Are you considering a career in accounting and wondering how to get there? The accountancy field offers job growth with a great salary plus opportunities for flexible working. As a career it opens up possibilities to work in a variety of different industries and a diversity of roles.
So how do you start and what are the steps you need to take to kick start your career as an accountant in the UK?
5 steps to kickstart your accounting career:
- Consider what you want from your career in accountancy
- Get some accountancy qualifications
- Choose your accounting specialism
- Find a job, an apprenticeship or work experience in accountancy
- Start your career as a qualified accountant
1. Consider what you want from your career in accountancy
Take some time to think about the type of accountant you want to be. Is there a particular area that’s of interest to you? Are you interested in becoming a tax accountant or do you think you might prefer auditing or book keeping? Are you hoping to eventually become a chartered accountant?
Accountancy is a flexible career choice and the skills you gain will enable you to work almost anywhere, so spend some time considering your options as the route you take will depend on the area you choose.
2. Get some accountancy qualifications
Once you have some idea of the type of accountant you want to be, your next step is to study for some qualifications. Whatever route you choose to take you will likely need to start with the AAT – (Association of Accounting Technician) as this is typically the first step into accounting and the minimum level of qualification. After the AAT the qualifications you take will depend on how you want to advance, for example if you want to become a chartered accountant you will then need to study for the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
If you already have a degree in accounting, finance or A levels in accounting subjects, then you may be offered exemptions from some parts of the AAT course.
3. Choose your accounting specialism
There are many areas for you to choose from when thinking about a career in accountancy. These include financial, management, forensic and tax accounting. There are more and within each of these areas you can specialise further. Make sure you have a clear idea of what each specialism offers and the one you are likely to find most interesting and/or suitable to your aspirations.
4. Find a job, an apprenticeship or work experience in accountancy
While you are training, make sure your CV is up to date and highlighting your relevant skills. Look for work in the real world of accountancy, preferably in the specialism of your choice though any work experience is extremely valuable.
This could be a full-time role, an apprenticeship, a work placement or even voluntary work as anything will provide you with a fantastic opportunity to build up your skills and experience, providing you with insight into the type of accounting you prefer. Firms will often allow you the opportunity to study for your qualifications alongside full-time work or apprenticeships; this also means you get paid while you train.
5. Start your career as a qualified accountant
Once your training is complete and you have work experience under your belt, you are now in the perfect position to start working as a fully qualified accountant. An accountant can work in both public and private industries with small to large organisations or in a self-employed capacity and over time you’ll be able to find the best environment for you.