Accounting Technicians Ireland (formerly IATI) is the leading professional body for Accounting Technicians on the island of Ireland. We educate, support and represent over 10,000 people working in the profession.
Established in 1983, we pride ourselves on providing an internationally recognised business qualification and on promoting the highest educational, technical and ethical standards to our members.
The Accounting Technicians Ireland qualification differs from many other academic programmes as it combines professional exams with practical work experience. As members of our body, individuals are entitled to put the letters MIATI after their name, seen by many employers as essential when hiring.
Accounting Technicians Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation and all our revenues are continually reinvested for the benefit of our members. We are a partner body of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an associate member of the International Federation of Accountants. We have offices in Dublin and Belfast and links with local networks throughout Ireland.
What are the main occupations in this sector?
Accounting Technicians are highly skilled and versatile accounting professionals. They can perform a wide range of finance roles, from accounts staff to financial controller and beyond.
Accounting Technicians can work at all levels, often starting out in junior roles providing crucial support to management and other senior staff. They can progress to the highest levels of business and can be found at every level in between.
What types of employment contracts are there?
There are a wide range of employment contacts on offer for Accounting Technicians. While roles are predominantly permanent full-time positions, contract work has become more common. Part-time positions can also be found and many Accounting Technicians are also self-employed or run their own businesses.
What are the typical earnings of these occupations?
Careers in accounting and finance can be very rewarding and those with lots of experience often receive very high salaries. Indeed, studies show that many accounting graduates often end up in senior management positions.
Salaries can vary depending on the experience and role held by individuals, on the size of the organisation and whether this is in industry or practice. Entry level salaries for trainee Accounting Technicians can start at €20k to €25k and climb to €40k to €50k for more senior accounts staff. Highly experienced accounts professionals in senior finance positions can command salaries in excess of €100k.
How do you get a job in this sector?
Accounting Technicians are employed in all types of organisations. Having some work experience in this area is very helpful in getting a job. For students, internships, part-time work, or summer jobs can provide a foot in the door.
Voluntary work is also useful if you can do this. Even working a few hours per week on a voluntary basis can help you build up the necessary experience. Jobs are advertised on a variety of job search websites and networking is also a useful tool for finding employment.
Accounting Technicians Recruitment is a recruitment service specifically for members of Accounting Technicians Ireland to help them find work. You can visit their website at www.accountingtechniciansireland.ie/Students/.
What qualifications are required?
Accounting Technicians are qualified accounting professionals and as such must complete a professional qualification.
The Diploma for Accounting Technicians consists of two elements, which can be completed simultaneously or at different stages:
Depending on your circumstances, the qualification can be studied full-time, part-time or on a correspondence basis, allowing students to study at a pace that fits their lives.
To gain entry to the qualification students who are under 21 must meet certain academic requirements in their Leaving Certificate, though these requirements are less restrictive than most third level courses. For those 21 or over, they can gain entry as a mature student and are not required to provide any academic qualifications.
Accounting Technicians Ireland courses are available at over 70 colleges throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These currently include VECs and Institutes of Technology, and leading private and community colleges. Our programme is also delivered in the Republic of Ireland through FÁS in a number of their training centres and is free to the unemployed.
In addition to passing exams, students must also have two years relevant work experience to complete the qualification. This gives potential employers the reassurance that graduates have the “on-the-job” skills to be effective as qualified Accounting Technicians and can apply practical experience to the theory they have learned in the classroom. Work experience requirements are based on two years full-time employment (or the equivalent part-time) and can be gained at any time from before, during or after you have completed your exams.
The Diploma for Accounting Technicians is fully approved as a Level 5 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This equates to a Level 6/7 on the National Framework of Qualifications in the Republic of Ireland.
The course is structured to maximise exemptions with leading professional accountancy bodies such as Chartered Accountants Ireland, ACCA, CIMA, CPA, and IIPA.
What are the typical routes into this sector?
