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How To Become an Accountant without an Accounting Degree

How To Become an Accountant without an Accounting Degree

An accountant is a trusted expert who oversees a company's bookkeeping to ensure it runs smoothly. Because accounting is an important aspect of a company's success, many businesses rely on accountants to maintain their finances in good operating order. Even if you don't have a degree, knowing what an accountant's responsibilities are and understanding what credentials you'll need to become one will help you on your way to being an accountant.

What are the advantages of working as an accountant without an accounting degree?

Here are some of the advantages of working as an accountant without a degree:

Reduces the cost of student debt: Skipping college can save you money and reduce your future student loan burden.

Allows you to earn professional accounting qualification and experience over a longer period: You can focus on acquiring certificates and building experience in accounting departments while others finish their degrees.

Allows you greater learning flexibility: Most degree programmes have rigorously designed courses that will enable you to master accounting topics full-time or part-time. One advantage of learning accounting outside of college, whether you teach yourself or prepare for a certification test, is that you may learn at your speed.

Accounting jobs without an accounting degree

Here is a list of positions that you qualify for if you don't have a degree or if your degree is in a discipline other than accounting:

Auditor's assistant

Auditing clerks' primary responsibilities include checking and maintaining all financial records for a company and verifying information discovered in economic papers.

Assistant in accounting

Accounting assistants' primary responsibilities include preparing financial records, doing office administrative activities, and processing transactions.

Accounts payable clerk

Accounting clerks perform various functions in an accounting department, including administrative work such as filing and contacting clients regarding bills and accounting obligations such as account management and financial record keeping.


Bookkeepers utilise accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage 50cloud to record transactions, maintain customer accounts, manage fiscal records, and prepare banking statements.

Non-accounting majors can work in accounting.

You may work as an accountant even if you have a degree in another field. Accounting jobs are open to those with bookkeeping or a strong mathematical background. An accounting certification is required in addition to a degree. Here are some majors that qualify for accounting careers::

Take CPA exam

Let's apply the same logic to the question of whether you may take the CPA test without a degree. Without an accounting degree, becoming a CPA is conceivable, but it will be more challenging and educational requirements will still apply. It appears that obtaining it without an accounting degree has become much more difficult in recent years.

As a result, earning your CPA without a degree is unlikely. There have been instances where students majoring in something else decided to take the CPA test and do so by completing additional courses.

To take the test, you must meet certain educational criteria. Minimum accounting credit hours and equivalent expertise are required. It is where non-accounting majors will have the most difficulty. It might be tough to gain the necessary knowledge to sit for the test if you are not an accounting major. Most states demand 150 college credits, which is more than a bachelor's degree's 120 credits.

Take CIA exam

What about the CPA and CMA exams? Can you take it without a degree? It is more difficult to carry it without a degree. Before sitting for the CIA exam, you must complete certain educational prerequisites.

Candidates for the CIA should have at least an associate's degree or better, according to the IIA. The following are acceptable associate's degree equivalents:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Foundations
  • Higher Education Diploma
  • National Diploma with Honors
  • 3 A-level certificates with a C- or better grade

The CIA exam, however, may have a workaround. The IIA has created another path to CIA eligibility for individuals who do not fulfil the minimal education standards. Candidates with at least seven years of documented experience in internal audit or its equivalent may be approved by the IIA. Most persons with seven years of experience in the field would also fulfil the educational criteria.

Bachelor's degree in business administration

A bachelor's degree in business administration allows you to study all aspects of a firm, including finance. This degree can help you comprehend how accounting interacts with other elements of a business, such as payroll, sales, and budgeting.

A bachelor's degree in computer science

As an accountant, you work with many software tools to store and preserve financial data. Thus a computer science degree will help you grasp the technology area.

Qualification in mathematics

A bachelor's degree in education will prepare you for a career as an accountant by familiarising you with mathematical principles used by accountants, such as algebra, calculus, and statistics. This degree may also offer you effective leadership abilities to apply to your accounting profession.

