Should you niche down your accountancy skills? Accounts vs Audit vs Tax

As an accountant, you play a crucial role in financial management, providing insights that guide strategic decision-making. As such, building strong skills is of paramount importance in today’s complex and dynamic business environment. When it comes to public practice, should you develop an all-encompassing skillset or niche down in a particular discipline?

Ultimately, the decision should come down to what area of accountancy you enjoy the most and where your strengths lie, but there might be some other factors to consider. Let’s compare accounts, audit, and tax roles and explore the different skills and responsibilities with each…

All-rounder accountant

A role that focuses on accounts, such as Semi Senior or Senior Accountant, is perhaps a more all-rounder role with some opportunities to support other departments like payroll or tax. Generally, an accounts role will offer a wide variety of assignments, such as the preparation of accounts, VAT submissions, and supporting with the preparation of non-complex tax computations. With a key emphasis on client relations, this is a superb option for someone considering progression to Client Manager.

Sought after skills:

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • A natural talent for nurturing enhanced relationships
  • Strong organisational skills to oversee workflow, deadlines, and budgets
  • Able to work autonomously to manage a varied and significant portfolio
  • Good people management skills with a supportive approach to mentorship
  • Strong working knowledge of various accountancy software
  • Typically ACCA, ACA, or CA qualified or part qualified
  • Qualified by impressive experience within practice is sometimes considered

In-demand auditor

With the skills gap widening across public practice, we’re seeing a big shortage in skilled auditors. As such, firms are offering impressive pay and perks to secure accountants who have focused on gaining audit exposure. As an auditor, you’ll likely work with a varied client portfolio to undertake assignments from planning through to completion. From an Audit Semi Senior through to Audit Partner, the skillset needed is highly sought after and is perhaps a good career path for someone technically minded with their sights set on honing in a valuable expertise.

Sought after skills:

  • Technically strong and analytically minded with second-to-none attention to detail
  • Methodical and highly organised to undertake multiple assignments simultaneously
  • Good communication skills, able to relay technical information in an easy-to-understand way
  • Strong understanding of compliance matters within audit
  • Supervisory skills are typically required for more senior level audit roles
  • Access to your own vehicle for travel to client premises is often required for fieldwork
  • Typically ACCA or ACA qualified or part-qualified

Taxation talent

If you’re a technically minded accountant who enjoys the preparation of tax returns and computations, specialising your career in taxation could be the right route for you. If you have your sights set on a highly sought after and well remunerated role, gaining experience in tax advisory is a superb option.

Sought after skills:

  • Technically minded with strong analytically skills
  • Highly organised with the ability to manage multiple assignments simultaneously
  • Good communication skills, able to relay technical information in a clear way
  • Strong understanding of compliance within taxation
  • In some cases, technical knowledge of overseas tax regulations could be required
  • Supervisory skills are typically required for more senior level audit roles
  • Typically ACCA, ACA, or CA qualified with an additional CTA or ATT certificate


Here at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd, we work with some of the UK’s leading accountancy practices that are actively looking for talented candidates like you. Some require an all-rounder accountant, whilst others are on the hunt for talented accountants with expertise in audit or tax. If you’re unsure of going down an accounts or audit route, then perhaps an Audit & Accounts role is the best route for you, where you lead a hybrid role of both disciplines. There are a few other areas of expertise to consider also, such as Corporate Finance or R&D.

We can work with you to match you with roles that will allow you to develop your skillset in the discipline of your choosing. Whether you’re ready to start applying to jobs or if you’d benefit from some career advice from our expert team, we’re here to help. Contact us today.


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