Those entering the profession come from all walks of life. For example, they may already be working or going to college, or perhaps they are a mature student who wants to get back into the workforce. They could even be currently working in an accounting related area, and although experienced, wish to pursue a formal qualification. Here’s a rundown of some of the different entry routes into the sector:
School Leaver route – there are range of different ways that you can get started in accounting and finance directly from school. Some students choose to study a qualification such as Accounting Technicians Ireland full time and then look for work on completion. Others may find a job directly out of school and study this qualification part time.
Graduate route – Those who have completed a degree would typically be working full time in a relevant area and study to become an Accounting Technician part time. Degree holders are often eligible for exemptions from exams.
Mature Learner route – Many individuals often find themselves working in a finance or accounts role without having any formal qualifications in this area. An Accounting Technician qualification allows them to obtain professional recognition in the field. In these cases students will have usually completed the work experience element of the qualification.
Career Change route – Those seeking to change career tend to find an Accounting Technicians qualification very attractive as it gives a high level of accounting knowledge as well as a business qualification. For those who have been working in other sectors e.g. construction, it can help them make a smooth transition.
What advice do you have for school leavers?
If you are finishing school and would like to pursue a career in accounting there are a couple of main options you can consider.
Firstly, you may wish to gain a qualification before looking for work. You can study for the Accounting Technician qualification full-time in locations around Ireland. Having passed your exams can make it easier to find relevant work experience. Once you have completed two years relevant work experience you will be eligible for full membership of the professional body.
What advice do you have for graduates?
There are many organisations that will take on graduates as trainees. When you’re looking for work it will help if you have some previous experience. While in college taking up part-time, summer, internship or voluntary jobs will give you a good head-start. If you’ve been involved in any societies while in college this can also be a bonus.
You can study the academic component of the Accounting Technicians Ireland qualification on a part-time basis in locations around Ireland. Many employers provide funding if you choose to do this. Alternatively you can study full-time and look for work after you’ve passed your exams. Graduates are often eligible for exemptions from exams so make sure to look into this possibility.
What advice do you have for career changers?
While your job may not be directly related to accounts, you might have more relevant experience than you realise. Many forms of employment have transferrable skills. If your job involves dealing with or supervising people, work that requires accuracy and attention to detail or you work with numbers, these are all skills that employers will look for.
It can be easier to stay within the same industry but change the type of work you are doing. For example, if you work in retail look for accounts jobs in this sector. While you don’t yet have the relevant accountancy experience you will be familiar with the industry. To explore all your options it is never a bad idea to talk to a recruitment consultant. Accounting Technicians Ireland has their own recruitment service aimed at helping students and members find work.
What advice do you have for non-Irish nationals?
If you are a non-Irish national the first thing to look into is your visa requirements. If English isn’t your first language it’s a good idea to have evidence of a high level of business English. If it needs brushing up think about taking a course. There are a range of exams you can sit that will give you a widely recognised English certification. For example, IELTS or the Cambridge BEC exam. Have copies of your academic qualifications, with certified translations if needed.
What advice do you have for those wishing to go back to work?
In order to get back into the work force, it is a good idea to consider internship schemes or voluntary work (even on a part-time basis) to refresh your skills. Having some recent experience will make it easier to find a job. If you’ve been out of the work force for a long period of time you may need to consider taking a course or two.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses are usually short, running for two or three hours and sometimes a full day. They tend to focus on important practical skills and industry updates. While you’re out of work it is a good idea to continue attending a few of these courses. If you haven’t been doing this, find one or two courses that are relevant to you now.
Professional accountancy bodies offer a range of CPD courses relevant to their members needs. There are excellent progression opportunities within the accounts profession. You can work your way up to the highest levels of business. Many Accounting Technicians are self-employed, business owners or CEOs.
What advice do you have for older workers?
There is always a requirement for those who have a wealth of experience in accountancy. If you’ve been out of the work force for a prolonged period it may be necessary to brush up on your skills. Accountancy bodies run a range of CPD courses to help you do just that. It’s also important that you have a good level of IT knowledge. It can sometimes be difficult to find permanent full-time work, particularly if you’re not currently in a job. You should be prepared to take on part-time, contract or job-sharing work, even in the short-term. It may be a while since you last had an interview. Brush up on these skills to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance of landing a job.