Accounting qualification without a degree

The National Bookkeepers Association provides a variety of non-degree accounting certifications, and you may enrol and take the following certification examinations online:

Bookkeeper certification: This certification validates and demonstrates your bookkeeping abilities. Before taking the test, you must take an accounting course that focuses on educating people without a prior understanding of the fundamentals of bookkeeping.

Accounting certification: You'll learn the essentials of accounting, such as accounts payable, inventories, financial statements, and reporting requirements, with this certification. A course on accounting concepts is required as a prerequisite for this accounting certification.

Accounting analysis certification: This certification concentrates on the business side of accounting, specifically creating and evaluating accounting data. First, you must finish the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers' accounting analysis course.

QuickBooks certification: it is receiving training and becoming familiar with the accounting software QuickBooks, the most widely used among accounting firms. Completion of a QuickBooks fundamentals course is required for this certification.

How to become an Accountant without bachelor's accounting Degree

Use the strategies listed below as a guide to becoming an accountant without a degree.

Make a list of all you already know.

Depending on your math skills and high school courses, you may already have a basic understanding of accounting fundamentals. Make a note of all you know about accounting so you know where to begin your studies.

Enrol in an accounting certification programme

Regardless of whether you have a degree, having an accounting certification can help you expand your knowledge and boost your chances of finding work. An accounting qualification can help you qualify for a variety of accounting jobs. You may enrol in various online and in-person courses to help you prepare for a certification exam. Look for a programme that best matches your schedule on the internet.

Look for volunteer opportunities.

If you have minimal expertise with accounting, volunteering is a terrific way to get started. You can conduct administrative work or work in a bookkeeping role, both of which will provide you with important insight into accounting's day-to-day operations. Look for local charities or organisations with accountants on staff who are willing to volunteer.

Get full-time work in an accounting department.

Getting as much experience as an accountant is a terrific method to advance. While you may not be an accountant, working in an accounting department can help you better understand what accounting jobs require. You may see accountants at work and understand how a typical accounting department operates daily.

Look for openings for entry-level accounting clerks or assistants on the internet. Many firms recruit clerks currently enrolled in a certification programme, even if they have not completed it.

Make contact with other accountants.

Building professional contacts, discovering new possibilities, and learning more about accounting may all be accomplished through networking. You're putting yourself up for job success by broadening your network and making relationships with other accountants. 

Joining an online accountant association, where you can interact with other accounting professionals, is one approach to network.

Which Accounting Certifications Can I Get Without Getting a Bachelor's Degree?

If you're wondering which accounting qualification you can get without a degree, you should now have a better idea. The majority of employees will need at least a bachelor's degree. There are several workarounds and exclusions for students who think to complete their degree within a particular timeframe after registering for the test. All of this is something you should be aware of before attempting to become an accountant.

There's a reason why these credentials are so respected. Without a degree of any kind, you can earn the EA certification. Without a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in education or work experience, you can't get a job; you're unlikely to earn any of the others (and be able to prove it). You can work in the accounting field without one, but you won't be able to earn your accounting certification until you meet the requirements above.


Finally, you don't need an accounting degree to work as an accountant. On-the-job training is undoubtedly possible. An accounting qualification may or may not be required depending on where you want to go in your career and what sorts of jobs you want to get.

If you want to pursue a long-term career in accounting, you need to obtain a professional qualification to demonstrate your accounting knowledge. If getting a CPA licence is too difficult, the US CMA certification and the ACCA are viable alternatives. It only makes sense to assist yourself on your way to a successful accounting profession by taking the most appropriate certification test for your needs.


Q:1 Is AAT accounting difficult?

The great thing about AAT is that it is fully focused on practical learning, So, even if you have no previous experience, if you put in the time and effort, you can succeed.

Q.2: Does AAT qualify you as an accountant?

It's a popular query among individuals considering a career in accounting. There are no legal criteria that prevent you from working as a professional accountant without obtaining certification.

Q.3: How much does a chartered accountant make?

The starting salary for entry-level occupations is $67,500 per year, with most experienced individuals earning $100,000 per year.

Q.4: Is it possible for bookkeepers to prepare tax returns?

A bookkeeper may have a rudimentary understanding of taxes or none at all. A skilled bookkeeper will create single trader accounts, tax returns, and basic self-assessment returns.