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What is the Average Salary of an Accountant?

While an Accountant can earn an average salary of £29,707, accounting professionals generally cover a wide range of job titles and salaries change with experience, so you could earn anywhere between £16,000 - £100,000+ in an accounting job role.

Below, we review some of the main accounting job roles you could apply for and their current average salary. We have broken this down by training level, including AAT Levels 2, 3 and 4, as well as CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting and CIMA Professional Qualifications. One thing to remember is that different accounting roles offer alternative career pathways, so consider the job role you would like to end up doing in say, 3-5 years and work backwards to see where you need to start.

Explore a day in the life of an Accountant

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting (AAT Level 2)

  • Purchase Ledger Clerk - £19,900
  • Accounts Payable Clerk - £20,400
  • Payroll Administrator - £21,500

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting (AAT Level 3)

  • Bookkeeper - £22,500
  • Finance Officer - £24,000
  • Payroll Supervisor - £27,500

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting (AAT Level 4)

  • Fixed Asset Accountant - £27,700
  • Commercial Analyst - £29,700
  • VAT Accountant - £37,000

Read more: How long does an AAT qualification take?

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

  • Accounts Assistant - £20,000
  • Sales Ledger Clerk - £22,700

CIMA Professional Qualifications

  • Management Accountant - £33,600
  • Finance Manager - £39,000
  • CIMA-qualified finance professional - £63,000
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - £97,600

Read our interview with a CIMA graduate

Skills needed to be an Accountant

Besides undertaking the necessary training and earning your required qualifications, an accountant job description is likely to include the need for you to have the following skills:

  • Advanced numerical and quantitative skills.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent time management and organisation.
  • Great communication skills.

Explore the accounting jobs in demand currently.

Responsibilities as an Accountant

As an Accountant, you would be expected to carry out the following duties:

  • Prepare accounts and tax returns
  • Monitor spending and budgets
  • Audit and analyse financial performance
  • Financial forecasting and risk analysis
  • Advise on how to reduce costs and increase profits
  • Compile and present financial and budget reports
  • Ensure that financial statements and records comply with laws and regulations
  • Keep account books and systems up to date.

You will typically work a 9-5 and be in an office or hybrid working model, depending on who you work for. There will be times I the year where you will be expected to work later than 5pm, such as the end of the tax month and end of the finical year, where your workload will be greater than usual.

How to become a Chartered Accountant

First, what’s the difference between an Accountant and a Chartered Accountant? Well, while most Accountants perform similar functions (managing and reporting on their organisation’s finances), accountants who are regulated by a professional body for accountants are called Chartered Accountants.

To qualify/ retain the title of Chartered Accountant, you must:

  • Pass the required accredited exams in financial management, auditing, business strategy and taxation, and have a minimum of three years training.
  • Gain the necessary work experience spanning a range of clients and industries approved by your professional body.
  • Complete your professional development training each year.
  • Adhere to professional standards, such as having professional indemnity insurance and regular reviews.
  • Comply with a Code of Ethics and the principles of Integrity, Objectivity, Professional competence and due care, Confidentiality and Professional Behaviour.

Accounting courses

If a career as an Accountant is now of interest to you but you have little or no experience, we suggest undertaking professional AAT qualifications, as they are industry-recognised and highly regarded by employers. The below AAT pathway suits newcomers to this industry, as each course builds on from the proceeding one to help you become a well-rounded accounting professional.

The AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting (Level 2) qualification prepares you for entry-level accounting job roles by building up your knowledge of financial administration.

The AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting (Level 3) qualification has been specifically designed to provide you with the necessary skills and credibility to progress within the Accounting industry. Whether you’re looking to start your own company, or you want to take on a senior accounting role within an established organisation, this course is the ideal route to get you there.

You'll be awarded Professional AAT Bookkeeper status, which allows you to legally submit the final balance for companies of any size, and use the initials AATQB after your name, and becoming a Licensed Bookkeeper.

The AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting (Level 4) qualification builds on the knowledge gained through the AAT Level 2 Certificate & Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting, opening options for you to study a Chartered or Management Accounts qualification, like CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting.

You can apply for AAT full membership and achieve professional MAAT status. You can then use the designatory letters MAAT after your name, becoming a Licensed Accountant.

There are four main CIMA qualifications that you can take, including:

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting - Developed for students without official training or experience, as it covers fundamental business and finance skills. While a qualification, this certificate is a formal entry point onto the CIMA Professional Qualification.

CIMA Professional Qualification Operational Level (E1, P1, F1) - The first part of your CIMA Professional Qualification. You will gain invaluable business and finance skills to drive business success, learn how to make short-term decisions, and work with others within your organisation to use technology and data to convert medium-term decisions into short-term, actionable plans.

CIMA Professional Qualification Management Level (E2, P2, F2) - The second part of your CIMA Professional Qualification. You will learn how to translate long-term decisions into medium-term plans, use data and technology to manage individual and organisational performance, and allocate resources to implement decisions.

CIMA Professional Qualification Strategic Level (E3, P3, F3) - The final part of the CIMA Professional Qualification. You will learn how to make long-term strategic decisions, support organisational leaders in crafting a strategy, and manage and evaluate risks.

All three CIMA Professional Qualifications can be studied together through our CIMA Professional Qualification Package.

Read more: How to become an Accountant

Are you ready to get your Accounting career started? Contact us to find out which qualification is right for you by calling us on +44 (0) 20 3198 7700 or fill out our contact form and one of our Course Consultants will talk you through your options.

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