical experience isn’t going to match exactly
In order to write an interview-winning cover letter, CV or application experience acquired in other countries, which is why it’s important
form, GAAPweb.com recommend the following: to emphasise transferrable technical skills. UK employers will be
open to accepting similar skills, qualifications or experience, so
• Make sure you align your CV to UK conventions. This
research the corresponding UK equivalent.
includes keeping it to a maximum of two pages and preparing
your references separately (don’t include them on your CV). UK salaries vary depending on a number of factors, including
Organise professional and character references before you location, sector and job title. They are also likely to vary from
leave your home country. international salaries, so it’s essential to be realistic about salary
expectations before relocating to the UK.
• Photos, salary details and peculiar fonts on application
documents are not common practice in the UK.
• Tailor your CV, cover letter and application form to match the EMPLOyER EXPECTATIONS
company you are applying for.
Expectations, contracts and entitlements
• Emphasise any accountancy and finance experience you’ve
UK employers will generally expect the following from international
acquired in your home country. Bear in mind that UK
employers might not be familiar with overseas companies,
qualifications or processes, so go into more detail if necessary. • an excellent grasp of written and spoken English
• Demonstrate your value to a company by quantifying your • a broad knowledge of the accountancy and finance sector,
experience. Don’t just say that you achieved something, talk both in the UK and abroad
about the difference you made to a company by producing real
• a period of work experience to match the amount of time
spent studying for the ACCA qualification.
• When you email your cover letter with your CV, make sure you
attach both documents separately. Or, if you’d prefer, you can
write your cover letter in the body of the email. In addition, being able to converse in another language is always
seen as an asset in any job application. Employers will, in general,
• Double check spelling and grammar, particularly if English isn’t
expect the same standard of numeric ability, problem-solving
your first language. Get someone with a good grasp of English
and ACCA-related skills from all applicants, whether UK-based or
to read over your application.
• If you include phone numbers, be sure to include the relevant
Most employment contracts are standardised to comply with UK
international dialling code for your home country.
legislation including holiday and pension entitlements, notice and
probationary periods, sick leave and redundancy rights.
ORIENTATION GUIDE UK EMPLOYMENT MARKET 13
ACCA UK sERvICEs
INTRODUCTION UK STUDENT SUPPORT SERvICES AND EvENTS
ACCA UK is one of ACCA’s largest national offices with over 80 In addition to global resources such as student accountant
staff working with and supporting UK-based ACCA students, magazine and resources found on the student section of www.
affiliates and members. We operate from offices in London, York, accaglobal.com, we provide a number of UK-specific services.
Glasgow and Birmingham. Additionally we have separate national
• For students who are planning to sit exams, we put together
offices for Wales and Scotland – ACCA Wales based in Cardiff
a listing of study support events taking place from the end
and ACCA Scotland based in Edinburgh. Our colleagues in ACCA
of February to the end of April (for June exams) and from
Ireland support students in both Northern Ireland and the Republic
the end of September to the end of October (for December
exams). All the events are available from Approved Learning
Partner (ALP) tuition providers across the UK and include
topics such as study skills, memory techniques and exam
UK PUBLICATIONS AND WEBSITES
techniques and events specific to certain ACCA papers and
The ACCA UK website accaglobal.com/uk contains information subject areas. We also provide details of revision courses run
directly relevant to students, affiliates and members in the UK. It by Approved Learning Providers for each examination sitting.
contains information from all ACCA UK departments and advises
• Details of learning provider open days can be found on the
on the latest UK events, research, resources and hot topics.
ACCA UK website.
Websites also exist for ACCA Wales at wales.accaglobal.com,
• ACCA UK holds a twice-yearly series of presentations on
and ACCA Scotland at scotland.accaglobal.com and contain
ACCA’s Practical Experience Requirement (PER) which focus
information for students, affiliates and members living and working
on how to record experience and claim performance objectives
in these countries.
on the Trainee Development Matrix (TDM).
Employment sector-specific publications are also produced for
• We also produce a UK-specific e-bulletin published at key
members in the public practice and health sectors:
points in the student year.
• To view our In Practice Online e-newsletter click here, or to
• ACCA UK and NUS (National Union of Students) have been
subscribe email email@example.com.
working together so that ACCA students can apply for the
• For more information on Health Service Review click here. NUS extra card, which gives cardholders access to products
and services from a variety of companies. The NUS represents
These are distributed directly to ACCA members working in these
over seven million students across the UK, providing excellent
sectors in the UK. Other member publications can be downloaded
benefits and helpful research and information. The NUS
website offers students a range of facilities, including
information on NUS campaigns, education news, and advice
on issues relating to housing, education and health care.
14 ACCA UK SERVICES
• ACCA has developed a series of podcasts which focus on
commercial awareness and how they can be translated across
different sectors. The podcasts were produced to enable
undergraduates to develop their commercial knowledge and
then use that knowledge when applying for employment. Click
here for more information.
• ACCA students can benefit from the Financial Times Education
programme, saving you up to 65% off a subscription to both
the Financial Times newspaper and FT.com. The Financial
Times is a useful resource for ACCA students, providing you
with a broad-based, in-depth knowledge of business and
industry. It covers global investing and international capital
market activity in full, and provides an exhaustive summary
of currencies worldwide, commodities and world stock
markets. It is also the leading newspaper for UK company
news and offers definitive coverage of the world’s biggest
To subscribe to the FT and FT.com with your 65% ACCA
student discount, email fte.subs@ft/com or call 0845
602 3176 and quote ‘education association’. Details of
UK support services and events can be found at http://
KEEP IN CONTACT
If you move to the UK it is crucial that you remember to update
your address details through the myACCA section of the website.
Once we know you are in the UK, we will automatically notify you
of UK-related events, publications and initiatives.
ORIENTATION GUIDE ACCA UK SERVICES 15
þ lEAvING ThE UK
ChECKlIsTBEfORE yOU LEAvE:
þ tuition provider (or and references from your UK employer or
get contact details
introductions to others in your home
country if possible) – contacts can often create opportunities
þ advantage in best way of usingcountry (eg language to your
your UK experience
work experience, qualification, contacts etc).
WhEN yOU ARRIvE IN yOUR hOME / NEXT DESTINATION
þ if applicable)of your change of address (and on
via ACCA Connect or myACCA
þ you are up tolocal ACCAall localorACCA their websiteandensure
services. Details of local offices can be found at
16 LEAVING THE UK
AND FURThER INFORmATION
USEfUL ORGANISATIONS AND LINKS
The British Council www.britishcouncil.org
Home Office (UK Border Agency) www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk
UK Council for International Student Affairs www.ukcisa.org.uk
Visit Britain www.visitbritain.com
ACCA WEB LINKS
ACCA UK website accaglobal.com/uk
ACCA Scotland website scotland.accaglobal.com
ACCA Wales website wales.accaglobal.com
Learning Provider database http://www.accaglobal.com/students/
Exam centre database http://www.accaglobal.com/students/
ACCA Potential - a free electronic newsletter www.accaglobal.com/join/why_acca/
for prospective students that provides potential
information and advice about a career in
finance and accountancy
JOB SEARCh LINKS
Many useful UK job websites and recruitment agencies are available,
a selection of these are shown below:
Job vacancy websites Recruitment agencies
ORIENTATION GUIDE RECOMMENDED READING 17
AND FURTHER INFORMATION
2 Central Quay
89 Hydepark Street
Glasgow G3 8BW
tel: +44 (0)141 582 2000
fax: +44 (0)141 582 2222