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Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Old Jan 5th 2013, 5:08 am
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Default Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?
Basically my dream is to work in NYC one day, even if it's only for 2 or 3 years. I think it'd be awesome. I went with my school for a residential trip to DC/NYC for a week in 2009 and have missed NYC since, it's the most energetic place I've ever been to. I really wanna go again - I will when I get myself a gf, definitely! I live in London and whilst it's great, NYC is on another level and London is probably the second best city in the world but a long way behind NYC.

Anyway, I'm currently studying at the University of Manchester. I'm doing a BA in History and Economics but will attempt to find a firm who will let me study for the ACA with them so that I can become a Chartered Accountant of the ICAEW - it is not necessary to have an accounting degree - in fact, they openly welcome graduates from all academic disciplines.

If in maybe 6-8 years, would I have any chance? I understand it's incredibly difficult to work in the States and the easiest way is to marry a US citizen or get a transfer in a big MNC. I don't think I'll marry an American -partly because it's near impossible to meet one in the UK. I'm thinking of going into equity research or working for the Big4 (whether I do that as a graduate or do it once I achieve the ACA) - but I think US accounting practices would prevent me from working as an accountant without having their accreditation.

Any help/advice? The dream of working in NYC is what drives me. Until that trip my grades were pretty poor and I was looking at a standard £20k job, but it's inspired me and my grades have completely turned since 2009, enabling me to study at a great university.

Thanks for any help, not sure if there are many on here who can help though.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

You've said it already- unless you transfer inside a corporation I don't believe your qualification will be worth an awful lot in the US, and to the fact there are many accountants who don't need a visa and $$$ in sponsorship to work and I think it's something of a long shot....

Good luck though!
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 8:30 am
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post
I don't think I'll marry an American -partly because it's near impossible to meet one in the UK.
There's this new thing... it's called the Internet.


Any help/advice?
If you want to be an accountant in the US, you'll want at least an MBA and qualify as a CPA. That said, civilservant makes a good point... there are, literally, thousands of qualified CPAs in the US who are unemployed, don't need sponsoring, and can start work tomorrow. That's what you'll be up against, so you need to honestly ask yourself "What skills do I bring to the table?" Unless you have superior skills or niche skills, it's not going to happen.

Ian
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 12:40 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Why do you want to live in New York?



Manchester has everything but a beach. You're already living the dream mate.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post
....... If in maybe 6-8 years, would I have any chance? I understand it's incredibly difficult to work in the States and the easiest way is to marry a US citizen or get a transfer in a big MNC. I don't think I'll marry an American -partly because it's near impossible to meet one in the UK. I'm thinking of going into equity research or working for the Big4 (whether I do that as a graduate or do it once I achieve the ACA) - but I think US accounting practices would prevent me from working as an accountant without having their accreditation.
You see to have a good plan, but have written-off some of your options. The Big 4 all have a US presence, and I think all will second or transfer a few to the US. BUT it is tough to get into a Big 4 firm, and it is tougher still to get your ACA, and even then there is no guarantee of a job beyond your training contract, and certainly no guarantee that the firm will want to second you to the US (secondments are most commonly to other countries that have an ACA qualification such as Australia or Canada or to the Far East, or Europe), but it can and does happen, its just that, quite frankly you'll have to stack up several long shots one after another. A university friend of mine is in NY with KPMG, and I recently met a Brit locally who is a partner with PwC. Others, or their spouses, show up on this forum occasionally when they are being transferred to the US.

It is also possible, or at least used to be possible, for ACA's to do a "conversion course" in the UK, and then take exams to get a CPA, which would help immeasurably with getting a job in the US but do nothing towards getting you a visa!

In your situation it is going to be tough, and internet dating is probably your best shot, and I'm not joking, it can and does work!

BTW I worked in London and then in NYC, and while many love NYC, in my opinion and experience NYC is a tough and expensive city compared to London. Mrs P and I had had enough after less than a year, and ever since I've said I need at least a $500k salary to persuade me to go back, and in my line of work there aren't many $500k jobs even in NYC. ..... I'm also not exactly longing for a job back there!

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Old Jan 5th 2013, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
BUT it is tough to get into a Big 4 firm, and it is tougher still to get your ACA, and even then there is no guarantee of a job beyond your training contract, and certainly no guarantee that the firm will want to second you to the US (secondments are most commonly to other countries that have an ACA qualification such as Australia or Canada or to the Far East, or Europe), but it can and does happen . . . A university friend of mine is in NY with KPMG, and I recently met a Brit locally who is a partner with PwC.
My nephew is a partner with PwC and was seconded to the US for a year a while ago -- but, in the vein Pulaski indicates, it was to work with a team on a global PwC project, as he has no knowledge of US tax codes, etc.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
You see to have a good plan, but have written-off some of your options. The Big 4 all have a US presence, and I think all will second or transfer a few to the US. BUT it is tough to get into a Big 4 firm, and it is tougher still to get your ACA, and even then there is no guarantee of a job beyond your training contract, and certainly no guarantee that the firm will want to second you to the US (secondments are most commonly to other countries that have an ACA qualification such as Australia or Canada or to the Far East, or Europe), but it can and does happen, its just that, quite frankly you'll have to stack up several long shots one after another. A university friend of mine is in NY with KPMG, and I recently met a Brit locally who is a partner with PwC. Others, or their spouses, show up on this forum occasionally when they are being transferred to the US.

It is also possible, or at least used to be possible, for ACA's to do a "conversion course" in the UK, and then take exams to get a CPA, which would help immeasurably with getting a job in the US but do nothing towards getting you a visa!

