Career change - Accountant to Actuary

Discussion in 'Careers' started by StCoach, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. StCoach

    StCoach Member

    I am a chartered accountant strongly considering a career change to become an actuary. I am beginning to do some more research and think I will sit CT1 in April and look for trainee positions and look to make the switch in a year. I would have a very strong academic background in economics (I took as much quantitative as I could at uni and did very well) but I am now 30 so it has been a few years.

    Is there anyone who has made a similar switch from an accounting background and would have any advice? I have seen stories of many career changers from education / engineering / etc. but no accountants so would be keen to hear experiences of others out there if there are any. There would seem to be some limited exemptions for chartered accountants so I imagine there might be some!
  2. bystander

    bystander Member

    I haven't done it but having both qualifications could be attractive although how you go about maintaining cpd on both would be a challenge I think. Yes indeed, both disciplines require maths, with actuarial also needing good statistics. Your economics also would certainly not be wasted as will your practical business skills you will have. Testing the water with ct1 studying independently is a good idea. BE prepared for the question why do you want to switch as its bound to come up and think carefully about the type of company you want to train in. I'd say it's definitely not impossible.
    StCoach likes this.
  3. rans07

    rans07 Member

    I have done it. I am an ACA qualified chartered accountant who has recently qualified as an FIA. It took me 4.5 years to qualify and I started in my late 20s. I got an ST0 and CT2 exemption, which you get for being an accountant.

    In my view there is some overlap - but more in the later exams which are written/essay based and require a more rounded understanding of business/wider issues rather than pure technical knowledge. I think it definitely gave me an advantage and probably helped me pass all of the exams (bar CA3) at the first attempt, particularly the SA exam.

    I think the biggest thing you need to decide is - do you really want to go through years of studying again? It's not easy and you really have to be willing to make the sacrifice in order to do well.

    I don't know of anyone else that has done this and would also like to hear from others who have on their experience. I would be really interested in people's thoughts on career paths which can maximize the value of an ACA/FIA qualified individual.
    Himanshu Khandelwal and StCoach like this.
  4. StCoach

    StCoach Member

    Thanks, this is really helpful. Yes that's the big decision to sit all the exams once again (though I didn't mind the ACA exams as I qualified in Ireland and a study leave was in blocks over the summer which I looked forward to as I was very unhappy in audit!).As is the paycut for a few years but I figure it is now or never really, I've good savings and few commitments yet. On the plus I'm certainly more settled in life than my early -mid 20s.

    Rans - How did you find getting a training/graduate position? Were employers somewhat bemused by the switch? Did you have difficulty explaining why you wanted to switch?
  5. bystander

    bystander Member

    Ah yes, I notice you mention blocks of pre exam leave for accountancy exams. In actuarial ones forget it! Most employers won't let you do that even if they operate a bank system. There are block tutorials/revision tutorials some employers will fund that last say 3 days. But if you want a fortnight off immediately before the exam that usually requires you to take ordinary holiday leave! Study leave typically is taken throughout the course of study not stored up.
  6. rans07

    rans07 Member

    StCoach in answer to your questions - I didnt qualify through a training position.

    I joined a small insurer doing management accounting within a very small actuarial department. I got involved with some of the actuarial pricing and reserving work and decided I'd like to do it for a career.

    I did the exams off my own back although the company did pay for fees. But it was very tough especially with minimal study leave - I used my holiday to increase my study time. However, on the plus side I didnt take a salary drop.

    It is possible to do this off your own back but you really need to be committed. I would try a couple of the exams and see how you far you can get.

    In terms of explaining the switch, I think it is an extremely positive thing which demonstrates your commitment and dedication to the profession. In my experience it has helped me stand out from the crowd.

    P.S I really hated auditing too!
    StCoach likes this.
  7. StCoach

    StCoach Member

    Thanks again Rans, this is extremely helpful. And congratulations on getting through the exams with minimal support, no small feat. As I am not working in the insurance industry I would definitely seek a grad position with exam support. As much as I would like a year again as a student the cost of the postgrad conversion courses when you consider lost earnings and fees are a little too high for me to justify.

    I think I will explore some more, talk to people working in the industry and get started on CT1. If anyone has more advice it would be much appreciated!
  8. almost_there

    almost_there Can't stop posting

    May I reverse the question - how easy would it be for an actuary to qualify as an accountant? It seems there are more accountancy jobs out there and not just in the big cities; although I expect pay won't be as good.
  9. rans07

    rans07 Member

    I think if you can pass actuarial exams you can pass accountancy exams no problem
  10. Ben Langleben

    Ben Langleben Member

    Hello! I am considering a career change into Actuary. I enjoy learning and am keen to utilise my transferable skills in a profession that hopefully offers better career prospects, having spent several years in marketing sciences. Do many people enter the profession by this route?
  11. A_N_Other

    A_N_Other Member

    I am a Chartered Accountant in Ireland and I'm planning on doing the actuarial exams. I sat CT1 and passed it - didn't mind the study too much either. I'm now wondering how easy it is to get the CT2 and ST0 exemptions. Do they want your result in each exam or just proof of being admitted to membership. Like a lot of professional exams, some better than others so just wondering if you need to have achieved particular marks or just pass. Thanks for your help!
  12. SirLeoMap

    SirLeoMap Made first post

    Did you eventually go ahead with the exams and how did it go?

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