Considering a career in accounting, but not sure where to start?
If you’ve got a head for numbers, working in the accountancy and finance sector could be a great way to turn your passion into a lucrative profession. And it isn’t just the standard roles and accountancy stereotypes you might expect that are available.
Not sure what your options are? We’ve already covered how to start a career in accountancy, but here are some roles you could consider – and some of our top tips to help you get to there:
What they do: Prepare a company’s accounts, which are then used to give an overview of the organisation’s overall financial status. Typical duties for an Accountant include tracking income and expenditure, conducting audits, mitigating financial risks and advising on budgets.
What you need: Aside from a natural aptitude for mathematics and problem solving, other key skills for an Accountant include excellent analytical skills and the ability to work well under pressure. A degree may be preferable for some employers, but is not essential.
What you can earn: Salaries for Accountants start at around £22,000, but can rise to over £30,000 once you’ve built up a good level of experience.
Perfect for: People who want their careers to add-up.
Our advice: It’s possible to find an entry-level position in accountancy without prior experience. Many Accounts Assistant or Trainee Accountant roles will provide on-the-job training to help get you started. It’s all about selling the right roles on your CV, such as attention to detail and a passion for mathematics, to get your foot in the door.
What they do: Assist Accountants by providing all the financial information they need to prepare the company’s accounts. Accounting Technicians may also perform some basic bookkeeping duties, as well as process payments and invoices, and completing tax returns.
What you need: Positivity, as well as a good work ethic, and a methodical approach to your work. You will also need to become a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians, otherwise known as AAT. However, a degree will not be necessary.
What you can earn: Around £16,000 for those just starting out, with the potential to earn somewhere closer to the £30,000 mark, once fully AAT qualified.
Perfect for: People who want to break into the finance sector.
Our advice: If you’re finding it difficult to find a position which enables you to earn while you learn, start studying. There are no requirements to get started with an AAT qualification, and after brushing up on the basics, you’ll be able to apply for Accounting Technician positions with confidence.
What they do: Analyse a range of data, in order to evaluate and mitigate financial risk. Traditionally they worked primarily within insurance and pensions; however, a growing number of businesses now rely on actuaries to help prepare for every eventuality.
What you need: Although they do not technically work with accounts, excellent accounting skills are often considered a necessary requirement for actuaries. You will also need a passion and penchant for analysis, as well as the ability to convey complex information concisely, in the simplest way possible.
What you can earn: Starting salaries for graduates will generally fall between £25,000 and £35,000, although senior level Actuaries often earn closer to the £60,000 mark.
Perfect for: People who like to take (well-informed) risks.
Our advice: Most employers will expect you to have a degree in a mathematical discipline to become an Actuary. However, any graduates who possess a passion for maths and statistics can apply. Just make sure you major on these in your application, and include any extra work or independent study you’ve done on the subject to help set you apart.
What they do: Record all of a business’ financial transactions, also known as ‘keeping the books’. These transactions will include all purchases, sales and any other expenditures. They can then be used to calculate profit and loss and manage ledgers, to make sure the books ‘balance’.
What you need: Excellent organisation skills, and an almost obsessive attention-to-detail. There are no formal prerequisites when it comes to qualifications, however, some knowledge of bookkeeping software will be helpful to get started.
What you can earn: £20,000 as an entry-level salary, and around £25,000 once fully-qualified.
Perfect for: People who are looking for a ‘balanced’ career.
Our advice: Getting up-to-speed with a bookkeeping-specific course is the easiest way to break into the industry. The world’s most popular bookkeeping software, Sage, has over six million customers, and gaining a Sage certification will help show potential employers that you’re ready to hit the ground running.
What they do: Provide financial advice and audit accounts for their clients, or employer. Day-to-day activities for a Chartered Accountant include managing budgets, tax planning and preparing annual accounts.
What you need: As with a regular accountancy position, financial acumen and numerical ability is absolutely vital in this role. However, unlike becoming an Accountant, being a Chartered Accountant will require a professional qualification, generally provided in the UK by the main four Accountancy bodies. You will also need extensive accounting experience.
What you can earn: Fully qualified Chartered Accountants can earn up to £50,000, depending on experience and location.
Perfect for: People who want letters after their names.
Our advice: If you’re already working within the accountancy industry, ask your employer if they can help you reach chartered status. Many companies provide sponsorship or subsidised costs for anyone looking to become certified, and having their official backing could help you kick-on and take the next step in your career.
What they do: Take overall responsibility for a company’s finances, including managing their accounts and looking for ways to improve profitability. They differ from standard accountants in that they work for one company, rather than managing multiple clients, and will also generally head up the entire accountancy team as a whole.
What you need: The ability to identify patterns and spot trends in data, are both absolutely essential, as is a good level of global business awareness. You will not necessarily need a degree to become a Management accountant, however, you will need a good level of experience in accounting. Some positions may also ask for a CIMA certification as standard.
What you can earn: Newly appointed Management Accountants will earn somewhere in the region of £24,000. However, with the right amount of experience, this can will easily reach £40,000+.
Perfect for: People who want to move into management.
Our advice: To become a Management Accountant, you really need your finger on the pulse when it comes to finance. Keeping up-to-date with the latest industry news will not only help your knowledge stay relevant, it also has the potential to impress when it comes to the interview – especially if you can relate it back to the company you’re interviewing for.
Other accountancy jobs to consider: Environmental Accountant, Forensic Accountant, Tax Accountant, Payroll Administrator.
Want to work in Accounting? View all available accountancy jobs now.