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Post Info TOPIC: IFA, exams, exemptions, memberships....any thoughts?


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IFA, exams, exemptions, memberships....any thoughts?


This isn't really a question but I would be interested to hear any thoughts people might have about what I'm doing at the moment. I have just joined the IFA. I had been intending to do the IcB level 4 and through that offer a full accounting service to my small ltd company clients, end of year accounts, management accounts etc. This is a key part of our business strategy, in fact my company is already offering these services although I outsource the parts that are beyond my practise license to appropriately qualified accountants, which has obvious cost implications for us. the IcB level 4 seemed the best way forward in the short term, but I have been waiting for it's release for a long time and now that it has been put back yet again I've decided I can't waste any more time sitting around and waiting. So I joined the IfA as a student, I looked into getting exemptions from some of the exams on the basis of my ACIB exams (Associateship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers). But nobody has ever come to them with these exams before so they need to see the full syllabus (which I don't have, but could get for a fee) and it would cost me as much as sitting the exams to apply for the exemptions so I decided to just do the exams, it will be good revision. However, having got the text books I can now see how the exams are very much the same as what I did before so I'm now rethinking, if I can get a couple of exemptions then maybe I could get the others all done in the June sitting and be qualified pretty quickly. So I'm trying to decided whether to aim to get qualified ASAP by trying to get the exemptions, despite the cost. Or do I take longer and do the exams, bringing my knowledge completely up to date in the process? Also, whilst dealing with all of this I have discovered that although my membership lapsed when I left the bank I used to work for, I could become a Chartered Associate of my old professional body again (it's now called the Institute of Financial Services) and I'm wondering if having that designation would look good to potential clients, so maybe that's worth doing, too? Any thoughts?

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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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RuthA wrote:

I'm wondering if having that designation would look good to potential clients, so maybe that's worth doing, too? Any thoughts?


I hope so...

I sent off my application for consideration for membership last Monday (coincidence or what).

I've been giving the IFA a lot more serious consideration since they were accepted by IFAC as a member body.

The issues that I'm having with the idea of not being able to get an ACCA practice licence once fully qualified (and hence being able to offer less services that someone who has (for example) only attained AICB status) has been playing heavily upon me.

I still want to complete the ACCA qualification but think that I will need to either transfer out to another body or take dual memberships if James' suggestion of the ACCA becoming more flexible about regualtion 8 pans out.

Either way, it seemed that I needed a plan B.

ICAEW... In my dreams!!!

CIMA seem to have shot themselves in the foot by leaving the party to join up with the Americans.

ICB/IAB/AAT after taking ACCA were not where I was looking for my business to go.

AIA... Maybe.

Which left IFA as ticking all the right boxes.

One can hold multiple memberships (for example ACCA, AIA and IFA if you so wished) but if I started offering accountancy services the likelihood is that as things stand at the moment I would have to stand down from the ACCA or fall foul of regulation 8 and be thrown out with a hefty fine (I think that the going rate is £800) in the process.

As for their exams. I know that they got in trouble years ago for plagerising the ACCA ones (past history and not at all relevant to todays organisation) which shows that the exams are to the same level of complexity.

That of course means that you have oddles of freely available past ACCA papers to practice on plus lots of study material from BPP, KAPLAN, GTG and others (if ever you want to know which ACCA paper something comes under just post on here and I've point you in the right direction).

The designation AFA will look fine to clients who, lets be honest for the most part would probably think that chartered certified must be higher up the tree than just chartered!

Your real grief though may come from other accountants who will never accept IFA as equivalent even where you can show that the exams that you have taken are exactly the same. 

I know that I've been witness to a chartered accountant in a very condescending manner asking me "Do you really want your companies accounts to be looked after by a certified accountant!".

Despite some reservations I did actually use that accountant as she was the best but I found out afterwards that all of the accountants under her (doing the actual work) were ACCA students and affiliates trying to get their two years post qualification!

