How to become an Accountant
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How to become an Accountant

Accountancy is an ideal career path for anyone with a head for numbers and a good eye for detail. To those with the right attributes, a career in accountancy can be highly rewarding and full of opportunities. If you are organised and have strong numerical abilities, accountancy could be a good fit for you.

If you are looking for more information about how to become an accountant, you are in the right place. In this article, we aim to give you more details to enable you to decide whether accountancy is the right career choice for you. We will look at an overview of the day-to-day tasks of an accountant and examine the best way to start your career in accountancy.

Accountancy is an important profession in all industries due to the fact that almost every business requires someone to manage the company’s financial systems. It is the role of the accountant to provide sound advice based on a company’s financial state.

As an accountant you may find work within the following areas:

  • Financial reporting
  • Management accounting
  • Accounting systems and processes.
  • Taxation
  • Forensic accounting
  • Auditing
  • Corporate finance
  • Business recovery and insolvency

Here are some examples of the day-to-day tasks of an accountant:

  • Managing a company’s financial systems and budgets.
  • Undertaking financial audits.
  • Providing financial advice to support company decisions.
  • Advising clients on issues relating to tax.
  • Maintaining accounting records for all business activity.
  • Detecting and preventing fraud from taking place.
  • Producing financial reports and recommendations.

In terms of the salary that you can expect as an accountant, this depends greatly on your level of experience and where you are located in the UK. The starting salary of an accountant in the UK may be anything from £20,000 to £30,000 depending on your location and the type of firm you are working for.

It can take between three and seven years to become a chartered accountant, for which the average salary is £85,000 per annum, with an average yearly bonus of £17,000.

Do you have the skills required to become an accountant?

A strong aptitude for numbers is arguably the most important attribute for anyone looking to become an accountant.

Other key skills and qualities include:

  • A good awareness of the financial needs of businesses.
  • A self-motivated approach and the ability to study for qualifications whilst working.
  • Highly organised.
  • Patient.
  • Strong IT skills.
  • Trustworthy and principled.
  • Good communication skills.

It is likely that you will be working in an office so you should make sure that this is a good fit for you before you begin your accountancy journey.

What do future prospects look like for accountants?

It’s likely that accountants will be needed for as long as there are businesses operating.

Therefore, accountancy is a solid choice for a reliable career. In order to qualify as an accountant, you will need to sit the relevant exams. Depending on your individual circumstances you may initially find it challenging to secure a role with a company that will put you through the necessary training. However, once you have qualified you will find that there are plenty of opportunities to progress to the next level in your career. There will also be opportunities to specialise in different areas of accounting and finance.

Career progression in the field of accountancy is highly structured and depends largely on your commitment to CPD (continuous professional development). Even chartered accountants will regularly undertake new qualifications in order to ensure that their skillset remains relevant to employers.

How do I become an accountant?

There is no single path to the role of accountant, as there are many ways that you can enter this profession. Some will move into accountancy as a second career (often after working as a bookkeeper). When applying to accounting jobs, some roles may state that you need a degree or HND in a relevant subject, however, this is often not essential, as professional bodies such as AAT and CIMA that provide certifications that enable you to enter the accounting industry without a degree.

If you are lacking in accountancy experience it is a good idea to get in touch with accountancy firms to ask about opportunities to gain relevant work experience (such as shadowing or work placements).

There are a number of widely recognised accountancy courses that you can study to provide you with a solid grounding in the field of accountancy. These include:

Getting an AAT or a CIMA qualification is a great way to show your commitment to potential employers and to arm yourself with the skills you need to gain access to an entry-level accounting role.

e-Careers is recognised as one of the largest distance learning providers of AAT qualifications in the UK and has been nominated for awards such as Distance Learning Provider of the Year.

Entry requirements

The AAT and CIMA accounting courses offered via e-Careers are great for beginners and there are no formal entry requirements to start learning.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to become an accountant. We would like to wish you the best of luck on your journey!

Accreditation

AAT
CIMA
Sage
Microsoft
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