Career Change ACA, IB?


Hi all

First time poster. A bit of background about me I am a teacher of 3 years. Been fast tracked through, been a head of year, head of subject and now head of faculty.

Pay is good (I think)- based in Swindon, £39k (not typical for a third year teacher normally 26k ish) , final salary pension, 13 weeks hols. Hours are reasonable 50 hours per week plus. Very intense work though, literally never take a break!

In terms of my academics AAAB a-levels and 2.1 degree in traditional subject from Russell group uni.

The reason I went into teaching was that I saw along with my father this economic crash coming and wanted to protect myself job security wise. Invested my student loan in gold when at Uni and made a killing (lost a lot of the profit shorting the ftse in sept, doh!)

What I didn’t foresee was Brown moving most of the liability from the private to the public sector by way of his bail outs.

Now thinking teaching looks less lucrative. Chances are if I stay and things continue to go well I will make it to Head in 5-10 years.

In terms of the job. It really is never dull and is genuinely interesting. I give my all to the students and my classes get excellent results well above the school average.

Seriously considering conceding defeat in what I thought would be best for my long term security and moving back to the private sector.

My question is this at 26 years old, 3 years in teaching, what chance do I have of getting on grad schemes for the big 4 or for IBs. My favoured choice would be big 4 and training in ACA to keep my options open.

Also, in terms of salary how realistic is it to expect to exceed my teaching salary if I stay in the regions? Will I make a big improvement in the 80-130k I will make as a head in approx 10 years time? How long will it take to get up to the 40k region I am on now (again regionally)? How high is the dropout/failure rate for ACA? Are the hours going to be a lot longer?

A lot of questions, sorry!

Thanks in advance for your responses!


Big 4 ACA salary in London circa £26/£27k, outside London £19/£20K.

You’ll probably stand in reallyg ood stead due to your prior experience (being fast tracked and all) and KPMG even have a Teach First thing where you take time out to teach before you start (I think) so it’d probably work out great for you. Give their HR team a call and they’ll be able to give you more detailed info but I’d say go for it!


Interesting. Most people do it the other way round. Make a stack in the city (IB) then move in their 30s to the genteel life of teaching in the private sector.
Head teachers’ salaries in a top ranked boarding school will be considerably higher than state sector and will have some rather nice perks. Spacious home, entertainment budget, etc etc as well as the reasonable working day and long holidays.
At 26 I’d go for ACA now. You should have no problems with the exams. London newly qualified first post out of practice should be around £50-£60k in accountancy. Newly qualifieds (if you pass all exams and meet working criteria you’ll be qualified in 3 years) at big four are on about £45 plus benefits package.
Cost of living will be much higher in London. Take a look at Reading where salary is the same as London and you could just about get away with commuting from Swindon. Even better you will save train fares (hugely) if you travel from Didcot.
Another possiblity is Bristol.
There must be some salary stats on this website? If not try ICAEW website.