Everything You Need to Know About Accounting Jobs
Are you looking to start a career in accountancy or are you about to brave a move to a new accounting job?
Either way, the accountancy world can sometimes throw up a lot of different choices, which, when understood, can ensure that you make the right decisions for you.
Accounting Job Titles And Duties
Your accounting job journey will start as a trainee and has the potential to progress to partner level, where there are significant financial rewards.
Duties and responsibilities within accounting firms can vary and even more so in an in-house organisation.
The job of an accountant, in short, is to prepare, analyse, maintain, and make recommendations concerning an organisation’s accounts.
All accounting roles include tax returns, reporting, audits, and financial compliance.
As seniority is gained, an accountant is required to manage teams and take a high-level consultative approach.
Here are the top-level accounting job titles:
- Trainee Accountant
You will report into the Semi-Senior or Senior Accountant and will be required to study towards professional accountancy exams. Duties will usually include bookkeeping and learning as you study the various accounting responsibilities concerned with managing a client’s accounts.
- Semi-Senior Accountant
As you progress through to Semi-Senior Accountant, you’ll still be studying your professional accountancy exams, but will be on a different salary scale. You will be able to help the Senior Accountant with accounts preparation, audits, VAT returns, bookkeeping, and tax calculations.
- Senior Accountant
As a Senior Accountant, you would have achieved your ACCA, ACA, or CA and even have completed an AAT. Some Senior Accountants get to this stage with experience rather than qualifications.
It’s at this stage that your role becomes more managerial and takes the shape of reviewing work completed by more junior members of the team. You’ll begin to work more closely with client managers and partners, so you can contribute to recommendations that can be made to clients.
- Client Manager
A Client Manager is not only able to understand the accountancy process but is primarily focussed on working with clients. You’ll work closely with senior stakeholders within your firm’s client base, advising on growth, risk, and business deals. Your role is becoming increasingly corporate — looking for opportunities to grow the firm’s client base.
- Partner Designate
At Partner Designate level, you are an integral part of the accountancy firm, with corporate-level responsibility for growth and development. The financial rewards at Partner Designate level are significant, as they are closely aligned to the firm’s success.
Accounting Jobs Salary Guide
Semi-Senior Accountant (£25,000 upwards).
Senior Accountant (£35,000 upwards).
Partner (£80,000 upwards to £500,000).
In-house Accounting Job Versus An Accountancy Firm Accounting Job
Deciding whether you would like to work within an organisation (in-house) or with a firm is a very important decision, as they are very different in terms of culture and career path.
Accountancy firms have very linear career paths, as they are used to growing talent from within, from Trainee Accountants to Senior team members. Organisations will have advertised roles as opposed to experience or qualification status progression, so you will need to wait for a role before you progress in salary or title.
Accounting jobs within organisations allow you to focus on one client (the organisation), whereas firms rely on working with multiple clients to generate revenue.
There are many pros and cons, and ultimately, it depends on you. Firms live and breathe accountancy, whereas, in an organisation, you’re one part of a business. There’s no right or wrong.
Accounting Job Career Path And Qualifications
You’ll start to study for a professional accounting qualification as soon as you start working with a more senior accountant and training.
You can study:
AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)
An AAT is a base-level accountancy technician qualification, which will prepare you for a junior or entry-level accounting job. You can achieve it in six to 12 months.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
An ACCA is one of the most popular qualifications chosen at the moment if you’d like to become a registered accountant (for both an organisation or an accountancy firm), as you can qualify with a training agreement with your employer or independently.
Why does this matter? If you choose to study this independently, you have up to ten years to pass your exams, and you can continue your study even if you change employers. Your employer may of course sponsor your studies however this would usually require you to enter into a study contract which can often be moved to a new employer but not guaranteed.
ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants)
Unlike an ACCA, you are still registered with a professional body (ICAEW), but you need to enter into a training agreement with your employer to begin your studies.
CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
As it says in the name, this qualification is for those who would like to specialise in management accounting. Like the ACCA, you can study this qualification independently and port it with you to different employers as you study. This path is often chosen for those who want to work in an organisation as opposed to an accountancy firm.
Accounting Job Work Culture And Balance
The work culture and balance within the accountancy world varies and is developing faster within private organisations and newer firms than perhaps some more traditional accountancy firms.
Accountancy is a role that has been present for many years, and although the space has progressed from the dusty ledger, there are still several clients who still pile receipts on a bookkeeper’s desk.
The advent of cloud technology is changing every organisation, and accountancy firms are starting to embrace this as they begin to trust in the safety of a client’s data and the advantages and flexibility it brings for everyone.
The work and culture also changes based on whether you choose to work in-house for an organisation or within an accountancy firm, where you’ll live and breathe accountancy for multiple clients.
Accountancy firms have more linear career paths, are used to promoting within, have respect for achievements, qualifications, and experience — but complex clients can lead to extended working hours.
Organisations, on the other hand, have employee value propositions that are based on general employee happiness, not linked to accountancy at all. There are pros and cons.
Accounting Job CV 101 And Interview Tips
CVs and interviews are a little different for accounting jobs, as they are focussed on your qualifications and measurable results. So, less waffle, more results, in short.
You can find handy resources on writing your accounting job CV and interview tips here.
Ready to make your next move? Upload your CV here.
Do you have an accounting job vacancy? Call 0333 577 7787