It’s careers fair season across the UAE and many people are contemplating their next step. When considering a professional qualification, it’s easy to be influenced by stereotypes. But becoming a chartered accountant doesn’t mean sitting in a back office with only a calculator for company, according to Peter Beynon, Regional Director of ICAEW Middle East.

Peter said: “The UAE is a major financial and business centre and there is tremendous demand for highly-qualified finance professionals. But there are a number of misconceptions about accountancy. Often people think that it means you must work in an accountancy firm, or the finance department. Increasingly this isn’t the case. A chartered accountancy qualification leads almost anywhere, including becoming a business leader and making vital strategic decisions.”

Here are Peter’s top five things you might not know you can do with a chartered accountancy qualification:

Work in any industry

Chartered accountants are not just found in financial services, but helping to run sports teams, airlines, film production companies, clothing labels and everything in-between. They all need strategic business advice on anything from launching a new product to investing in a new company, as well as an expert making day-to-day financial decisions.

Travel around the world

ICAEW’s Chartered Accountant qualification, the ACA, is internationally recognised as demonstrating the highest professional and ethical standards. As more companies become multinational and trade globally, international qualifications are increasingly important. And of course international experience is always valuable.

Become a forensic accountant

Forensic accountants are the detectives of the finance world. They help investigate financial crime, and are trained to look beyond the numbers into the business realities of situations. They’re vital to support the fight against fraud, which is calculated to cost $40bn (AED147bn) a year worldwide.

Work for the government

Great financial and business minds are always needed in the public sector. Making decisions that have an immediate impact on society and policy could lead almost anywhere in government. A role in government can also help secure a position on the board, or running sections of public finance.

Become CEO!

It is a myth that accountants only ever look after the finances. CFOs work closely with CEOs, have a real understanding of what make a business tick, and are expected to be strategic and visionary leaders. Many take that next step to CEO level, leading multinational businesses all around the world.

Peter said: ”ICAEW Chartered Accountants work across 160 countries at every level, in every industry, making the ACA a truly versatile global qualification. For talented individuals it can open the door to a highly rewarding career in accountancy, finance and business. And it’s not just for graduates – there are a number of routes for school leavers or people at any stage of their careers.”

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