I think that everything above was relevant even though it meandered a bit. Overall conclusion is that I think that you are making a good move and it's a path that I'm looking to go down myself.

HTH,

Shaun.



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KTC


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Shaun,

Reading some of your posts, I think you've been drinking too much of ACCA Kool-Aid re. CIMA. At the end of the day, CIMA is a chartered body and arguably recognised as the body to be a member of for management accountants in industry in this country. Just because one professional body doesn't accept "transfer" of membership from another body to themself doesn't make the other body any less of a qualification. Only in accounting have I seen so many different professional bodies offering effectively the same qualification. I also don't see people studying for a professional qualification in other fields hoping to complete it with one body just so they can then become member of a different body.

KTC



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Hi KTC,

Personally I have nothing against CIMA however I know a few people who took CIMA purely in order to transfer to ACCA as it was considered an easier route so I can understand ACCA's decision as having some legitimacy rather than simply a snub due to CIMA taking their ball and going off to play on their own.

That said I also know people who took ACCA purely to transfer to ICAEW and that route as also now been closed.

I think that the real test out there is understanding how to traverse all of the various bodies requirements in order to get where you want / need to be!

From the CIMA perspective I can also understand their point of view in that all of the other CCAB bodies were more focused upon Audit where CIMA has no interest in that field which made them pretty much the odd one out.

Anyway, this wasn't an have a go at CIMA thread. (to my mind I've never belittled that qualification, the discussions have all been in relation to the changing exemptions that one can get by having various qualifications).

Personally I would love to stay ACCA but like so many know that when it comes to it that such may not be an option if one wants to actual put the knowledge gained into practice.

Things will change and improve with time but all we can do is try and traverse the minefield as it exists now and hope to come out the other side with all of our limbs and sanity intact.

Talk soon,

Shaun.

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It's a shame about the practise requirements for ACCA, I would have liked to go down that route myself but I know I would end up in a similar position to you, Shaun, so unfortunately I discounted that one when I first found this forum and saw one of your posts about it.

It certainly is a strange set up with the different professional bodies....I wonder where the profession will be in 100 years time?....and I think for me it's a case of focusing on what I want to be able to do and when I do that, the best route makes itself pretty obvious. I aim to be the very opposite of the stereotypical stuffy/suited/stuck up accountant so I'm not too bothered about their opinions of me so long as my clients are happy with me!



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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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I have been a member in practice of the IFA for a long time and the only client (one in the last 5 years) that have left me to go to another accountant, actually was to another IFA member! Many of my clients have previously been with Chartered Accountants, and have not been disappointed they have moved to a "Incorporated Financial Accountant" from a firm of "Chartered Accountants".

One client who is training to become a magistrate only last week asked to me complete the confirmation of income form, was impressed with my "qualifications"! Her husband is actually a ACA, and she herself has a BSC and MBA, so being a IFA member has not held me back with other "professionals".

Ruth, its rather a long drive from you, but you should consider coming to Alton, Hampshire to a IFA branch meeting and meet other members.





-- Edited by YLB-HO on Sunday 4th of March 2012 10:46:55 PM

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Frauke (FFA FIAB FFTA)

IAB accredited Training Provider, including the IAB Level 4 Diploma in Personal & Business Tax (NQF)  

BKN Book-keeper of the year 2011



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Hi Frauke

I would quite like to do that, I haven't had a chance to look into exactly what events are going on yet but I will.

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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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Ruth,

What level did you start at with your IFA?

Thanks
Tony.

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Tony

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.


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Hi Tony,

Since the post above I've been accepted by the IFA.

Starting level is Dip FA. going to AFA when I've passed the last ACCA papers.

My intention at the moment is to jump ship when I've passed as I can't see any way to a practice certificate and without one regulation 8 stops me from doing almost anything.



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Hi Shaun,

I thought you might have been able to start at the next level up by sitting the "professional challenge" module. I take it that wasn't an option?

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Tony

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Hi Tony,

It was never mentioned.

