Who is an accountant?
An accountant is a professional educated in accounting or closely related field. Accounting is a profession that deals with the management of financial records or accounts within a business environment. Without this profession, businesses would have no foundation on which both short and long term financial decisions could be made.
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As a profession, accounting applies systemic processes that involves; recording, verification, interpretation and communicating financial information for businesses of all sizes. Accounting is a crucial docket within organizations as it gives businesses a means of determining financial stability upon which daily and long-term decisions can be made.
Typically, the work of accountants is to prepare and examine financial records within a business setup to ensure that, the organizations records are accurate and that all company payments and statutory taxes are paid on time among other duties.
What is accountant’s work environment?
Accountants work mostly in offices. These professionals may travel to their clients’ places of business to offer accounting services.
What are some accountant’s career opportunities?
Accountants are employed by Government, academia, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations among other areas.
Typical areas of employment include; Government ministries and state agencies, accounting & audit firms, banking, insurance, manufacturing firms, agricultural companies, hospitality institutions, construction firms, engineering firms, healthcare companies, real estate companies, retail chains establishments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, small and medium sized businesses among many other areas.
These professionals can also use their skills and creativity to start their own consultancy businesses/ self-employment.
How to become an accountant in Kenya
Subject’s choice in secondary schools plays a vital role towards ones future career choice. It is therefore important for young people to become aware of the various subjects combination required for various career options.
High school subject selection
To pursue a career as an accountant therefore, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.
- SUBJECT 1: ENG/KIS,
- SUBJECT 2: MAT A / MAT B,
- SUBJECT 3: any GROUP II or any GROUP III,
- SUBJECT 4: a GROUP II or a GROUP III or any GROUP IV or any GROUP V. (subject’s source); JAB/ Kuccps.
Education and Training Routes
If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with an overall, KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).
However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option, you can still pursue it through a different route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help you further your education and become an accountant.
So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become an accountant?
- Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting or equivalent major(s)
- Bachelor of Science in Accountancy
- Or similar courses. At least KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above.
- Diploma in Accountancy
- Diploma in Business Management
- Or other relevant fields
These diploma courses require at least KCSE mean grade C- (minus) and above. It is worthy to note that, with a diploma in any of the above fields, you can either choose to look for a job in line with your training or further your education to your desired career option.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA), route
You can also opt to become an accountant through the CPA route. CPA is a qualification attained after successfully going through training in all levels of CPA course. CPA course is tested in three parts each with two sections i.e. Part I (section 1&2), Part II (section 3&4) and Part III (section 5&6). CPA exams are set by the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB).
Students must have at least KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) or equivalent to be registered for these exams. Those with C- (minus) or equivalent can start with Accounting Technician Diploma (ATD). After successful completion of CPA course, one can enrol for a degree program to advance their education. For more details about CPA course and exams, visit KASNEB website.
Important skills to have
To work successfully as an accountant, you will be required to possess important skills some of which are listed below.
- Math skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Detail oriented skills
- Organization skills
- Financial skills
- Presentation skills among others
Throughout your education and training, these skills will be emphasized. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure before you enter the job market; you possess much of these skills.
How to Join College and or university
There are two ways you can follow to join training institution(s) in pursuit of your career of choice. The majority way is applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). This is a state owned agency that admits/ places government sponsored students to colleges and universities. One of the advantages of applying through Kuccps is that, upon successful placement, you will pay subsidized fee as a government sponsored student.
To be placed through Kuccps you must have attained a certain pass mark required for various education levels for (degrees/diplomas/certificates etc.) For more details on placement criteria, visit Kuccps website. The second approach is applying directly to training institution of your choice. Students who opt to apply this way do not get government fee subsidy and are therefore self-sponsored.
How to fund your post-secondary education.
If you are a needy student, upon application, you can get education loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), a state owned institution that gives education loans to students joining technical colleges and universities. You can also access education bursaries from your local Member of Parliament (MP) or the County Government among other sources.