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Working as an accountant can be a great career choice for many people. If you have strong numeracy and analytical skills, as well as being good at managing money, accountant jobs may be the perfect choice for you.
Unfairly seen as a boring role by some, working as an account can be rewarding both professionally and financially. You will be given many opportunities to learn new skills and industry qualifications that will allow you to progress and increase your salary. People working as an account have various routes open to them, including working as part of a large organisation or for a dedicated accountancy firm. Read on to learn what qualifications and experience you will need to be an accountant, as well salary expectations and career development opportunities.
Working as an account will likely involve a variety of different tasks. Many of your duties will depend on what sector you are working in. For example, dealing with large corporations can be very different to helping individual clients with their accounts. However, regardless of the sector or type of client, you will of course be expected to perform financial audits and provide useful, up-to-date financial advice.
General duties for working as an account are likely to include:
- Working closely with clients to help them with any/all financial issues
- Testing and improving client financial systems
- Providing tax advice
- Maintaining accurate financial records for clients
Qualifications and experience play an important part in working as an accountant, particularly when it comes to starting out and progressing to more senior positions. One possible route is taking an apprenticeship. These are becoming increasingly popular and can be a great way to start your career and work towards chartered accountant status. Many accountant employers and jobs may require you to have a university degree. This degree can often be in any subject.
However, if you do not have a degree, you can still become an accountant if you gain professional accountant qualifications. Even if you have a degree, you will be expected to study for these qualifications. One of the most popular types of these is an Association of Accounting Technicians accounting course. Consisting of three different levels, these courses combine practical working skills with industry knowledge. General skills that accountant employers will also look for include:
- General business and finance awareness
- IT skills
- Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities
- Being organised and self-motivated
- Good numeracy skills
Accountant jobs can feature great career prospects for those that work hard and gain the relevant professional qualifications. Starting salaries can vary depending on location, type and size of employer, but will generally be anything up to £30,000. With training and experience this can rise to £60,000. From here, wages generally increase only if you have chartered account status.
Becoming a chartered accountant is often the aim for many people working as an accountant. Gaining the qualification can make it much easier to land more senior positions, as well as significantly increasing your wages. Salaries for chartered account jobs can be anywhere between £80,000 – £100,000 including bonuses. Chartered accountant training lasts three to five years and will require approval from your employer. Qualified chartered accountants can be found working in numerous industries, including commerce, industry, financial services and banking.
Working as an accountant can be a stressful and demanding job at times. You will be expected to provide expert advice, keep up to date with all latest regulations and of course ensure you do not make mistakes that could have large financial implications. Furthermore, training to be a chartered accountant can be difficult, with you having to juggle working and studying commitments for a number of years. Other negative issues can be long working hours, including unsociable hours such as weekends.
However, accountant jobs can also be very rewarding professionally and financially. You will be given many opportunities to develop new skills and qualifications, all of which will help you progress in your career and earn more. Many accountancy firms have established career paths, with you working towards becoming a manager and ultimately a partner. Furthermore, accountancy jobs often feature bonus systems and other benefits which can significantly increase your standard salary.