Yes, becoming an accountant is an excellent career that is very rewarding financially and personally.
Qualified accountants can progress into senior roles both within an organisation or an accountancy firm. In fact, many people choose this career path because of the defined route to promotion as you gain more experience, skills, and qualifications.
Accountancy practices regularly employ junior accountants, supporting their study leave and qualification costs.
Accountants are highly sought after as all businesses require help managing their money. As accountants often develop excellent business acumen and strategic skills, they are preferable for senior roles — as they look to increase profit and efficiency and decrease cost.
What accountants do?
Every business has to manage money, whether it’s spending or earning.
Businesses have to record all transactions and ensure that they have enough money each month to pay bills and make a profit. They also have to abide by the law and pay tax.
The process of managing this money is often split into different areas and jobs depending on the size of the business and how many transactions.
For instance, a bookkeeper is responsible for physically managing money in and out but has to report to more senior team members to agree on who and when to pay. The bookkeeper records every transaction correctly.
An accountant is responsible for overseeing this process and helping a business to make the right financial decisions.
An accountant also manages compliance (rules and regulations), taxation, and reporting.
In accountancy, there is always a strong team and mentor framework to help more junior team members learn.
Different types of accountants
The two main routes for an accountant are within an organisation or an accounting firm.
Although accountancy qualifications are similar, you follow a finance and accounting pathway if you work in an organisation, which often includes management accounts or public accounts.
An accountancy firm is completely different. In an organisation, you’ll only manage the accounts for that company (or group of companies). Whereas an accountancy firm’s sole purpose is to manage accounts on behalf of lots of different organisations. This is referred to as in-house/industry versus public practice accountancy.
Once you have your base accountancy qualification, you can then decide to specialise in an area of accountancy.
Auditors and taxation specialists are some of the most sought after roles in accountancy.
AAT — Association of Accounting Technicians
This is your first step into accountancy to understand the basics.
ACCA — Association of Chartered Accountants
This is a higher level than an AAT and can be started from A level or taken as a progression from an AAT. This is still a general but prestigious qualification.
ICAEW — Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
This route can start with an AAT or ACA pathway and progress into chartered status.
CIMA — Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
This qualification is often referred to as an ‘industry’ qualification as it focuses on management accounts — it’s very strategic in terms of high-level reporting for large organisations.
CIPFA — Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy
This is very focused on the skills and knowledge required to manage accounts for government bodies and public spending, where you have to detail why and where money was spent.
CTA — Chartered Tax Adviser
This qualification is concerned with taxation and highly sought after by organisations and practices.
There are also various qualifications and statuses that allow you to sign off on audits (RI status) and taxation. It’s important to speak to a study provider or employer about your chosen accounting career pathway to understand the best route and qualification to pursue.
Accountant salary guide
If you chose public practice accounting (in an accountancy firm as opposed to an organisation), you’re looking at a salary of between £25,000 to £35,000 as a Semi Senior Accountant.
Fast forward to Partner, and you can earn six figures, so £100,000 plus.
You can read our full accountant salary survey results here for more information on the most popular accountancy firm roles.
Found this interesting? Read how to get your first job in accountancy.
Want more information on accountancy roles? Search accountancy jobs here.
Are you looking for an accountancy job?
If you’re looking for accountancy jobs, we’d encourage you to get in touch.
We have a tremendous track record of introducing you (anonymously) to our long-term clients by highlighting your skills and attributes in line with each firm’s needs.
We will handle your job search for an accountancy role with the strictest confidence and sensitivity.
Call Public Practice Recruitment Ltd today for a confidential chat on 03335 777 787 or upload your CV here.