Becoming an accountant can be very rewarding but it involves further education and formal certification along with a firm commitment to learning your trade. Have you asked yourself the following questions?
- Do I possess the qualities needed to become an accountant?
- Can I start a successful career after four years of studying or do I need a master’s degree?
- Should I work for a large company, or would I be better off on my own?
Although it’s not vital, getting a degree is the most common route into accountancy. However, choosing the right one can be tricky, so think about the area of accounting you might like to specialise in. Here are some of the most popular degrees:
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a chartered accountant is securing a training contract with an employer approved by one of the institutes. Many firms will ask for a minimum of 260 UCAS points, although 300+ are frequently required, as well as a good degree and evidence of mathematical knowledge and ability. Numeracy skills are often tested as part of the selection process.
Before graduating and applying for your first job, you should try to gain some work experience to give your CV a boost. Whether public, corporate or in a practice, gaining on-the-job experience will help you decide where you want to specialise and develop transferrable skills which will help with any future roles. Once you have graduated, a trainee position will provide a solid start to your accounting career as your employer will often fund your further education and allow you to learn on the job. A Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) may also be a useful step between a degree and a training contract.
Finding a job
Graduates can expect to earn up to £25,000 a year for a trainee role. Those without a degree will earn less. If you don’t have a degree and have taken another route into accountancy you may find the small-to-medium sized firms are more flexible with their hiring requirements. A specialist financial recruitment agency such as Hewitson Walker will be able to advise you on the current state of the job market and put you in contact with companies looking for newly qualified accountants.