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Interested in a career in finance without the exams? Find out about PMA!


Article posted by Jazmine Sims on Jan 31, 2024

New year, new career? Started exams but finding them hard to complete? If you have preliminary experience within finance, or even just an interest in it and want to start building your career, read on now…

What is PMA?

OK, first up, what is PMA, and what does it stand for? PMA stands for Property Management Accounting and is one-half of the finance operations that serve the real estate sector. Still lost? Think about buildings – real estate is everything around from those commercial organisations scaling the heights of the London skyline, to the period properties of Liverpool, and the residential buildings like student accommodation across universities right around the UK. It’s an exciting sector to work in that pays well and, best of all, doesn’t always require finance qualifications to get in and get on into a successful career in finance.

How can my career develop in PMA?

PMA is very much a meritocratic sector where ability and personality are valued more than the qualifications you have. Depending on your previous background, i.e. whether you’re already part-qualified with your ACA/ACCA/ICAEW or have experience within accounts receivable, credit control, or accounts payable, either within or outside of the real estate sector, there’s a pathway for you to develop a career in finance in PMA.

One route those looking for a career in PMA can go down is from a general Accounts Assistant or Accounts Payable position, through to leading an entire department responsible for specific clients and wider teams within the business. We highlight the CV and experience of one such successful candidate (with a little help from me and the wider team at Cobalt along the way!) here, and hear from them below.

“I have worked in the property industry for over ten years progressing from a payables clerk to associate partner. I was first approached by a local recruiter for a role close to home - I didn’t know much about the property industry at that point but had recently graduated from university and was eager to learn! Initially, I had wanted to get into practice but had great mentors at the company I worked for, was offered study support, and was quickly promoted. I found property was quite niche and, whilst desirable, professional accounting qualifications weren’t barriers to my progression. I have always enjoyed the variety of work as a property accountant, working with clients to find the best outcomes, offering practical solutions, and getting stuck in!”

Who is a career in PMA suited for?

Every day we speak with those who have taken some of their ACA/ACCA/ICAEW exams, those who have studied a finance or accountancy-related course at university, those who have worked in an entry-level role within finance at a company already, or even those with an interest in finance from their schooldays, all looking to embark on a career in finance. Whilst about 50% of the transactional roles we work on tend to look for experience already from within the real estate sector, the other half are simply interested in talented, motivated people who have the core competencies to be able to work independently but also part of a team, and be a good communicator at all levels, to go and build a career in the sector.

Sounds great, but what if I want to qualify in the future?

Many of the organisations we work with have huge finance and accountancy departments, meaning your experience within PMA will only stand you in good stead for transitioning into another finance role, should you ever wish to embark on it. It’s often actively encouraged as well with some organisations offering study support to help you get qualified, too.

We at Cobalt also specialise in part-qualified and fully-qualified senior finance roles, as well as contract finance positions, should these be of interest now, or at any future point in your career.

Interested in a rewarding finance career without the need to qualify?

We’re open to hearing from those that either have experience already within a finance position, or that have an interest in building a career within finance. Contact us for a discussion about your career and the opportunities we currently have available.

Jazmine Sims, Principal Consultant

Jsims@cobaltrecruitment.com / +44(0)2038599369

Or, submit your CV and receive the latest opportunities directly to your inbox.

See our latest roles available across Real Estate and Construction here.