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Chartered Careers

CAO advice for accountancy careers – business, accounting and more

CAO deadlines are fast approaching


Every January, some 50,000 students complete the CAO. This form is the gateway to 3rd level education in the Republic of Ireland, and the choices made can determine career trajectories for years to come.

If you have a son or daughter, sibling or friend, filling out the form at the moment with the deadline of February 1st 2016 fast approaching, and they have an interest in a career in Chartered Accountancy, then here are three things to consider, as there are now many entry routes into the profession.

1.       Business Degrees

The most popular way to enter the profession is via a relevant degree such i.e. a BComm or Business Studies programme, such as the B. Comm in UCD, B.A Accounting in DCU, B. Comm in UCC, B.A Law & Accounting in UL and the B.A Accounting & Finance in GMIT-Mayo – these are just some of the relevant courses available at the Universities and Institutes of Technology across the county. If students attain appropriate grades, and pass the relevant accounting modules, these degrees give exemptions from our first set of exams (CAP1). Over forty undergraduate degrees are recognised. Graduates from these programmes can also go on to one of our approved 11 masters programmes in order to gain exemptions from our penultimate exams (CAP2).

You can see the exemptions that are currently awarded using our >>>online checker<<<.

2.       Other degrees

Increasingly graduates from non-business backgrounds are training as Chartered Accountants and in recent years, training firms have been actively recruiting bright graduates with engineering, science, humanities backgrounds and more. Typically, no exemptions are offered for these degrees, but the success rate is impressive, particularly from numerate-based degrees. These students start with our first set of exams, CAP1, or as an alternative, they can complete a recognised one-year postgraduate programme which will enable them to go straight to CAP2.

3.       Direct-entry, non-CAO option

Finally, the option of entry via the school leaver route run in conjunction with our sister body Accounting Technicians Ireland is also increasing in popularity. This is a non-CAO option which may suit particularly focused, practically-minded students. Find out more by visiting the Accounting Technicians Ireland website.

What Chartered Accountancy can offer:

  • Career advancement
  • Skills in high demand
  • A career highly sought after by employers
  • Promising salary
  • Professional development
  • Joining a global network
  • A passport to global success

The Chartered Accountancy qualification offers a well-rewarded, internationally-recognised and stimulating career to bright, ambitious students. There are many ways to access the profession, and should you, or any member of your family, wish to discuss this further please feel free to contact the Institute’s Director of Education Ronan O’Loughlin directly.


Where do I start?