The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) has launched a new membership tier specifically for finance and accounting degree graduates.

The membership, which is aimed at graduates of IFA approved UK and overseas degree who are in their first three years of employment, has been designed to help maximise their university learning and access potential employers before they enter the market.

IFA CEO John Edwards said: “Many students set their sights on working for the FTSE100 companies when they graduate, but in reality most will find themselves working for SME businesses for the duration of their career. SMEs account for 16.6 million jobs or about 60% of the UK workforce and it is here that employees can get some of the best hands-on experience.

“Working with students and lecturers, we identified that there was a need to support students and graduates to maximise their employment potential, to differentiate themselves in a competitive job market, and to provide direct opportunities to advance in the accountancy profession beyond their university learning.

“The IFA’s new Provisional Associate Membership does that, connecting graduates with SME and SMP employers across the country, as well as keeping graduates up to date after they successfully complete their degree. It also provides them with the opportunity to be associated with a professional body early in their career, and helps ensure they are eligible for the full membership and the AFA designatory letters once they have the necessary experience.”

With the majority of its members working with micro and small to medium-sized enterprises, the IFA’s Provisional Associate Membership connects graduates with IFA members and local employers through branch meetings in 17 locations across the UK.

The membership has been designed with the aim of providing support, guidance and recognition to graduates as well providing access to CPD workshops.