Accounting is a fulfilling industry- whether you choose to work in the private or public sector. The skills of analysis, interpretation and adaptability are required to communicate accurate financial information, put forward realistic targets and drive business growth. A variety of finance qualifications are available to those interested in accounting careers.
Level 2: GCSE (5 C-A*)
Level 3-4: A-Level, BTEC, Diploma, AAT
Level 5-6: Degree Apprenticeship, University Degree, HND, AAT Level 3
Level 7: Masters Degree, Institute Membership – such as:
AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting courses – made up of three qualifications across three levels, they combine industry knowledge and practical work skills.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualifications – comprise of two levels; Fundamentals and Professionals. Modules cover a variety of topics from corporate and business law to audit and assurance.
ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) chartered accountant status – also referred to as the ACA, this qualification consists of three to five years of practical work experience and the completion of 13 modules.
CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) business finance award – oversees the widely-recognised CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), which requires you to have already gained the postgraduate-level Certificate in Business Accounting.
Entry Level / Apprenticeship / Level-6/Degree Apprenticeship Roles:Trainee/Junior: Accountant, Audit, Associate/Trainee, Tax Associate/Trainee, Financial Accountant, Management Accountant, Finance Graduate Trainee, Investment Banker, Audit and Assurance Associate, Business Advisory Associate, Business Recovery and Insolvency Associate, Corporate Finance Consultant, Corporate Finance Associate, Audit and Risk Management Consultant, Forensic Accountant, Tax Accountant, Financial Analyst, Commercial Finance Analyst, Finance Business Partner, Trainee Chartered Accountant, Audit Trainee, Assurance Trainee, Assistant Financial Controller, Mergers & Acquisition (M & A) Associate, Fund Accountant, Senior Bookkeeper, Financial Planning
& Reporting Accountant, Business Strategy Consultant, Property Accountant, Corporate Tax
Associate/Assistant, Private Client Tax Associate/Assistant
Become an Accountant
An Accountant gives advice, audits accounts and provides reliable information about financial records. This sometimes involves: financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery, tax and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes.
You’ll have the choice of many different settings to work in, including accounting practice firms, industry and commerce, as well as in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Working strategically, your aim will be to maximise profitability, financial sustainability and prudent stewardship on behalf of your client or employer.
Starting salaries for accountants vary depending on the location, sector, size and type of firm. Graduates entering the career can expect to earn salaries of up to £25,000. The average earning potential (salary + bonus) of chartered accountants with two to four post-qualification years of experience is around £56,000. After 5 or more years, the average annual salary for a chartered accountant in business rises to £90,200, with an average yearly bonus of £20,600.
Progression is often structured and opportunities for development and promotion are plentiful. You may become a manager two years after qualification and a senior manager three years after that. Progress to partnership is competitive but is achievable between eight and 15 years after qualification. In small firms, progression may be more rapid. It’s possible to attain the position of finance director of a major company within 10 to 15 years of qualification.
A day in the life of an Accountant
Managing financial systems and budgets
Undertaking financial audits (an independent check of the financial position of an organisation)
Providing financial advice
Liaising with clients, businesses or individuals and providing financial information
Reviewing the company’s systems and analyse risk
Performing tests to check financial information and systems
Advising clients on tax planning
Detect and prevent fraud
Prepare financial statements
Advise on tax and treasury issues
Negotiate terms with suppliers
WHAT EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR:
Professional Strong numerical skills
Analytical & problem-solving skills
Attention to detail and high degree of accuracy
Collaboration and team-working skills
Ability to deal with complex spreadsheets
Ethics and professional integrity
What can make good candidates stand out:
A financial Passion for accuracy
High levels of business and financial proficiency
Advanced Excel and database skills
Invest in improving your attention to detail
Build on your analytical skills
Ethics and a high regard for confidentiality, integrity and objectivity
Ability to communicate to both financial and non-financial colleagues
Public Practice: PwC, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Grant Thornton, BDO, RSM, PKF Francis Clark, Moore Stephens, Crowe Clark Whitehill, Mazars, Haines Watts, UHY Hacker Young, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Baker Tilly, Smith & Williamson, Saffery Champness, Brebners, Baldwins, Buzzacott, Cooper Parry, Duncan & Toplis, HAT, Hays Macintyre, Hazlewoods, HW Fisher, Kingston Smith, Kreston Reeves, Menzies, Old Mill, Price Bailey, Wilkins Kennedy, SJD, Begbies Traynor, FRP, Frank Heath, Barnes Roffe, SLRV, MHA Moore & Smalley, Hillers Hopkins, James Cowper Kreston, Simmonds Gainford, BKL, Campbell Dallas, Shipleys, Rothmans, Goodman Jones, Beaver and Struthers, Gerald Edelman, French Duncan, Dains, Mitchell Charlesworth, Whittingham Riddell, Critchleys, Alliotts, RGL, Taylorcocks, LB Group, Broomfield & Alexander, Creaseys
Commerce and Industry: Accenture, Aon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BP, Capita, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, Dyson, GSK, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide, NFU Mutual, Prudential, Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest, Lombard, Ulster Bank, Coutts), Santander,
Standard Life Aberdeen, UBS, Serco, Associated British Foods, Boots, BAT, Diageo, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, PZ Cussons, Reckitt Benckiser, Smurfit Kappa, Tate & Lyle, Unilever, ASDA, Burberry, Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Next, Sainsbury’s Tesco, Whitbread
Public sector, Charity & NGOs: National Audit Office, HMRC, NGDP, Charityworks, NHS, Bank of England, FCA, HM Treasury, Civil Service Fast Stream, BBC, British Army, Government Actuary’s Department (GAD), Department of Work and Pensions, FCO, Cancer Research UK, OXFAM, RAF
London & South: £20k – £45k
Midlands: £18k – £40k
North: £18k – £40k
Scotland: £18k – £40k
Wales: £18k – £40k
Northern Ireland: £18k – £40k
Diploma/HND/Bachelor’s degree in Accounting / Accounting & Finance / Business Studies / Economics /
Mathematical Finance / Banking & Financial Services / Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ACA- ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (CA – ICAS), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA CGMA), Chartered Institute
of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA), Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT – CTA), CFA Institute, Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), Association of International
Accountants (AIA), Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIA), Chartered Banker Institute, Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
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