Introduction to the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA)
As a student, you will most likely here the name ‘IFA’ referred to regularly. The IFA has been established since 1916 and is an internationally recognised membership body for professional accountants. Members of the IFA tend to be accounting practices that work with small business or SMEs, providing them with reliable and trusted advice. Part of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), the IFA is a large SME focused group of accountants with circa 35k members across 80 countries.
The IFA allows members to take part in a full programme of professional qualifications along with associated events, training and educational seminars.
Their core values comprise:
The setting of standards – putting in place high standards that denote professionalism and reliability.
Professionalism – providing members with up-to-date and focused commercial advice.
Enterprise – promoting innovative thinking.
Dynamism – being responsive to the changes in the business and economic climate.
Ethics – ensuring integrity, responsibility and transparency at all times.
Why should you gain an IFA qualification?
Your technical prowess and ability will be recognised internationally when you gain IFA qualifications. At the same time, you will gain a wealth of knowledge by acquiring suitable qualifications that will allow you to work as an accountant disciplined to very high standards. Whilst taking part in training and gaining qualifications, the IFA will support you with advice and networking opportunities. When your clients see the IFA qualification amongst your credentials, they will immediately recognise you as being a reputable and trustworthy professional.
For this reason, many students aspire to gaining the necessary IFA qualifications so that they can gain the associated credibility that comes with them.
How do you become a member of the IFA?
Once you have your first job or have some experience of working as an accountant and have passed a set IFA recognised exams, you can join the IFA. If you have prior learning in this field, you may be allowed to join based upon accreditations gained from previous experience. Recognised by OfQual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) the IFA is formally recognised as being able to deliver suitable assessments and qualifications. You will have a range of certifications to choose from, covering such things as financial accounting, tax advice and business management etc., aimed at SMEs. If you are unsure which exams to opt for, your college or university can help you to decide.
Will being a member of the IFA be beneficial to your career?
Yes, absolutely. Once you are qualified, the IFA qualification will provide you with many positive benefits. Whether you are looking to further your career by working with a professional firm of accountants or considering setting up your own business, being an IFA member will stand you in good stead. It will provide you with a well-qualified, polished and skilful image that you can present to the world.
The IFA is a member of the IFAC - International Federation of Accountants, who are global regulators and setters of standards. One of the UK’s six chartered bodies, being a part of the IFA sends a message to your clients that you work to constantly high standards and that you are professional and ethical.