Accounting is essential to all businesses, from large, multinational organisations to smaller not-for-profit companies. As an accountant, you’ll be reporting on a business’s accounts or performing functions on behalf of the company itself. You may think accounting is uneventful, but it can be an incredibly rewarding career!
Accounting is an industry that is accessible any age and whether you’ve not got any GCSEs, or you have a degree, there are opportunities available at any level. Many accountants do hold a degree; however, it is not an essential qualification and some of the biggest accounting firms in the UK offer alternative routes.
There are many different roles within the accounting industry with different specialisations. Accounting can be broken down into financial accountants who provide information to people outside of their organisation and management accountants who plan and control an organisation. Management accounting is not as common as financial roles so it is more likely you will start your career this route. Your areas of focus may include:
- Forensic accounting
If you aspire to be an accountant, there are a number of routes you can take to get there. Qualifications are essential to your accounting career, so it is important to consider this when you choose your options. There are some popular accounting qualifications you should try and gain as they may be necessary throughout your career which include:
- AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting courses
- ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualifications
- ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) chartered accountant status(ACA)
- CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) business finance award
Some accounting firms will be more likely to hire you if you have certain qualifications and different accounting paths require varying qualifications too. For instance, an ACCA qualification is essential for you if you want to be a chartered accountant as well as three years’ experience.
What options can I take for a career in accounting?
Work experience is highly valuable to a career in accountancy, luckily this is widely available in this industry. Many firms run shadowing programmes to offer insights to those considering a career as an accountant at all stages of their education. Internships and industrial placements are also open to those at university who want to gain some practical experience in the sector as they learn. Work experience is evidence to employers that you’re driven and possess the skills and qualities that will make you a great employee so your CV will stand out from the rest.
Unsure about what a work placement could involve? You should’ve asked!
If you choose to do an accountancy apprenticeship, you will be combining work experience with great qualifications. This means you’ll be earning a salary while getting the qualifications that some people will not have the opportunity to obtain until they graduate or until later in their professional careers. Accounting apprenticeships are available at GCSE level all the way to masters level! You could even become a chartered accountant more quickly doing an apprenticeship than going to university. The range of apprenticeships is huge in accountancy, from intermediate roles that give the equivalent qualifications to GCSEs, all the way to a level 7 apprenticeship which enables you to gain the same qualification as a master’s degree!
Want to know what apprenticeships are all about? We have you covered!
There are plenty of degree apprenticeships available in accountancy. Not only would a degree apprenticeship give you the relevant qualification to pursue a successful career in this industry, but you will also gain the practical experience that is highly sought after by employers in the field. You’ll be working alongside experience colleagues and putting your theoretical knowledge into practice, all whilst earning a salary.
Is a degree apprenticeship up your street? We’ll help you know!
If you choose to complete an accounting degree (or combined accounting degree) at university, you’ll be learning the theoretical knowledge that you can apply into your working life! The entry requirements for an accounting degree tend to require you to show strong mathematical skills so you may need an A-level in mathematics or economics. By choosing an accounting degree you’ll be able to choose specific units or topics to study to help you decide which accounting field you’d like to specialise in. Some degrees also offer placement years so you can get experience in an accounting firm or department and impress your future employers with the practical skills you’ve learnt from the workplace.
Want to find out what University could offer you? We have your back!
If you’ve already achieved your degree and you have decided that a career in accounting is the right one for you, you could look at graduate roles. These would involve you going straight into the workplace or even being placed on a structured training programme as part of a graduate scheme to help you develop the skills you need to truly succeed in the world of accounting. A graduate scheme may be an excellent entry point into a company you’d like to work for, as many employers offer full-time employment to their recruits once their training has been completed.
Want to know what graduate jobs are all about? We can help!
There are other routes to get into accounting, however, it is likely you will need a specific accounting qualification in order to land your first role. If you currently don’t have one of these, it is recommended to look to speak to local colleges, training providers, AAT, CIMA, ACCA and ACA to see what qualifications they run and how you can take them.