Become an Accountant
What You Need to Know
- Contrary to it’s established image, accountancy can offer young people an extremely vibrant career.
- If you are looking to get into accountancy as a graduate, pick either maths or a similar numeracy based subject.
- If university isn’t for you, you can still gain qualifications by studying with the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
- Those in senior positions can earn up to £250,000.
- Accountants will normally either be employed directly by a business, or work for an accountancy firm that then takes contracts on the behalf of other companies.
- Aside form any earlier qualifications you will have obtained, you’ll need to pass at least 11 exams to become a fully qualified chartered accountant.
- Training whilst you work means you will be able to have your course paid for by your employer.
The grey image accountants have had for so many years looks set to become more colourful as accountancy attracts many bright young people regarding the trade as a sound and even exciting, career prospect.
There are a number of ways that you can become an accountant; by doing an accountancy or mathematics degree or, if you don’t have the necessary qualifications to go to university, you can also do a recognised course with the Institute of Chartered Accountants or the Association of Accounting Technicians and even study while you work.
Rather than drab number crunchers, accountants are business experts, boasting a broad range of knowledge and skills while working in a demanding job. The most dynamic types tend to work as management accountants – or finance analysts, as they are also known.
Such positions can command hefty salaries of up to £250,000 a year. However, as the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants admits, it is not a job that will suit everyone. There are many aspects of the job that are extremely complex and sometimes hold a great deal of responsibility, as the in-house accountant helps a company manage its finances.
This is, however, only one area of accounting. Many jobbing accountants work for chartered – or certified – firms or for themselves, taking contracts to assist businesses and organisations of all sizes in a wide range of finance issues, such as keeping books in order – known as auditing – calculating tax bills, planning budgets, mergers, takeovers and acquisitions.
While this may sometimes lack the dynamism of financial analysis, it can provide a very steady and secure career with decent pay, flexible hours and good prospects of advancement. It can also lead to high-level management positions and sought-after consultancy roles.
You don’t have to be a graduate to become an accountant, though a degree is preferable. The vast majority of those taking the broad-based ACA (Associated Chartered Accountant) exam – the UK’s best-recognised accountancy qualification – were graduates. ACA entry level requirements include two A-levels and three GCSEs, including good grades in maths and English.
However, an increasing number of organisations are willing to take on school leavers who fulfil the necessary criteria, and who are then trained in-house or by an outside agency.
There are more than 2,000 organisations providing authorised training in the UK. The size or influence of the accountancy firm that trains you is irrelevant; the final qualification is the same. Nearly 40 per cent of trainees work for a business with 20 or fewer partners.
Home Learning College have a range of courses will develop your knowledge and help you gain recognised qualifications. Accredited courses are available at levels 1 to 4 from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)..
Training takes a minimum of three years and requires that you complete 450 days of technical work experience and pass both examination stages – with 11 exams in total.
If you're training as you work, your employer will pay for your course, as well as providing a modest salary for which you will be expected to help in the office in a variety of areas, including general admin.
For more information visit the Institute of Chartered Accountants website.
If you have found this article helpful then please have a look at UK Net Guide’s site job centre, we hope there are lots of jobs that you can find in lots of areas. After you have performed a search click on any jobs advertiser’s logos, this should tell you more about the employment offer.
- No matter how qualified you are as an accountant, you'll still need a great resume. Read our guide to writing a CV.
- Want to do a degree relevant to accountancy but fear it's too late? Read our guide to becoming a mature student.
- If you require the services of an accountant read our guide to choosing an accountant.