Germany Value of professional accounting qualifications in different countries

Dec 26, 2021
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I need some help choosing the best professional accounting qualification for me. I did a BSc. in Accounting in America (with excellent grades) and currently work a bookkeeping job (Accounts payable, accounts receivable) at a Japanese company in Germany (I am a German national). It took me a lot of applications (at least 300) to get this job so I'm very glad to have it. However, I know that this job won't satisfy me in the long term, so I am thinking about starting an accounting qualification (AAT, ACCA, US-CPA, or maybe CIMA or CGMA). I have exemptions from 4 ACCA papers and I am eligible to do the CPA, too. During my degree we did a lot of financial accounting (creating balance sheets, income statement...), and I really enjoyed doing this. We didn't do much management accounting, other than financial statement analysis (calculating ratios like return on equity...).

Being from Germany it would be best if in the long run I could find a better job here. However, it seems that German employers think that German qualifications/university degrees are always better than foreign qualifications like for example ACCA. Additionally it is difficult to get more accounting knowledge. For example if you want a chance to work in public accounting (tax, audit) you have to specialize in audit and tax during your degree, and what you learn will be mostly German tax and audit rules. And if you want to work in management accounting, you have to specialize in "controlling" during your studies.

I've done a lot of research on the internet about the value of the above mentioned professional accounting qualifications (AAT, ACCA, CPA, CIMA) in specific countries (Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada). About the AAT and ACCA I have read that they are "international qualifications". However, I don't know if that is really true. For example, AAT has a module that deals with "Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs". To me this is knowledge specific for the UK and not useful in other countries. Also in ACCA there are Law, Tax, and Audit papers, and it seems the standard is that UK law, tax and audit is taught. Is there really a big demand in Germany or other European country for people who know UK law, tax, and audit? I think you can choose to study an international law paper other than the UK law paper, but then what kind of international law is that? There are so many countries, each with their own law system.

I wouldn't have a problem with moving to another country than Germany. However, these countries have their own accounting qualification, too. For example, Ireland has their Chartered Accountants Ireland that probably deals with Irish tax. Dutch job advertisements sometimes mention that they want someone with knowledge of Dutch GAAP (which probably isn't taught in ACCA, CPA, or CIMA). The British administration has made it difficult for Europeans to work there due to the salary thresholds, point requirements and employer sponsored visa, so I don't know if it makes sense studying ACCA or CIMA in the hope of finding an UK employer who sponsors a work visa there.

I know almost nothing about the value of the CPA in Germany, Netherlands or any other European country. Would American companies like McDonald's or Burger King be eager to employ me if I was a CPA?

What international accounting qualification would have the biggest value in Germany? In the Netherlands? (I mention these countries because as an EU national I am allowed to work there without having to find a work visa sponsor like in USA or UK, which probably is difficult, especially with little work experience).


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