What is a Career in Accountancy Actually Like? [Guest Post from The Accountancy Partnership]

Whilst accountancy has a reputation for being unexciting, this can often overshadow how interesting, varied and fulfilling it can be to work as an accountant.


You help people and businesses to run, grow and flourish amongst other things. So, if you’re considering a career in accountancy, here’s an overview of what to expect.


Your personal everyday toolkit


Numerical strength

If you don’t have strong numeracy skills you probably won’t be interested in accounting as a career, but it’s a common misconception that you need to be a maths genius. Your everyday work won’t involve complex maths, rather it will focus on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.


Always orderly

It’s a huge advantage to be organised. Not only does it help you with your actual accounting work but being able to pick out files and spreadsheets quickly will make your and your clients’ lives easier. 


Spreadsheets and software

The rumours about spreadsheets are true. You’ll be using Excel and some form of bookkeeping and accounting software a lot, and that can do the heavy mathematical lifting. But you will need to rely on your analytical mind to hone your ability to look at a set of financial data, understand what it means, and pick out any trends you see. 


Strong communication

Of course, understanding this data is one thing. You will also need to explain to your client what is happening with their books, so good communication skills are also needed.


Your vantage point gives you valuable insight to other peoples’ businesses, and it’s your job to help them see what you can.


Climbing the ladder


A career in accountancy isn’t necessarily linear. There is a world of options and roles to pursue as you gain more understanding of financial statements and how businesses operate. Knowledge and experience in mergers and acquisitions, estates and trusts, or compliance are just a few examples of niches you may want to pursue. 


As you’d expect in any career, gaining more qualifications, experience and, crucially, responsibility, will see your salary rise too. This is regardless of the size of the firm you work for, and whether that’s in a practice or as part of an in-house team.


What can new accountants expect to earn?

As you start your career, the first rung is an associate position, which will usually earn you between £16,000 and £24,000. 


Once you are partially qualified and have begun your chartered training working as an associate or accounts clerk, this will rise to between £25,000 and £28,000.


Nearing the end of your chartered qualifications, you could hold a position as a financial analyst or assistant (qualified) supervisor and be expecting to earn between £32,000 and £42,000. 


Finally, a fully qualified chartered accountant could command a salary of around £45,000 to £60,000 in a financial accountant or senior associate position.


If you have lofty ambitions, you may see yourself in a leadership role such as a financial director (FD) or chief finance officer (CFO) which earn anything between £55,000 and £200,000. 


Remember, whichever path you take, and whatever type of business you work for, someone must manage the money. 


Article by The Accountancy Partnership


You can find out more about careers in Accountancy, Banking and Finance at Prospects.ac.uk.  Whether you know which sector you’d like pursue a career in, or you’re still exploring your options, you can book a careers guidance appointment with a YSJU Careers Advisor to support you with your career planning. 

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