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Careers in Accounting

Find your new job in accounting today

Graduates and experienced people alike will discover a whole world of career opportunities within accountancy.

Not only in such diverse industries as finance and fisheries, retail and manufacturing, agriculture and automotive – but also in the type of role you wish to pursue. Accountancy offers opportunities to work part time, self-employed, contract or full time. Positions include auditor, credit controller, risk analyst, business analyst and corporate finance – as well as tax, fund and forensic accountant - plus many more.

Every business needs an accountant or some sort of book-keeping function, whether on staff or contracted in. As a result, you could work in the finance department of, say British Airways, British Gas or British Petroleum. Alternatively, you could work for large city firms of accountants, for banks, or for any one of thousands of local accountant businesses throughout the country.

Accountancy offers opportunities across the educational scale. Minimum requirements include a knowledge of spreadsheet functionality in order to provide a basic book-keeping service to personal clients. Beyond that, knowledge of a particular accountancy software package, such as JD Edwards, SAP, Sage or Pegasus is required. Training is often provided in these. Mathematic graduates are sought at entry level in most firms, or alternatively good GCSE maths with proven experience in practical accountancy or tax. Most senior and high-paid positions are achieved by people with a degree-level education, normally in mathematics, plus a history of client success and achievements such as experience managing and motivating a team.

Professional qualifications also exist, such as those offered by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), which employers often sponsor in the early stages of a career.

Apart from the relevant experience, employers often stipulate self-motivation, team-playing, tenacity and drive as desirable personality traits. On top of that, good communication skills and literacy are necessary for dealing with clients. Calm under pressure and solid management experience are also a favourable attributes.

Once started on the career ladder, you can expect to get out of the profession what you put in. If you want to reach the heady heights of the boardroom as an FD (financial director) with the responsibilities and salary to match, then drive and motivation will get you there with the right experience and qualifications. If you want to tick along as a self-employed accountant to a handful of personal clients, you will also find satisfaction.