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In the past few weeks, several part-qualified accountants have reached out to me, expressing anxiety about their upcoming professional exam results from ICAS and ACCA. The harsh reality is that the possibility of failure brings with it the fear of employment termination.

Drawing from my 5-year tenure with ICAS and closely working with their exceptional education team, I understand the challenges of CA exams and the implications of not passing.

Lets start with the positive: Over the past decade, I’ve assisted more than 50 part-qualified students in securing new training contracts after being let go due to exam policies. So if you find yourself facing this setback, remember, it’s just a bump in the road, not the end of your CA aspirations.

Expecting disappointing exam results? Here’s some pragmatic advice:

  • Reassess and Communicate: Falling short doesn’t guarantee employment termination. Firms often have discretion. Be clear with HR/Training Principals/Partners about why you wish to stay on board and, critically, lay out a concrete plan to succeed at the next exam attempt. The right attitude and addressing concerns head-on can make a difference in retaining employment.
  • Seeking a New Training Contract? Resist the urge to approach recruitment agencies immediately. Given the training expenses and perceived risks associated with mid-contract hires, many companies will be disinclined to engage if you come via an agency due to agency fees. Instead, consider reaching out directly to firms listed on ICAS and ACCA websites. A direct approach can often gain a positive response.
  • Still Facing Hurdles? Contact me. We’ve committed to waiving recruitment fees for students released mid-contract, and we’re engaged with a host of Partners at firms seeking part-time accountants.

Final pointers:

  • Persevere: Of the 50+ part-time accountants I’ve aided, the majority successfully navigated their subsequent exams and are now chartered accountants.
  • Stay Adaptable: Be open to adjustments in salary and location. A minor dip in earnings now is insignificant when weighed against the long-term rewards of becoming a chartered accountant.
  • Seek Advice and Counsel: Connect with chartered accountants who’ve been in your shoes. Their insights can be invaluable and you will be pleasantly surprised how many are willing to assist.

Above all, best of luck with your exam results! And remember, should they fall short of expectations, it’s a momentary setback, not a career verdict.