In your situation it is going to be tough, and internet dating is probably your best shot, and I'm not joking, it can and does work!

BTW I worked in London and then in NYC, and while many love NYC, in my opinion and experience NYC is a tough and expensive city compared to London. Mrs P and I had had enough after less than a year, and ever since I've said I need at least a $500k salary to persuade me to go back, and in my line of work there aren't many $500k jobs even in NYC. ..... I'm also not exactly longing for a job back there!
Yeah, I was thinking secondment which is more common for Law firms I think. And you're right, if there is a secondment, many countries in the Commonwealth accept or have an agreement with the ICAEW. I don't think I'd want to live and work in NYC for years and years, just a few. I didn't realise the situation was that bad for accountants in America - from what I've read, there's somewhat of a shortage of Chartered Accountants in the UK. Then again, in the US I don't think you need much to call yourself an 'accountant', whereas in the UK, you have to pass exams whether it be ICAS/CIMA/ACCA/ACA/ICAI. A university degree in accounting gets you no where in the UK. But you have said the top people with MBAs and CPAs are struggling..g

As for the ACA, I don't think it will be overly hard to pass - I've looked at past papers and asked a few friends who have studied it and are of similar academic standing and they saw it's not as hard as they thought. - some of the papers from the 1980s however - they've definitely been dumbed down just like the rest of the British education system.

Not sure if I'd do internet dating, I have never considered it and probably never will.

Wow - £500k! I wouldn't dream of that much, must've been a pretty bad experience.

The big4 is hard but if you apply strategically - aka to a few offices outside London, it's not too hard - after all they take on 4,000 graduates a year between them. However if you fail to get in with them, it can be hard to get an ACA training agreement as they have the majority of contracts and the largest intakes.

EDIT: I might not even be in accountancy after the ACA, this may sound stupid but there's a fair few exit opportunities and I'm looking at a range and will do for a few years yet, including equity research, management consulting (both unlikely), but my goal is probably to move into industry with a FTSE100 firm. I can't see myself staying in practice for much longer than is required.

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Old Jan 5th 2013, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post
Then again, in the US I don't think you need much to call yourself an 'accountant',
You think an MBA and CPA qualifications "aren't much"?
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
You think an MBA and CPA qualifications "aren't much"?
I was talking about the bare minimums, ie a college degree, from what I've read, in accounting in the states, is enough to call yourself one, in the UK, it isn't.

Edit: If you read my post, you can see I differentiate between the two.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post
I was talking about the bare minimums, ie a college degree...
You seem to be seriously underestimating the importance that US employers place on education qualifications. All else being equal, no US employer will employ someone with an ACA or ICAEW when someone with an MBA and CPA is willing and available (even without experience)... and most accountants in the US have an MBA and are CPAs - even those who are currently unemployed.

Still, if you want to complete the minimum requirements and put yourself into the employment pool knowing the qualifications of the competition, that's entirely your choice.


... from what I've read, in accounting in the states, is enough to call yourself one...
Respectfully, I suggest your reading is incomplete.

Ian

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Old Jan 5th 2013, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post
..... EDIT: I might not even be in accountancy after the ACA, this may sound stupid but there's a fair few exit opportunities and I'm looking at a range and will do for a few years yet, including equity research, management consulting (both unlikely), but my goal is probably to move into industry with a FTSE100 firm. I can't see myself staying in practice for much longer than is required.
Your goals and career plan sound great, but realistically they are unlikely to lead to employment, even on secondment, anywhere in the US.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Your best bet and realistic best bet is to find a university exchange program or organise one yourself and take a sandwich year which would either be a J1 or a F1 and as an exchange student, you only need living expenses in the bank rather than tuition costs, usually.

That'll get you a year here, it'll get you a chance to network and make contacts too.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

When you work for a big 4 firm, you get to work with clients. Many of these clients will be American. You can network with these clients to see if one of them will either sponsor you for an H-1B position in the United States.

Alternatively, they may offer you a manager-level position in the UK, from here, you can request a transfer. You may not be able to get a transfer, but you may be required to make regular business trips to the US.

Interestingly, myvisajobs.com lists a large number of H-1B petitions being approved by big 4 firms for positions such as 'Assurance staff', which would be a position soon after the ICAEW qualification.

Ultimately, do the work you enjoy, this should bring you success. Success may bring you to work in the US, if not, it may mean that you earn enough to visit regularly, and you don't need a visa to do that!
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by manchesterunigrad2015 View Post

As for the ACA, I don't think it will be overly hard to pass - I've looked at past papers and asked a few friends who have studied it and are of similar academic standing and they saw it's not as hard as they thought. - some of the papers from the 1980s however - they've definitely been dumbed down just like the rest of the British education system.


EDIT: I might not even be in accountancy after the ACA, this may sound stupid but there's a fair few exit opportunities and I'm looking at a range and will do for a few years yet, including equity research, management consulting (both unlikely), but my goal is probably to move into industry with a FTSE100 firm. I can't see myself staying in practice for much longer than is required.
I find this quite amusing. I realise that you are young and ambitious and most probably bright but I can tell you from experience that these papers are not easy to pass at all. I also cant fathom putting yourself through all that and not working as an accountant at the end of it all.
Theres so much more outside of practice.
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Old Jan 6th 2013, 4:37 am
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Default Re: Can I work in America if I got the ACA Accountancy qualification?

Originally Posted by Howefamily View Post
....... I also cant fathom putting yourself through all that and not working as an accountant at the end of it all.
Theres so much more outside of practice.
I've been thinking the same thing since I replied earlier today, and that a masters or MBA would probably be a better career decision for you.
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