At the moment I was just concerned with whether or not they would let me in. I can't really use the qualification until I stand down from the ACCA and I'm not doing that until I've fully passed (I know, I just caan't get this close without finishing it and of course it will always mean that I know that I suceeded even if forced by regulation 8 to stand down).

When I get there I'll be trying to get as high as I can with the IFA and possibly do FTA as CPD.

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Hello Friends!

Thank you all for your comments.

I am also an Associate of IFA and I am happy to hear that IFA has recently been accepted by IFAC as a full member.

I have recently visited the website of the Association of International Accountants (AIA) and I read that this Association accepts associates/fellows of other IFAC accounting bodies directly to the AIA without exams.

Do you think IFA members can get direct entry to AIA? Did any of you or your colleagues go from IFA to AIA?

Thank you!
Neo

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Neofytos


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Tony, I'm sorry, I didn't see your question months ago when you asked it!!

To cut a long story short, I'm doing the professional accountant IFA exams, I've got the first two tomorrow (any one else doing them?). Then my plan is to do the other 3 in the exam sitting later this year, with the ethics module some time in between.

I did apply for exemptions but could only get them against the diploma level which seemed pretty pointless, so I've been refreshing my knowledge on all sorts of things which I haven't needed to use for 15 years, which I've actually quite enjoyed.




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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
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Hi Ruth,

what format do the IFA exams take and when and where do you sit them?

Are they like the ACCA ones which are just twice a year or are they sat on demand?

Good luck for the exams tomorrow. What time do they start?

kind regards,

Shaun.



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Hi Shaun

It's 2 sittings per year at a centre, June and I think November. There seems to be a long list of centres, mine is pretty close to home. Each exam is 3 hours, a mix of long and shorter questions, some are calculations and accounts production, some are narrative eg analysing calculations or options. There is also an ethics module which is completed at home.

I've got a 10 o clock and a 2 O clock tomorrow, so a long day! IFRS for SMEs in the morning, then financial management, incorporating capital investment appraisal and working capital management in the afternoon.

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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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RuthA wrote:

Hi Shaun

It's 2 sittings per year at a centre, June and I think November. There seems to be a long list of centres, mine is pretty close to home. Each exam is 3 hours, a mix of long and shorter questions, some are calculations and accounts production, some are narrative eg analysing calculations or options. There is also an ethics module which is completed at home.

I've got a 10 o clock and a 2 O clock tomorrow, so a long day! IFRS for SMEs in the morning, then financial management, incorporating capital investment appraisal and working capital management in the afternoon.


 That sounds like a long day.



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Steve


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Thanks Ruth,

With the ACCA I come out of one three hour paper shell shocked. The thought of two in a day would make my poor little head explode.

I'll have my fingers crossed for you tomorrow. Let us all know how it goes won't you.

kind regards,

Shaun.

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Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only and in all situations the advice of a qualified professional should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Thanks....it won't be as bad as my A levels, though, I had 3 consecutive days of 2x 3 hour papers per day (I did then have about 3 weeks before my last papers though!)

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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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Hi Ruth,

I hope your exams went well! Just wanted to ask you (and anyone else) who you used for a training provider. Am doing ICB (Career path through Ideal Schools) at the moment and really enjoying it but am thinking to the future...when I have finished I want to be able to offer my clients as much as possible and eventually I dont want them to have to go elsewhere for the accountancy stuff my practice licence wont cover. I've just submitted my Level 2 comp so am now starting on level 3s: manual, computerised, payroll, self assessment and SBFC. I know there is the level 4 - but has that been proven yet? It seems the way to go is IFA but I just can't find a training provider... any thoughts...?

Edit: Just had another look at the IFA site - so you just get thhe sudy guides straight from them and don't need a training provider...? And to call myself an accountant would I need to do the porfessional as well as the DipFA? Thx


Thanks,

Emma



-- Edited by Eadie on Thursday 12th of July 2012 06:45:32 PM

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